93ºF

State contractor answered 41% of unemployment phone calls, records show

Company received nearly 4 million calls from April to June

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A company hired by the state to handle phone calls from jobless Floridians seeking unemployment benefits answered less than half the calls it received over a two-month period, records obtained by News 6 show.

Titan Technologies, based in Fort Walton Beach, is one of three call center providers contracted by Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity to answer overflow calls the agency receives from people having trouble obtaining unemployment assistance or need help resetting PINs.

Titan Technologies handled 41% of the 3.9 million phone calls DEO transferred to the company's agents between April 6 and June 8, state records show.

About half of the calls DEO routed to Titan Technologies were "blocked", indicating the caller received a busy signal or could not be connected to an agent, according to state records.

Nine percent of the 3.9 million calls offered to the company during that period were abandoned, records show, meaning the caller voluntarily hung up.

Titan Technologies could receive up to nearly $80 million for its work for DEO, according to the company’s fixed price labor hour contract with the state. Under the agreement, the state pays $37 per hour for call center contact agents and $43 per hour for supervisors.

A spokesperson for Titan Technologies did not respond to questions from News 6 about the company's work with the state.

A DEO spokesperson said the agency was preparing a statement in response to questions submitted by News 6 more than a week ago, but it has not yet done so.

Jonathan Satter, the secretary of Florida's Department of Management Services who was tapped to oversee the state's unemployment claims, previously indicated that DEO's phone lines were overloaded due to a historic volume of calls.

"It's as upsetting to me as it is upsetting to the callers," Satter said during a news conference last month.

On May 18 alone, DEO received about a million phone calls, according to Satter.

About a quarter of those calls were routed to Titan Technologies on that date, state records show.

Nearly 2,000 agents working for Titan Technologies answered almost 32,500 phone calls on May 18, records indicate, amounting to about 15% of the calls offered to the company that day.

According to Satter, approximately 6,000 people were available to answer phone calls last month on behalf of the DEO, up from just a few dozen who were taking calls when the pandemic began impacting jobs in early March.

Two other call center providers, Faneuil, Inc. and AECOM Technical Services, Inc., have also signed contracts with the DEO to answer phones. The companies could receive a maximum of $17.5 million and $24.5 million, respectively.

Detailed call records provided to the state by those companies were not immediately available.


About the Author: