The Government Employees
Insurance Company (
GEICO /ˈɡaɪkoʊ/) is an
American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase,
Maryland. It is the second largest auto insurer in the United States,
after State Farm.
GEICO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire
Hathaway that provides coverage for more than 24 million motor
vehicles owned by more than 15 million policy holders as of 2017.
GEICO writes private passenger automobile insurance in all 50 U.S.
states and the District of Columbia. The insurance agency sells
policies through local agents, called
GEICO Field Representatives,
over the phone directly to the consumer, and through their website.
Its mascot is a gold dust day gecko with a Cockney accent, voiced by
English actor Jake Wood.
GEICO is well known in popular culture for
its advertising, having made a large number of commercials intended to
2 Advertising campaigns
5 See also
7 External links
GEICO was founded in 1936 by
Leo Goodwin Sr.
Leo Goodwin Sr. and his wife Lillian
Goodwin to provide auto insurance directly to federal government
employees and their families. Since 1925, Goodwin had worked for
USAA as an insurer who specialized in insuring only military
personnel. He decided to start his own company after rising as far as
a civilian could go in USAA's military-dominated hierarchy. Based on
Goodwin's experience at USAA, GEICO's original business model was
predicated on the assumption that federal employees, as a group, would
constitute a less risky and more financially stable pool of insureds
compared to the general public. Despite the presence of the word
"government" in its name,
GEICO has always been a private corporation
not affiliated with any government organization.
In 1937, the Goodwins relocated
GEICO from San Antonio,
Washington, D.C. and reincorporated the company as a D.C. corporation
after realizing that their business model would work best in the place
with the highest concentration of federal employees.
An important figure in GEICO's history is David Lloyd Kreeger, who
became president of the company in 1964 and helped steer it into a
major insurance enterprise. In 1948, he formed a group of investors
who bought into
GEICO right before it went public that year. He became
senior vice president and general counsel of the company. Six years
after becoming president of GEICO, Kreeger was named chairman and
chief executive officer. He retained those titles until he retired in
1975. Kreeger continued his role as chairman of the executive
committee until 1979, when he was named honorary chairman.
In 1974 under Kreeger's leadership,
GEICO began to insure the general
public after real-time access to computerized driving records became
available throughout the United States. At this time,
briefly the fifth-largest U.S. auto insurer. By 1975, it was clear
GEICO had expanded far too rapidly (during the 1973–75
recession) when it reported a $126.5 million USD loss. To prevent
GEICO from collapsing, a consortium of 45 insurance companies agreed
to take over a quarter of its policies, and it was forced to issue a
stock offering (thus diluting existing stockholders) to raise money to
pay claims. It took five years (during which the company shrank
significantly) and a massive reorganization to set
GEICO on the path
GEICO has also offered other types of insurance besides auto,
including homeowner's insurance from 1962 to 1996. A sister company,
the Government Employees Life
Insurance Company (GELICO), offered life
insurance from 1975 to 1985. Although
GEICO has since focused on its
core auto insurance competency (selling GELICO to Legal &
General), it uses its established direct sales infrastructure to
market homeowner's and other types of insurance underwritten by other
In 1996, after many years as a publicly traded firm,
GEICO became a
wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
GEICO generally deals directly with consumers via telephone and
internet; however, the local agent program has more than 150 offices
across the United States.
GEICO is now the second-largest writer of
private auto insurance in the country.
After several years of denying claims and even canceling policies for
policyholders that used their personal car for ridesharing companies
such as Uber and Lyft,
GEICO began offering rideshare coverage in
select states in 2015, including in high-population states such as
Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia. The policy, which is issued
through GEICO's commercial department, has received praise from
insurance experts and quickly launched
GEICO as the largest insurance
provider for TNC drivers.
J.D. Power rated the company #20 out of 24 for overall
purchase experience, with a 2/5 score.
GEICO advertising campaigns
GEICO has many well-known ad campaigns. In 2012
GEICO spent over $1.1
billion USD in advertising, or 6.8% of its revenue. All campaigns
are made and produced by
The Martin Agency
The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia.
GEICO ads have featured several well-known mascots, including:
GEICO Gecko is the most prevalent spokesperson mascot and speaks
with a Cockney accent.
GEICO Cavemen (from ads claiming using their website is "so easy,
a caveman could do it").
GEICO "Piggy" who shouts a long "Whee" and appears in
more radio and TV commercials.
