Category Archives: GEICO

Commentary: GEICO Right to Bet on Maintaining Policyholder Loyalty

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s auto insurer GEICO is pausing cancellation of coverage due to non-payment and policy expiration, effectively immediately. This pause will remain in effect through April 30, 2020.

In addition, GEICO is prepared to offer maximum flexibility, including special payment plans, to those who need it once normal billing operations are scheduled to resume.

“This ongoing situation impacts everyone, and we want our policyholders to have some peace of mind knowing we’ll be there when they need us most,” said GEICO President and CEO Todd Combs.

In taking this step, GEICO is betting that maintaining policyholder loyalty is more important than trying to squeeze cash out of customers that are out of the blue in a severe cash crunch.

While they may have some policies in arrears, on the positive side for GEICO is that self-quarantining due to the Coronavirus will lead to a dramatic reduction in new claims filed due to reduced mileage.

GEICO, like other leading auto insurers, such as Progressive, Liberty Mutual, and State Farm, normally runs multiple media campaigns. The reason for this is that in recent years the battle for policyholders is primarily a branding battle, not one of service or policy features.

Capturing the wallet of the consumer through the GEICO gecko, wood chucking wildlife, and office wandering camels, is a far more effective than listing the dry insurance features that policyholders are actually purchasing.

GEICO’s doing the right thing, both for consumers and for its bottom line. After all, losing customers at a time when they are down may add to customer acquisition costs down the road when the economy revives.

If GEICO can maintain brand loyalty, it will have done more to cement itself in the heart of the consumer than all the geckos in the world ever could.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Files Federal RICO Lawsuit in California Against Glass Repairer

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Following several lawsuits in Arizona and Florida, GEICO has filed a federal lawsuit in California alleging an auto glass repair shop submitted fraudulent glass repair bills. GEICO seeks to recover damages alleging violations of the Civil RICO statute and the California Business and Professional Code as well as claims for common law fraud and unjust enrichment.

GEICO alleges that owners Tal Elzari and Navid Vatankhahan used their business, Winaffix Auto Glass, in a fraudulent scheme to overbill for windshield glass replacement.

Their alleged scheme involved creating false glass invoices designed to mimic those from legitimate car dealerships in order to fraudulently claim they were using expensive original equipment glass rather than less expensive alternative glass. In fact, it is alleged that Winaffix never purchased the glass their invoices claimed. They are also alleged to have performed glass replacement services without a license to do so.

GEICO says it intends to file future lawsuits in California and around the country in its continuing efforts to protect its customers and the public from fraudulent glass repair operators.

“GEICO is committed to protecting our customers from the negative effect that insurance fraud has on premiums,” said James Jones, assistant vice president of claims in GEICO’s Poway, California, office. “These incidents of fraud hurt consumers in California because they cause premiums to increase, and we will continue to pursue them with a zero tolerance.”

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO on Hiring Spree in Georgia

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

GEICO’s Macon, Georgia regional office is looking to extend job offers to more than 500 Central Georgia residents in 2020.

There are full-time and part-time career opportunities in Claims, Salvage, Emergency Roadside Service, Customer Service and Sales. Recent college graduates and others looking to train for leadership positions are encouraged to apply for the Emerging Leaders Program or Management Development Program. No prior insurance experience is necessary; training, mentorship and support are provided to all new associates.

New associates will join Central Georgia’s largest private employer and GEICO’s largest regional operation. They will be welcomed onto a team with a proven track-record of success. Last year, nearly 40 percent of GEICO associates in Macon received promotions for their efforts to provide quality service to GEICO’s ever-growing policyholders.

GEICO associates are offered the Total Rewards Program, with a wide range of benefits, including a health benefits package, retirement and finance options and continuing education opportunities. In addition, associates can expect career growth opportunities and a friendly and supportive environment in which to develop and thrive.

GEICO also provides associates with many opportunities to be involved in their community. GEICO has been the biggest contributor to the United Way of Central Georgia for the past 14 years, and associates have been honored for their volunteer work at Bibb County Public Schools and Middle Georgia Community Food Bank.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Todd Combs to Become Head of GEICO

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio manager Todd Combs will be taking over the helm at GEICO as of next week. Current president and CEO Bill Roberts will move to vice chairman.

