GEICO, also known as the Government Employees Insurance Company, is best known as an auto insurance company. Since 2007, the auto insurance company has been responsible for providing auto insurance for over 13 million vehicles owned by well over 12 million policyholders across the entire country. They’re now the second largest direct insurer of car insurance in the United States.
The auto insurance company currently provides auto insurance in all 50 states, in addition to the District of Columbia. GEICO also takes a unique approach to selling their insurance to their millions of policyholders and prospective customers.
GEICO is known for not employing insurance agents, instead employing a direct to consumer sales model that allows them to sell insurance direct to their customers. This essentially eliminates the ‘middleman’ in selling auto insurance to various customers, instead selling policies through their own in-house services via phone and their website. The company does, however, have several offices around the country that serve consumers who want to work with an agent.
The auto insurance company is probably also one of the few auto insurance companies with a big advertising presence. Their advertising presence is so large that they’re known for having not just one famous mascot, but several. GEICO is able to dedicate resources otherwise spend on insurance agents to advertising. That’s what allows them to run multiple advertising campaigns in several different markets at the same time.
GEICO was initially founded in 1936 by Leo Goodwin and his wife Lillian. They founded the company out of a desire to provide auto insurance directly to employees of the federal government at the time. While the company was named for this initial service, GEICO now serves all customers who live in the United States.
Advertising and logo
GEICO is pretty much well known for its advertising. Their advertising campaigns make up some of the most memorable advertising efforts by an insurance company. So, you can’t talk about GEICO’s advertising without mentioning the main reason why they’re still a popular ‘favorite’ advertiser: the GEICO gecko.
The most famous advertising campaign from GEICO involves their official mascot, an anthropomorphic day gecko simply referred to as The Gecko, created by The Martin Agency. The GEICO Gecko initially appeared in a 1999 advertisement campaign, during a time where the Screen Actors Guild strike at the time prevented the use of live actors.
The original commercial featured the Gecko, originally voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer, where he climbed onto a podium and spoke into a microphone (with a Cockney accent), expressing his frustration with people confusing him with GEICO. Since the original ad, the Gecko underwent some visual changes and voice changes to make him seem more ‘guy next door,’ as expressed by The Martin Agency’s creative director, Steve Basset.
GEICO also has several other mascots that they use across their array of commercials. The GEICO Cavemen, used in their ‘so easy a caveman can do it’ ads, even became popular enough to spawn a short-lived sitcom. Maxwell the Piggy is another commonly used GEICO mascot, having initially appeared in radio and commercials, where he utters his trademark, ‘Whee.’
Besides their mascots, GEICO has a collection of advertisements that express their unique sense of humor, which happens to be appealing to various audiences, both young and old.
As for their logo, the GEICO is a simple bold ‘GEICO’ in all capital letters, usually printed in bold against a light or transparent background. Some variations of this logo have the GEICO gecko sitting on top of the logo itself. Other early variations had the ‘GEICO’ printed in other colors, such as the yellow and black version used sometime around the turn of the millennium.
The History of GEICO
As mentioned, GEICO was first founded in 1936 by Leo and Lillian Goodwin. They founded the company to primarily provide auto insurance coverage to federal government employees and their own families. Before the founding of their auto insurance company, Leo Goodwin worked for USAA, who only provides insurance for military personnel.
GEICO, founded as the Government Employees’ Insurance Company, provided Leo Goodwin the insurance coverage he needed after he couldn’t receive any more insurance benefits from USAA as an employee.
Due to his work experience at USAA, Goodwin based GEICO’s original business model around assuming that federal employees would be a ‘less risky and financially stable group of insured people’ who would be enrolled in their insurance policies. Although the company did start off providing insurance to federal government employees, GEICO has always remained privately owned and not affiliated with the government.
By 1937, the Goodwins took GEICO from San Antonio, Texas to Washington, D.C, later reincorporating the company as a D.C. based corporation. They reincorporated the company due to the fact that it would work best in a place with a high population of federal employees. GEICO later relocated to Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1959, where they still reside today.
In 1965, company president David Lloyd Kreeger helped GEICO morph into an insurance enterprise that would have a reach across the country. Starting in 1948, he formed a group of investors who bought stakes into GEICO before it went public in the same year. By 1974, GEICO became open to the general public, shortly after real-time computerized driving records become commonplace.
Setbacks during the 1973 to 1975 would make GEICO experience financial losses, causing the company to reorganize during the following years to recover. Long after their market recovery, GEICO eventually became a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
Services at GEICO
GEICO, as mentioned, is best known for their auto insurance policies. They provide auto insurance for both consumers and commercial businesses. Customers can even use their website to learn more information about their current auto insurance policies, in addition to getting a free auto insurance quote directly from their website. They also provide information about their insurance policies via phone call or directly from their insurance offices around the country.
Some of the coverage policies that GEICO offers for consumer and commercial auto insurance includes bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, medical payments or personal injury coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive physical damage coverage and combined single limit coverage.
Besides their auto insurance policies, they also offer insurance for various other needs, such as protecting their home. That form of home protection comes in the form of their homeowner’s insurance, condominium insurance and renter’s insurance policies.
All three policies provide protection for various residential properties. Their homeowner’s insurance policy provides broad coverage for most types of homes (H03 insurance coverage level). That essentially provides policyholders enough protection against fire, water, roof impact, building collapse and household theft of valuables. Their condominium and renter’s insurance policies provide much of the same coverage for those particular dwellings, typically the perils that are specified by the policy itself.
The insurance company also provides life insurance, flood insurance, overseas insurance, collectibles insurance, in addition to Personal Umbrella Protection and Identity Theft Protection. GEICO also continued to provide affordable insurance options for members of the United States military, generally providing them with special discount programs and various other service options for people in the military who are deployed abroad, domestically or are right at home.