Actor Mike McGlone, who uses film noir-style narration to compare the
GEICO to things, famous people, or idioms. ("Could switching
GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?...Is having a
snowball fight with pitching great
Randy Johnson a bad idea?") The
scene is then acted out, with typically humorous results. In addition
to Johnson, other ads have included Charlie Daniels, Andrés Cantor,
Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, R. Lee Ermey, and Ed "Too Tall" Jones
The "money savers" campaign enlisted actors to portray average
consumers who have resorted to various humorous extremes in order to
save money, such as teaching a dog to sing or teaching a group of
Guinea pigs to row a boat and perform some mundane task for the
consumer, and then presented switching to
GEICO as an easy alternative
to such endeavors with the common line ".... there's an easier way to
The "Happier Than...." duo features Jimmy (actor Timothy Ryan Cole)
and Ronnie (musician Alex Harvey) playing a guitar and a mandolin,
respectively, on a small portable stage. They comment on a fictitious
preceding event, such as a man dressed in 15th-century attire laughing
as he leads a trio of speed boats with the painted names Nina, Pinta,
and Santa Maria. After cutting to the duo, one says to the other, "You
know, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to
are happy." The other then replied, "How happy are they,
(Jimmy/Ronnie)?" and in the case above, the response is "Happier than
Christopher Columbus with speedboats!"
Kash, the stack of cash that represents the money you could have saved
by switching to GEICO.
There are also
GEICO ads that feature stories from
about situations in which the company assisted them, but are
translated by celebrities like
Little Richard and Joan Rivers. Film
Don LaFontaine appeared in one such ad, shortly
before his death. The tag announcer for these spots was D. C. Douglas.
GEICO is also an official sponsor of the
National Hockey League
National Hockey League and
themed commercials that always feature members of the hometown
GEICO Chevrolet SS driven by
Casey Mears during 2015 Toyota/Save
Mart 350 qualifying
GEICO has long been involved in motorsports sponsorships. Since 2008,
the company has sponsored the
Germain Racing team, first in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series with Mike Wallace, and later in the NASCAR Sprint
Cup Series with
Max Papis and Casey Mears. Ty Dillon, grandson of
racing legend Richard Childress, began driving the #13
in the 2017 season.
GEICO's major competitors include Amica Mutual Insurance, Liberty
Mutual Insurance, State Farm, Allstate, 21st Century Insurance,
Reliance Partners, Progressive, Nationwide Insurance, and United
Services Automobile Association.
In December 2016, a federal Miami jury awarded $2.7 million USD to a
family who sued the company, claiming the company acted in bad
In November 2015, a jury in Miami awarded a family $14.5 million USD
after suing the company for bad faith.
In October 2015, the Consumer Federation of California successfully
sued the company for $6 million USD after alleged discrimination based
on occupation, education level, and other personal
In October 2015, the
United States Court of Appeals for the 11th
Circuit upheld a verdict against the company for over $700,000 USD in
a breach of contract suit.
In 2013, Tony Dane of Las Vegas successfully sued
GEICO for breach of
contract following the theft of his car in which
GEICO denied his
claim, accused him of stealing his own vehicle, and put a private
investigator on him. He feared he may have lost custody of his
children. Dane's original attorney dropped him, so he pursued the case
pro se and won, gaining a verdict from a jury.
In December 2010, the family of John Potts, a man who was killed in a
traffic accident by a
GEICO customer, successfully sued the company
for $8.48 million USD after the company refused to pay an adequate
settlement following the crash.
United States insurance companies
^ "Where the iPhone, AWS, and Geico Would Rank". Fortune. June 2017.
Retrieved March 12, 2018.
^ Yerak, Becky (June 13, 2013). "Geico tops
Allstate as nation's No. 2
auto insurer in 1Q". Chicago Tribune.
GEICO History: An American Success Story.
GEICO official site.
Accessed 18 December 2009.
^ "Leo Goodwin, Financier, Son of Founder of Geico". The Washington
Post. January 18, 1978.
^ a b Fowler, Glenn. "
David Lloyd Kreeger Dead at 81; Insurance
Official and Arts Patron". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May
^ Jones, William H. (June 8, 1978). "Investors May Get Geico
Settlement". The Washington Post.
^ "74. Geico (Berkshire Hathaway)". Forbes. Retrieved August 8,
Insurance Shopping Study (2016)", J.D. Power. April 29, 2016.
Retrieved 25 jan 2017
GEICO Success Highlights Advertising Dollars vs. Agent Commissions
Insurance Journal. October 22, 2013.
^ "Lawyers Pursues Bad-Faith Claim After Geico Delay", Celia Ampel.
Daily Business Review. December 22, 2016. Retrieved 9 jan 2017
^ "Florida Couple Recovers $14.5 in Bad Faith Case Against Geico",
National Trial Lawyers. Lawyers and Settlements. November 14, 2015.
Retrieved 9 jan 2017
^ "Geico agrees to $6-million settlement in discriminatory pricing
case", Nick Shively. Los Angeles Times. August 24, 2015. Retrieved 9
^ "Geico Loses 11th Circ. Rehearing Bid In Bad Faith Case", David
Langhorne. Law 360. October 1, 2015. Retrieved 9 jan 2017
Customer Tony Dane Sues
GEICO And Wins", Tony Dane. PR
News Wire. February 6, 2013. Retrieved 9 jan 2017
^ "GEICO’s $9.6 million-dollar lesson in “bad faith” ", D'Amore
Law Group. November 6. Retrieved 9 jan 2017
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