UP to 100 jobs could be created at the call centre of one of Whiteley's major financial serviceS employers.

The jobs boost comes as fellow workers at Zurich Financial Services in Bournemouth were told the company was shutting down its Eagle Star call centre with the loss of 400 jobs.

But Bournemouth's loss is Whiteley's gain as the Swiss insurance giant says about 100 staff could relocate to its offices in Solent business Park if they want to.

The remaining 300 call centre staff at Bournemouth will be made redundant. None of the staff currently at Whiteley are under threat of losing their jobs.

Zurich has blamed the closure of its Bournemouth call centre on fierce competition with growing amounts of business being done through brokers rather than directly with customers.

The call centre was selected for closure because the buoyant labour market made it difficult to retain staff and because Zurich owns the building and can make money by selling or leasing it.

At Whiteley, Zurich Financial Services currently employs 1,500 people with 350 manning its call centre for the company's direct insurer, Eagle Star. The company sells home andMOTOR insurance.

Zurich spokeswoman Wendy May said: "We are proposing to close the Bournemouth call centre by the end of March.

"We are looking to create between 50 and 100 extra jobs in Whiteley as a result of the extra burden on the call centre there.

"It's too early to say exactly how many new jobs there will be or how many people will want to relocate. Every member of staff is being asking to fill in a preference questionnaire to find out what they would like."

The Eagle Star operation also has offices in Newcastle but the company says no one will be asked to transfer there. Just weeks ago Eagle Star had claimed it would be "business as usual" locally after parent group Zurich lost £1.3 billion and announced 4,500 job losses worldwide.