The company known as GEICO began in 1936 as the Government Employees Insurance Company. It was founded by a couple from Texas, Leo and Lillian Goodwin. Their plan was to sell insurance to carefully targeted groups. Their initial target was federal employees and certain categories of enlisted military officers.
Within a year, GEICO had written 3,700 policies and hired 12 staff members.
In 1948, the company needed new investors when its original investors went in other directions. A friend of the Goodwins, Lorimer Davidson, an investment banker, helped. Among the investors he found was Benjamin Graham, a business professor at Columbia University in New York. Warren Buffet was a student of Graham's and in 1951 Buffet bought his first GEICO stock. In 1996, GEICO would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Buffet's company, Berkshire Hathaway.
Leo Goodwin retired in 1958 and named Davidson his successor. Davidson moved company headquarters from Fort Worth, Texas, to Chevy Chase, Md., in 1959.
In 1964, the company passed its 1 million policyholder mark.
The company struggled some in the 1970s after its founders died, but returned to prudent underwriting in the 1980s and began to thrive again.
Today, has more than 11 million policyholders.
GEICO employs more than 27,000 associates and maintains nine regional offices across the country and two service centers in Iowa and Hawaii.
GEICO continues to offer special discount programs and service options to military personnel. In addition to auto insurance, it offers coverage for motorcycles, RVs, ATVs, and boats. It offers insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
GEICO is well known for its advertising campaigns including the gecko, which first appeared in 1999, and the caveman, which it started in 2004. Maxwell the Pig was recently added to its animated advertisements.