What Could Ice Cream and Car Insurance Possibly Have in Common?
My friend Jen said she refused to call an insurance company that had a gecko for its spokes- um, lizard. When GEICO insurance company came up with the cavemen ads, she still wasn’t impressed. Jen thinks the commercials are “cheesy”. And, only a “rinky dink” company would use such “low budget” advertising. Obviously, not everyone shares her opinions. A little known fact about GEICO insurance company is that, in 2006, it had a whopping 7 million auto policyholders. According to monster.com, GEICO is the largest “direct writer of private passenger auto insurance in the United States. The company’s massive $21.2 billion in assets blows it way out of the “small time” waters. Read this informative article and learn some additional little known facts about GEICO insurance company that will make you exclaim, “I didn’t know that!”
The Early Years
During the Great Depression, an enterprising couple named Leo and Lillian Goodwin decided they could build a successful insurance company. There were two important factors in their plan: 1) They would offer lower rates than their competitors. 2) They would only offer their insurance coverage to federal employees, as well as to the highest three levels of noncommissioned military officers. (A little known fact about GEICO insurance company is that, even today, they offer discounts to U.S. Military personnel.) Leo and Lillian Goodwin weren’t prejudiced people. Not offering their insurance to everyone was simply part of their money-making plan. The Government Employees Insurance Company or, “GEICO” for short, was born in Texas in 1932.
(Today, anyone can buy GEICO insurance.)
In 1948, an investment banker named Lorimer Davidson- who was also a close friend of the Goodwins- rounded up some new investors for GEICO when the original ones took their money elsewhere.
The Founders Retire
A decade later, the Goodwins retired. Since they had no children to succeed them, they decided that Davidson should take over the reins of the growing company. GEICO insurance company then moved to 5260 Western Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland. This is the location of their headquarters today.
On a side note – Leo and Lillian Goodwin passed away in 1970 and 1971, respectively. Leo was honored for his innovative business ideas by being posthumously inducted into the International Insurance Society Hall of Fame in 2001.
To answer the question, “What could ice cream and car insurance have in common?”, I have to ask, “Does the name Warren Buffett ring a bell?” According to Forbes.com, Buffett is worth $72 billion dollars. He ranks #3 on their billionaires in the world list. Buffett is known for his brilliant investments. Warren Buffett is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway. That’s why he bought stock in GEICO insurance company in 1951.
Now, fast forward through time and space to 1996. Berkshire Hathaway bought the remainder of GEICO’s stock. A little known fact about GEICO insurance company is that it became a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s investment company at that time.
GEICO started a national advertising campaign in 2000 that featured a talking gecko. If you’ve never seen the commercials, then you must not own a TV, as they are still being played to this day. Originally, actor Kelsey Grammar gave the lizard his voice. Richard Steven Horvitz, then Dave Kelly helped make the gecko come alive by lending their voices. Now, when you hear the gecko speak, you’re hearing British actor Jake Wood.
A little known fact about GEICO insurance company is that actors Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ben Weber play the parts of the cavemen.
In the commercial where the caveman is talking to his therapist, do your recognize her? She’s actress Talia Shire from the “Rocky” movies. Shire played the part of Rocky Balboa’s sweetheart “Adrian.”