Progressive Insurance is one the biggest providers of direct automobile insurance in the US, operating either direct via mail and online or through a network of around 35,000 independent intermediaries. It had 14.9m auto policies in force at the end of 2019, plus around 4.5m for motorcycles (in which it is the US market leader), watercraft, RVs and other such vehicles, 751k commercial auto policies and 2.2m property policies. According to NAIC figures, it was the third largest property & casualty insurer overall that year, and also #3 in private auto with 12.2% market share, behind State Farm and Geico. In commercial auto insurance, it is the market leader ahead of Travelers and Liberty Mutual, but ranks #12 in homeowners cover. The latter is offered through Progressive Home - previously American Strategic Insurance, acquired in 2014 - but this is very much the group's secondary suit. Vehicle insurance accounts for more than 90% of total premiums. Progressive is widely known for the character of "Flo", a fictional sales agent who has appeared in its advertising since 2008, played by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney. Flo was named the #1 US advertising icon in 2011 by readers of Entertainment Weekly magazine. A second recurring character, a customer known only as "The Messenger", was introduced in 2011, but didn't have the same appeal and was quickly dropped. An oddball "man baby" brand mascot reappears from time. Meanwhile, Flo is still going strong, now supported by other recurring sales agent characters such as her over-enthusiastic colleague Jamie. NFL star Baker Mayfield (and his wife) became the figureheads for Progressive home insurance in 2019. The company was originally founded in 1937 by Joseph Lewis and Jack Green as a mutual insurer, before finally going public in 1971. Joseph Lewis's son, Peter Lewis, was chairman until his death in 2013. The group reacquired his shares shortly afterwards. Tricia Griffith was appointed as CEO in 2016. Revenues hit a new high of $39.0bn for 2019, with net income of $4.0bn. Net premiums earned were $36.2bn, with the rest from investments and fees. Most of the company's business is in the US, but it also has a small online operation in Australia.
Capsule checked 13th January 2021
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