GEICO

GEICO is the 4th largest private passenger car insurance company and direct writer of auto insurance in the United States. GEICO is a wholly owned sub of Berkshire Hathaway and as of 2006 provided insurance for over 10 million vehicles and 8 million policy holders. GEICO has $21.2 billion in assets. 21,500 employees, and 12 major offices in U.S.

GEICO Ratings »

3.3Overall
3.8Coverage
3.7Cost
3.3Service
2.6Claims

Based on 7 reviews - 0 is lowest, 5 is highest

Website: geico.com

GEICO

GEICO traces its name to 1936, when the first customers received GEICO insurance. The name means Government Employees Insurance Company, and was chosen for the insurance company because the first customers were only government and military employees. GEICO's founder, Leo Goodwin, devised a way to lower the costs of automobile insurance coverage by only choosing customers from prime groups. Thus savings were then passed on to policyholders at the beginning of their relationship with GEICO. This model of business worked well, and today GEICO continues to work to find ways to lower their costs and pass the savings on to customers.

While today's GEICO is not limited to government and military employees, GEICO does cater many of its services to those serving in the U.S. Military. Troops and their families can apply for special discounts and services, whether the country is at war or at peace. This has been the policy since the insurance company was founded in 1936.

GEICO insurance coverage is not limited to car insurance. GEICO customers can also purchase motorcycle, boat, home, apartment, and mobile home insurance through the company. A personal umbrella insurance plan is also one of their services. In 1996 GEICO became part of Berkshire Hathaway, a financial holdings company headed by Warren Buffet. Fortune magazine has named the insurance portion of Berkshire Hathaway, which includes GEICO insurance, the best and most admired in the United States.

GEICO's history started in the 1930s with Leo and Lillian Goodwin, an enterprising couple who took a risk in the middle of the Great Depression and started the Government Employees Insurance Company, which is now known as GEICO. This start up would quickly become one of the most trusted insurance companies in the country. Today's GEICO employees know the names of this entrepreneurial couple well.

Leo Goodwin developed the business plan for the company. His main business principle was to lower costs wherever possible. This meant marketing the insurance to only those customer groups who posed a low risk, such as government and military employees. By lowering costs, premiums could be lowered without risking the company's profits. While this was a somewhat novel idea in the insurance world, it proved to be a successful one. As GEICO began to attract customers and succeed, he officially started operations in a Washington, D.C., office in 1936. Since that date, GEICO has continued to climb the prosperity ladder.

Leo's wife Lillian worked with her husband to launch the infant insurance company. She was an active player in the early days of GEICO's history. She was a professional bookkeeper and worked as the accountant for the growing insurance company. She also set rates, underwrote policies, marketed the automobile insurance, and issued policies to new consumers. The first target group that the Goodwins marketed to was federal employees and those serving in the top three levels of the military. In the first official year of business they had successfully enrolled 3,700 people into the insurance company and had a twelve people they were paying as their staff.

From those humble but promising beginnings the GEICO insurance company continued to grow. However, early investors eventually wanted to invest their money in other opportunities, and the Goodwins had to seek new investors. This problem was taken care of in 1948 when the Goodwins' friend Lorimer Davidson, an investment banker, joined GEICO. He worked to help them find new investors, and one of the investors he found was Benjamin Graham. Graham worked as a professor at Columbia University. A few years later, Graham would have an aspiring young man, Warren Buffett, in one of his classes. He introduced Buffett to the Goodwins' and their insurance company, and in 1951 Buffett became part of the history of GEICO.

Today, Buffett will tell the story of his first trip to the GEICO office in 1951. He recalls that he took the train from New York to Washington, D.C., on a Saturday, only to find that the office was closed for the weekend. A janitor working at the office got him in contact with Lorimer Davidson, who explained the basics and philosophy of the Goodwins and their insurance company to him. From that meeting, Buffett was impressed enough with GEICO insurance to buy some stock in the insurance company. Thus began a long investment relationship that ended with Buffett making GEICO insurance a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

Leo Goodwin said goodbye to his insurance company when he retired in 1958. His friend Davidson took the company. Davidson chose to move GEICO's headquarters to Chevy Chase, MD, in 1959. This ushered in a new decade of tremendous growth for the company. In 1964, GECO boasted over one million policyholders. Payments for premiums continued to grow, in and 1965 the company had over $150 million in insurance premium payments. In 1966 the insurance company saw their net earnings double, brining in $13 million that year. They opened several offices in the ‘60s to encourage walk-in customers to purchase insurance, and they even opened a drive-in claims office in 1965.

