Geico is a leading US insurer, specialising in passenger automobiles but now gradually diversifying into other types of general insurance cover. The company has expanded dramatically since the 1990s, primarily through expansion of its highly effective direct insurance service, operated by mail, telephone and now prinarily online. By bypassing agents' commissions the company keeps costs very low, and passes on most of the benefits to customers, significantly undercutting the premiums charged by its main competitors, State Farm and Allstate. As a result it has slowly accumulated an ever larger share of the private passenger market, with over 17m policies in-force and 28m cars insured. It overtook Allstate for the first time in 2013 to become the #2 private passenger auto insurer behind State Farm, and has retained that position ever since. Total private passenger auto premiums written in 2018 were $34.1bn, with a net gain after expenses of $2.5bn. Geico has established a strong presence in the popular consciousness of ordinary Americans with a barrage of oddball advertising campaigns and memorable slogans. The first to attract widespread attention, back in the early 2000s, featured Neanderthal cavemen transplanted to modern-day America. It ran for several years and even inspired a short-lived TV sitcom. Numerous other campaigns have followed, each with a different theme, often running concurrently and promoting different Geico services. In 2016, Geico overtook AT&T and Verizon to become the top-spending advertising brand in the US. The company is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffett. However it operates as a standalone business, working separately from that group's other insurance businesses. Long-serving leader Tony Nicely passed on the role of CEO in 2018 to Bill Roberts. He remains executive chairman. However Roberts himself departed in Jan 2020 to be replaced by Todd Combs, previously one of the two top investment managers at Berkshire Hathway. The Geico name is an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company. The company was originally founded in 1936 to market auto insurance to US government employees and military personnel, and remained a specialist in this sector for almost 40 years. It opened its offer to higher risk ordinary civilians in the 1970s.
Capsule checked 13th November 2019
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Historical profile information for Geico
Recent stories from Adbrands Update:
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Ads of the Week: "Flextacular". The Martin Agency's campaigns for direct insurer Geico just get odder and odder. Not all the concepts work, but new ones appear so often it hardly seems to matter. The latest features a couple of oddball bodybuilders, and a new vocabulary based around the friendly appellation Bro'. Also, proof that changing to Geico can enhance your life in ways you'd never expect. Learn the whole Brocabulary by clicking through at the close.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd July 2015: The 2015 Cannes Lions Festival finished off on Saturday night with a big blowout of awards. The Film category had two Grand Prix winners. The Martin Agency's four-seconds-plus "Unskippable" campaign for Geico took one of the pair of Grand Prix in Film, satirising pre-roll ads on YouTube and elsewhere. They can't be skipped after four seconds because they're already ended - but you wouldn't want to skip because of what happens next. The second went to F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi's mash-up/homage to many of the most celebrated photographs of the 20th century, recreated in an extended ad for Leica.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Mar 2015: Ads of the Week: "Unskippable: Family". The Martin Agency have long excelled at the comically absurd in their multiple prolific campaigns for insurer Geico. This latest series is a post-modern riff on the idea of "skippable" ads, those commercials which TV viewers fast-forward through to get back to the main programme. Here's one ad you wouldn't even want to skip. Top marks to the whole family - especially the kids - for not cracking up. You can catch up with two more funny executions over on our Facebook page.
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Mar 2014: Warren Buffett slipped from the top couple of places in Forbes' annual rich list - he ranked 4th in the latest survey, behind Bill Gates, telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim and Inditex founder Amancio Ortega. However his investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway reported its best performance for several years in 2013. The economic resurgence in the US powered a 32% jump in profits to $19.5bn, on combined revenues of $182.5bn. Most of the businesses in Berkshire's extensive portfolio had a good or great year, but one of the best performers was its insurance subsidiary Geico. In his letter to shareholders, Buffet revealed that Geico has now overtaken Allstate to become the #2 US auto insurer by earned premiums behind State Farm. Geico's total rose 11% to $18.57bn, compared to Allstate's $18.45bn. The crucial difference though is the fact that the vast majority of Geico's business is generated online rather than through the armies of agents employed by its two main rivals. Pretax earnings almost doubled in 2013 to $1.1bn.
Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Oct 2013: Ads Of The Week: "Napoleon". We're lost in admiration over the sheer volume of advertising and the variety of different concepts, that The Martin Agency keeps churning out for Geico. Every one a winner as well. Joining the humpday camel, the gecko, the pig and and the insurers' numerous different catchphrase series, here's yet another hilarious concept, in which absurdly animated paintings promote the benefits of purchasing the organisation's insurance. How do they keep it up?
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