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 you recognize her? She’s actress Talia Shire from the “Rocky” movies. The shire played the part of Rocky Balboa’s sweetheart “Adrian.”
Insurance Review: Progressive vs. Geico
Insurance is About the Money
Growing up, my favorite computer game was Carwars. When you think of Texas Instruments (TI) you may think of calculators, but I think of Carwars (played on a game console before Atari came out). But now car wars is how I refer to car insurances.
It’s not that I had any real issues with Geico Insurance over the past 7 years. It’s just the irony of having to pay so much money toward a service when you have no choice but to have insurance, regardless of whether or not I ever use the service. Geico came to the rescue when I hit that deer.
Well, they were there to take my phone call at 3 o’clock in the morning and even arranged to call tow service to come to our aid. Some accidents can’t be avoided, so when the car was totaled and money offered in its place, but not enough to make up for the loss, your not sure if the money you were spending toward insurance would have better covered that and some.
Oh well, rainy day saving is not an option—a legal alternative to car insurance. Frankly, I liked Geico’s coverage. I liked the service. I liked everything but the price. So I switched to progressive. As near as I can tell I get everything I would with Geico, but for a lesser bill. I checked. The coverages match up. And believe it or not, the people on the phone are just as nice and willing to help if called upon.
Both car insurances offer free rock chip repair under my comprehensive coverage, my only other standard fix, given all the construction and gravel trucks on the road. But they both keep track of the claims made and a little too touchy for me to make such insignificant claims.
I just pay for that repair on the side for like $10, whereas when I tested out having it charged to the insurance, through their chosen provider, the insurance was charged $180. No wonder the insurance companies get uppity about some claims.
But the point is that there isn’t a stark contrast between how either company handles these types of claims. Again, it is about the money just to carry the insurance, because all other things seem equal.
The strange thing is that Geico’s googly-eyed mascot isn’t saving me money. Progressive is. All State, American Family, State Farm, Countrywide and others all offer basically the same services but say they can do it for less money. But I didn’t find anyone who is doing significantly better on that claim than Geico, except Progressive (and maybe Countrywide).