After the tremendous growth of the 1960s, GEICO faced some struggles in the 1970s. Both Leo and Lillian Goodwin passed away, and the expansion seen in the 1960s left several areas of weakness for the insurance company, particularly because the company had a huge loss of reserves. As a result of the struggles of the ‘70s, GEICO insurance strengthened their underwriting and reserving departments. This made them a fiscally strong insurance company. In 1976 Warren Buffett purchased more stock in the company, which made his holdings over one million shares. Then in 1979, Lou Simpson became the company's chief investment officer.

Underwriting was the focus in the 1980s. These years saw the insurance company facing steady, but slower growth. It was in the ‘80s that GEICO insurance introduced their telephone service for claimants, which was available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. This service was a result of an emphasis on customer service that was prevalent during this decade.

In 1993 GEICO named Olza "Tony" Nicely the chairman, president, and CEO of the insurance company. The company began to look at becoming more nationally known. They launched a name-recognition campaign and increased their advertising budget. The goal of these activities was to increase their customer base. They employed a four-company strategy to encourage new customers to buy insurance. This impressed Warren Buffett, and he made a move to buy out the remaining shares of GEICO's stock through his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm. This made GEICO insurance a subsidiary of a proven investment firm.

Once Berkshire Hathaway gained control of GEICO, advertising became the main focus of the company. Direct mail, radio ads, and television commercials swept across the country, and the insurance company saw major growth as a result. The now-famous GEICO Gecko was first used in a 2000 television advertising campaign, and he has since become an icon in the advertising world.

While the Goodwins are no longer living, their legacy continues to propel the insurance company to prosperity. In 2001 Leo Goodwin was inducted into the International Insurance Society Hall of Fame. It is because of his ideas and philosophy that GEICO has become a favorite in the insurance world among consumers.

GEICO insurance claimed over five million policyholders in 2003, and opened operations in Tucson, Arizona, and Buffalo, New York. In 2004 the insurance company began selling car insurance in New Jersey, which pushed the company's numbers over the six million mark. As GEICO looks to the future, Tony Nicely expects to see continued growth and prosperity. The progress their little company has made would make Leo and Lillian Goodwin proud. GEICO insurance continues to offer customers excellent coverage, low prices, and outstanding customer service.

GEICO is a personal lines car insurance company. While its name implies that it is a government-run agency, it has always been a private insurance company. The founders chose to market their products to government employees under the assumption that these would be the most financially stable markets to sell insurance to. They started insuring the general public in the 1970s when computerized driving records became available, but the company continues to offer discounts to government and military personnel.

GEICO rarely uses insurance agents, preferring instead to market its product through telephone and internet communication. There are a few field agents, most of which are located around military bases. These agents are called GEICO Field Representatives, or GFRs. Today, GEICO has over seven million policyholders and covers over ten million vehicles.

GEICO insurance is advertised through a wide variety of media, including print, television, and radio advertisements. GEICO places a huge number of ads that are humorous and catchy in an attempt to draw people's attention to the products and services the insurance company offers. The GEICO Gecko is the focus of most of the company's television commercials. The idea behind these commercials was that people called the gecko when they really wanted to reach GEICO. The gecko's British accent was given in an attempt to provide something unexpected.

Another advertising strategy employed by GEICO features misdirection, where a situation that is unrelated to car insurance is presented, and at the end of the commercial an actor says, "I've got great news! I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO." Along the same lines, some GEICO commercials promote a fictional product, only to end the commercial by saying " . . . but it won't save you any money on car insurance." The commercial follows this statement with the GEICO slogan and the statement "Why haven't you called GEICO?"

A more recent advertising campaign features "cavemen" living in modern times. This campaign began in 2005, and started with an insurance commercial claiming GEICO was so easy to sign up for that "even a cavemen can do it." A caveman is shown watching the commercial, and he becomes angry and offended. A series of commercials have spun off this original ad that show the GEICO spokesman trying to make up for his statement.

GEICO continues to strive for fun, entertaining commercials that showcase their customer service and insurance products. The insurance company parodies popular television shows, fan clubs, Saturday morning cartoons, foods, products, and even election campaigns. The commercial always ends with the plug " . . . but it won't save you any money on car insurance," followed by the GEICO slogan and "Why haven't you called GEICO?" These highly effective, highly entertaining commercials, combined with their low cost insurance options and customer service focus, are the reason behind the success of GEICO in the insurance world.

