Progressive Insurance is one the biggest providers of direct automobile insurance in the US, operating via mail, online and independent intermediaries. It had 13.4m in-force auto policies at the end of 2018, plus around 4.4m for motorcycles, watercraft, RVs and other such vehicles, 0.7m commercial auto policies and 1.9m property policies. According to NAIC figures, it was the #12 property & casualty insurer overall that year, but #3 in private auto with 11.0% market share, behind State Farm and Geico; and the leader in commercial auto insurance, ahead of Travelers and Liberty Mutual. The Progressive Corporation also offers property cover (through American Strategic Insurance, acquired in 2014), but auto insurance accounts for more than 75% of total premiums. Progressive is widely known for the character of "Flo", a fictional sales agent who has appeared in its advertising since January 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. 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; her predecessor Glenn Renwick remains chairman. Revenues hit a new high of almost $32.0bn for 2018, with net income of $2.6bn. Most of the company's business is in the US, but it also has a small online operation in Australia.
Capsule checked 31st July 2019
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