Roberts began his career with GEICO in 1984 as an officer in the Marketing department. Over his 35-year career, he has helped lead GEICO to become the second largest auto insurance company in the U.S. Roberts will become vice chairman of GEICO effective January 1, 2020.

Roberts has announced that he will retire from GEICO in December 2020.

“Bill told Ajit Jain, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and I in early November he was about to turn 70 and finishing up his 35th year with GEICO, and that he intended to retire at the end of 2020,” said Tony Nicely, GEICO’s executive chairman. “Bill has done an outstanding job leading and growing GEICO throughout his career. Our results throughout his career have been excellent and our culture is strong. He has put in place a strong plan for the coming year.”

“Todd has a strong career in insurance,” said Ajit Jain. “He initially worked at Progressive Insurance Company before going to graduate school to begin an investing career.”

Since 2010, Combs has been an investment manager at Berkshire Hathaway, and in addition to becoming GEICO’s CEO, Combs will continue to manage $14 billion of investments for Berkshire Hathaway.

“I am looking forward to taking on the responsibilities of CEO at GEICO,” said Combs. “They have a strong senior management team, a great organization of 40,000 employees, a great brand, and are a very successful insurance company.”

Combs will assume his position as GEICO’s CEO effective January 1, 2020.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Marks 1st Year in New Iowa Location With Plans to Hire 80 New Associates

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

GEICO’s North Liberty, Iowa, office is marking the one-year anniversary of its new headquarters by extending job offers to 80 new associates by the end of 2019.

Applications are now being accepted for Customer Service Representatives, with a starting salary of $16.50/hour, and Inbound Sales Representatives, with a $16.87 starting salary. No prior insurance experience is necessary; training is provided. Apply at geico.jobs/iowa.

GEICO opened its Iowa office in 1997, when the insurer had about 2.8 million policyholders. Today, GEICO has more than 17 million policyholders. The success of the Iowa office has contributed substantially to the company’s growth. In fact, an Iowa sales associate sold GEICO’s 17-millionth policy earlier this year. The Iowa office, which currently has about 500 associates, relocated to a new 50,000-square-foot building last September.

GEICO’s Iowa office has been named a Top Workplace for the last five years by the Des Moines Register and is one of Indeed.com’s Top 10 highest-rated workplaces for compensation and benefits.

Full-time GEICO associates are offered the Total Rewards Program with a wide range of benefits, including a comprehensive benefits package, continuing education, tuition reimbursement, on-site college courses, career growth, community engagement opportunities, as well as a friendly and supportive workplace.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO’s Rynthia Rost Receives Prestigious Urban League Award

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

GEICO’s vice president of public affairs, Rynthia Rost, received the Charles B. Collins Distinguished Trustee Award at the recent 2019 National Urban League Conference in Indianapolis.

The annual honor goes to a notable Urban League advocate who embodies the ideals of the organization and the esteemed Charles B. Collins – who helped to usher-in great growth and improvements during his long affiliation with the National Urban League.

Rost’s commitment to community service and mentorship is longstanding and well-known. She began her career as a pro bono attorney and continues to dedicate her life and work to uplifting communities.

“Rynthia Rost embodies the Urban League’s mission of empowerment and service,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “Her work on financial literacy programs, in particular, has made an enormous difference in the lives of underserved people. As a member of the Audit Committee of the National Urban League Board of Trustees, she serves a vital function in overseeing the fiscal soundness of our movement. She is a role model and mentor not only within the Urban League but in the community at large. We are proud to honor her with the Charles B. Collins Distinguished Trustee Award.”

Rost also serves on the boards of Urban League affiliates in Washington, D.C., and Essex County, New Jersey. In addition, she is vice-president and an executive board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and chair of the Children’s National Hospital Corporate Advisory Board. Rost has earned many other accolades for her work, including the Community Partner Award from Mentor’s Inc. and the Service to Youth Award from the National Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Rost has led GEICO’s public affairs efforts since 1994. She directs community affairs and GEICO Cares, the company’s country-wide associate community service and volunteer program.