Total 7 reviews Page of 1
5.0Overall
by Anonymous
from Roberta, Ga
vehicle 2006 Honda Accord

Exceptional Claims Experience

I was involved in an accident that resulted in the total loss of my vehicle. the accident happened on Friday. I reported the claim the same night. In speaking with a GEICO claims rep, she was very empathetic, friendly, and courteous. On the initial call a rental vehicle appointment was set up for the following day. My vehicle was accessed and deemed a total loss by the adjuster on Monday morning and the claim was settled before noon that day. I was able to get another vehicle on Thursday, 1 day shy of being a week after having my accident. This is what I call exceptional service. My family, friends, and co workers all ask, "What insurance comapny are you with?" I am proud and do not hesitate to tell them, "GEICO" and I say it with pride. Most of them have called and gotten a quote or assured me that they will make the switch. I am forever grateful to GEICO and will remain a loyal customer now and forever. This type of service really made an impact on me. I love GEICO for being good to me and I will be a spokesperson for the company for a long time to come.

1.0Overall
by Anonymous
from Dallas, Texas
vehicle 2005 Cadillac CTS

Geico refuses to accept liability

My car was recently totaled out by a Geico customer. When the accident happened, I immediately called Geico and stated that I needed a rental car. No such luck. They said they could not do anything for me until they spoke with their insured. It has been three weeks now and I still do not have a rental from Geico (my insurance has had to cover everthing, including medical as I was injured in the accident). The accident report clearly states that their customer was at fault, but they still say they are investigating. Their client came barreling through a stop sign and caused the accident. I called Geico claims and the adjuster I spoke with was utterly nasty.

Needless to say, I have had to hire an attorney to deal with these scumbags and if they don''t respond to me by the end of this week, I am taking them to court - small claims won''t get it. I drove a $20K car and now I am left walking. Thanks Geico!!

1.3Overall
by Anonymous
from Florida
vehicle 2004/Ford 150

GEICO USED TO BE A GOOD COMPANY

I cant believe that after getting the passenger window smashed while parked at my apartments parking lot and the radio stolen, I cant make a claim for the radio because I did not register it ????? and because the car was not taken ??????
WHO comes up with these loop holes for idiots?
I have been a GEICO customer for four years..
I am shopping for insurance for my four cars...

5.0Overall
by Anonymous
from Oxford, MA
vehicle 1996/Chevrolet/S-10 Pickup

Well Satisfied with Geico Services

A dedicated customer of twelve years, I have nothing but good things to say about Geico, the company’s employees and the service they deliver. I have all of my insurance needs covered by Geico – homeowners insurance, car insurance and my son’s motorcycle is insured through Geico too. Our rates are perfect and I wouldn’t dream of seeking out the services of another company. Some of my friends say that they get lower rates with Progressive but I say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You can’t put a price on quality service – you just can’t, and Geico truly delivers.

5.0Overall
by Anonymous
from Washington
vehicle Plymouth/Voyager

Geico Nothing But Great Experiences

When I was looking for insurance coverage in 1997 Geico gave me the lowest rates imaginable. I had called a number of different companies and I was floored to see the huge variances in price. In a way, I am glad I took the time to price and compare different companies. I trust Geico – they didn’t rip me off when other companies were attempting to slam me with huge premiums. The staff at Geico is never rude when I call – a characteristic lacking when I called other insurance carriers. The online account access makes my billing responsibilities simple – I like simple. Thanks Geico!

1.8Overall
by M Nelson
from Carson City Nevada
vehicle 90 OLDS

GEICO

GEICO is good till you have a claim, then they raise your rates almost 100%, they say because your no longer a prefered member? One claim? Then they cancel insurance as they see fit and screw up dates and this takes anoying time on the phone to straiten out... Tow service sucks and so does the rental aggreement, They can put the gecko were the sun don't shine...

4.3Overall
by Anonymous
from Los Angeles, CA
vehicle 2007 Lexus GS350

geico is great thus far...

they might not be the cheapest in California, but when i got into a car accident 3 years ago, geico came to my rescue. The GEICO claim agent was at my door the next with the keys to a rental car. most insurance companies are all the same, not geico though.

Total 7 reviews Page of 1