GEICO Closing All 38 of its California Locations. Plans For Further Closings Throughout 2022 Expected.

Joel Eisenberg

The perennial insurance company with one of television’s more venerable pitch personalities is strategizing over recent business challenges.

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Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, SacBee.com, Google.com, EncompassUpstate.com, and Coverager.com.

Introduction

Wikipedia.org features a comprehensive overview of the GEICO Insurance Company, which states: The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) is a private American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland. It is the second largest auto insurer in the United States, after State Farm. GEICO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway that provides coverage for more than 24 million motor vehicles owned by more than 15 million policy holders as of 2017. GEICO writes private passenger automobile insurance in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The insurance agency sells policies through local agents, called GEICO Field Representatives, over the phone directly to the consumer via licensed insurance agents, and through their website.

As the page also mentions regarding one of advertising’s most identifiable pitch personalities: Its mascot is a gold dust day Geiko with a Cockney accent, voiced by English actor Jake Wood.

The company was founded in 1936.

GEICO’s business has long appeared consistent and healthy. However, according to The Sacramento Bee, in its piece titled “GEICO Closes California Insurance Offices, Lays Off Hundreds. State is ‘Monitoring’ Situation”: A GEICO spokesperson would not comment on the new changes but said the company was not leaving California. “We continue to write policies in California, and we remain available through our direct channels for the more than 2.18 million California customers presently insured with us,” the company said in an unsigned emailed statement to The Sacramento Bee. The changes leave online options through a computer or a mobile device as the only way to obtain a GEICO policy in California.

It is reported the state is monitoring the situation to ensure existing customers are supported. Further, ongoing speculation is the company may be planning to close offices outside of the state.

Let us explore further.

GEICO, 2022

CarrierManagement.com features a story on its website, “Berkshire’s GEICO Posts 2021 Profit But Much Lower Than 2020,” which addresses the fact that during the height of Covid the company earned more than the following year.

As excerpted from the article, which may shed some light on recent business decisions: Like other auto insurers, GEICO reported a record year in 2020, and 2021 underwriting results that were worse than pre-COVID levels of 2019. In 2020, in spite a six-month program of COVID-related premium givebacks totaling $2.9 billion from GEICO to its policyholders, the carrier reported $3.4 billion of pretax underwriting profit. The 2020 profit, resulting from lower auto claim frequencies, translated into a 90.2 combined ratio for all of 2020—lower than it had been in the decade of results that Carrier Management has tracked for Berkshire Hathaway. In 2021, written premiums increased $3.5 billion (to $38.4 billion), or 9.9 percent, compared to 2020 but losses and loss adjustment expenses increased $5.0 billion, or 19.1 percent, pushing the loss ratio up more than 8 points.

The issue has subsequently become how the company will reinvigorate itself to its former levels.

In terms of California closures and future closings elsewhere presumed by analysts to be on the books, as a targeted Google search will verify, again, company spokespersons have not yet addressed the reasons.

However, a recent piece published by EncompassUpstate.com, titled “GEICO Halts Phone Sales in These States (2022),” may add additional perspective: According to an article released by Coverager.com on April 21, 2022, GEICO has appeared to stop selling their auto insurance policies over the phone in the states of AK, AR, CA, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, KS, LA, MA, NJ, NM, NY, WI, WV. (You can read the full article here). Speculation over why GEICO has stopped their phone sales, which is the majority of their incoming business, is up for debate. According to Coverager.com, an insider email sent to company employees cited "increases in vehicle repair costs, used car prices, and increased driving which leads to more accidents".

Again, it should be noted the company has not addressed the issue, which has further lead to the speculation of physical office closures outside of California.

Conclusion

There is no indication that the longstanding company is making plans to go out of business, or anything of the sort.

Questions remain, though, as to why the closures as referenced above are presently being undertaken.

When GEICO addresses those reasons, I will update readers here, on NewsBreak.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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