“I am grateful to the National Urban League for this tremendous honor and for allowing me to be part of your efforts to empower local communities,” Rost said. “I also want to thank GEICO for the privilege of working with our 40,000 associates across the country on exciting community service projects that are positively impacting so many people.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Shane Wheeler Named GEICO’s VP of Claims Operations

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The GEICO Board of Directors has promoted Shane Wheeler to vice president in charge of the company’s claims operations. Wheeler will be based at GEICO corporate headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Since 2016, he had served as assistant vice president of claims for GEICO’s regional operations in Tucson, Arizona. Before that, he was the liability director for the regional office in Dallas.

Wheeler joined GEICO in 1999 as a service counselor at the San Diego regional office and entered the management internship program shortly thereafter. After completing the program, he was named a supervisor in the claims division.

He transferred to the Tucson regional office in 2004 and the Dallas regional office in 2011, holding claims management roles at both locations. He was named liability director for the Dallas region in 2013. Three years later, he was elected the Tucson region’s assistant vice president of claims.

Wheeler holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and a master’s degree from the University of Arizona. He earned his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriting (CPCU) designation in 2007.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Hiring Hundreds of Employees in Georgia

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

GEICO’s regional offices in Macon, Georgia, are hiring hundreds of employees. They have immediate openings for Emergency Roadside Service Representatives, Title Processing Specialists, Claims Service Representatives and Customer Service Representatives; all four positions have a starting salary of at least $15 an hour. Training is provided and no prior insurance experience is necessary.

Full-time associates are offered the wide-ranging Total Rewards Program, which includes a comprehensive benefits package, college tuition reimbursement and health and wellness incentives. GEICO provides a friendly work environment that supports career growth and development.

“More than 6,700 members of the Middle Georgia community are already a part of our GEICO family,” said Regional Vice President Franklin Silva. “We are proud to invite even more area residents to join GEICO and help us continue to offer the top-notch customer experience that we are known for.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Adding Employees in Buffalo

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The GEICO regional office in Buffalo, New York, is hiring.

Even in a tight labor market, GEICO’s Buffalo office has grown from 500 to more than 3,000 associates since first opening its doors in 2004. This immense growth led to the opening of a second building in 2017. To better serve GEICO’s growing customer base in New England, GEICO is seeking to add an estimated 200 more associates this year.

“The tremendous pool of talent in Western New York has helped this office prosper over the years,” Regional Vice President Jeremy Connor said. “We are excited to extend an invitation to others to join our GEICO family and help us continue to offer the top-notch customer experience that GEICO is known for.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Named a Top 5 Company for Women in IT

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

GEICO has been recognized as one of the Top 5 Companies for Women Technologists by AnitaB.org, a global nonprofit agency that recognizes companies building workplaces where women can thrive.

Using a rigorous methodology that looks at representation, employee experience, programs and policies, AnitaB.org analyzed data from 80 companies. The five companies with the highest cumulative scores in their respective workforce size categories earned placement on the 2018 Top Companies for Women Technologists Top 5 lists. GEICO was recognized for companies with a technical workforce of between 1,000 and 10,000 employees.

Marie Motowylak, GEICO’s director of decision sciences and business transformation, said GEICO is both appreciative and motivated by the recognition.

“We are very proud of the efforts we have made to develop an inclusive environment with a keen focus on training, career-advancement and promotional opportunities for women into leadership roles,” she said. “More and more women are taking advantage of the many IT career opportunities at GEICO, and we will continue to create rewarding career paths for them.”

Even before this latest recognition, GEICO’s efforts to support women in IT had not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, two of the company’s IT associates were recognized by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Women in Technology, and last year, GEICO was the winner of AnitaB.org’s coveted Top Companies for Women Technologists award.

“IT at GEICO plays a central role in creating seamless, innovative and dynamic insurance experiences for our customers. The inclusiveness and the diversity of our team of technologists drives our innovation and makes us a stronger and better company,” said GEICO Executive Vice President and CIO Greg Kalinsky.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.