|Founded||March 10, 1937|
|Headquarters||Mayfield Village, Ohio|
|Lawton W. Fitt|
(President and CEO)
|Revenue||$30 billion USD (2018)|
Number of employees
The Progressive Corporation is an American insurance company, one of the largest providers of car insurance in the United States. The company insures motorcycles, boats, RVs, and commercial vehicles and provides home insurance through select companies. Progressive has expanded internationally as well, offering car insurance in Australia. The company was co-founded in 1937 by Jack Green and Joseph M. Lewis, and is headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio. Progressive is currently ranked No. 99 in the 2019 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
Progressive was founded in 1937 by Joseph Lewis and Jack Green as Progressive Insurance Company. Starting in 1956, the company found a niche by insuring more risky drivers. In 1965, Peter B. Lewis, son of Joseph Lewis, and his mother borrowed $2.5 million, pledging their majority stake as collateral, and completed a leveraged buyout of Progressive. In 1987, the sum of the company's written premiums breached $1 billion. In 2016, that number crossed the $20 billion mark. It has generally attempted to live up to its name by being innovative in the industry. It boasts being the first auto insurance company to have a website, allow customers to purchase policies via that site, and later to pioneer allowing the use of mobile browsers and smartphone apps for rating and managing policies. It was also the first to offer 24/7 claims reporting. As it has grown, Progressive has sought to be a one-stop insurance provider for families in order to more competently compete with other top-insurers.
The company operates in three segments: Personal Lines, Commercial Auto, and Other-indemnity.
- The Personal Lines segment writes insurance for private passenger automobiles, motorcycles, boats, and recreational vehicles through both an independent agency channel and a direct channel.
- The Commercial Auto segment writes primary liability and physical damage insurance for automobiles and trucks owned by businesses primarily through the independent agency channel.
- The Other-indemnity segment provides professional liability insurance to community banks, principally directors, and officers liability insurance. It also provides insurance-related services, primarily providing policy issuance and claims adjusting services in 25 states for Commercial Auto Insurance Procedures/Plans. In 2011, the company was ranked 164 in the Fortune 500.
Progressive is one of the largest auto insurers in the United States, with over 13 million policies in force, along with State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance Group, and USAA. Progressive primarily offers its services through the Internet or by phone and through independent insurance agents. Progressive's Agency business sells insurance through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies and progressiveagent.com where customers can quote their own policies and then contact an agent to complete the sale.
In December 2009, Progressive announced it was selling car insurance in Australia. Initially called Progressive Direct, it rebranded as Progressive in 2011, and later rebranded as PD Insurance in 2019.
Marketing and operations
Progressive's marketing campaign is known for offering quotes of its competitors along with its own quote. It was the first major insurer to offer auto policies through the phone and through its web site. In September 2007 Progressive began to offer Pet Injury coverage, which provides coverage for dogs and cats that are injured in a crash and is included at no additional cost with Collision coverage.
Progressive's television advertisements feature an overly enthusiastic cashier named Flo (played by actress Stephanie Courtney), who explains the benefits of Progressive Insurance. In December 2010, the company introduced the "Messenger," as a complementary campaign. He was played by John Jenkinson. The Flo universe also includes Jamie, an awkward fellow Progressive employee; and Bill and Tom, rival insurance salesmen from the figurative straw man "A. Nother Insurance Company." Bill and Tom were largely discontinued after Allstate filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau alleging that Progressive was making a false claim that they offered discounts that Allstate and other insurance providers did not.
In 2012, Progressive introduced another character, a personified box (voiced by Chris Parnell) representing the company's products. It is portrayed as having an entourage (including a personal trainer). Progressive later added more characters like Flobot, Mara, Dr. Rick, and Motaur to its advertising series.
In Australia, Progressive uses a female character named "Kitty." She is styled similar to Flo.
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According to a February 2011 Wall Street Journal article, Progressive has a leg up on its rivals in Pay As You Drive insurance, a form of vehicle insurance also generically known as usage-based insurance. Progressive has seven U.S. patents covering usage-based insurance methods and systems, with more patents pending. Progressive began working on the concept in the mid-1990s and continues to refine the concept and bring it to the mass market.
Snapshot is Progressive's Pay As You Drive, or usage-based insurance program. Snapshot is a voluntary discount program where drivers can save money on their car insurance by sharing their driving habits with Progressive. According to Progressive, Snapshot is best for people who drive less, in safer ways and during safer times of day. Snapshot customers can make changes to their driving habits that will lead to bigger discounts by checking their driving data and projected discount on progressive.com over the course of their initial policy period.
Drivers plug a device the size of a garage door opener into the on-board diagnostic (OBD) port of their car. The device records and sends the driving data to Progressive, and Progressive uses that information to calculate the rate. After 30 days, customers find out if they're eligible for a discount based on that 30-day "snapshot" of their driving habits. At the end of a six-month policy period, Progressive calculates the customer's renewal discount and customers return the device to Progressive. The company doesn't take into account how fast the car goes although it does take into account how fast and frequently the vehicle operator brakes. Snapshot is voluntary and customers can opt out at any time. The customer is charged up to $50.00 if they do not return the snapshot device to Progressive should they decide not to engage in the program after receiving it.
Snapshot is currently available in 45 states plus the District of Columbia. Because insurance is regulated at the state level, Snapshot is currently not available in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and North Carolina. Most recently, Snapshot became available in Indiana in May 2015.
On December 13, 2006, the company said earnings rose 58 percent in November as the company retained more of the premiums it collected because of comparisons to a month affected by Hurricane Katrina claims.
In January 2008, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Cleveland Indians, was renamed Progressive Field. Progressive signed a 16-year contract for the naming rights, as well as sponsorship rights to become the Official Auto Insurer of the Cleveland Indians. The agreement costs around $3.6 million per year. (Mayfield Village, Ohio, where the company is based, is a suburb of Cleveland.)
In March 2008, Progressive announced its title sponsorship of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE and their funding of the $10 million prize purse. The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build, and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles.
- Progressive has been the Title Sponsor of the International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) since 2010.
- Progressive has been the Title Sponsor of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, SD since 2017.
- Bikes, Blues and BBQ: Title Sponsor, 2015 - Current
- The Handbuilt Bike Show: Presenting Sponsor, 2018 - Current
- Laconia Motorcycle Week: Title Sponsor, 2012 - Current
- Leesburg Bikefest: Presenting Sponsor, 2014 - Current
- Motoblot: Presenting Sponsor, 2015 - Current
- Ohio Bike Week: Title Sponsor, 2016–Present
Progressive has been the Title Sponsor of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) boat shows since 2012, and will maintain title sponsorship through at least 2022.
- Fred Hall Shows: Title Sponsor, 2016–Present
- LEMTA (Lake Erie Marine Trades Association): Title Sponsor, 2016–Present
- Hay Days: Official Insurance Sponsor, 2018 - Current
- Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show: Official Insurance Sponsor, 2014 - Current
In 2002, the company settled with the State of Georgia in a class action lawsuit over diminished value claims brought by policyholders. Five years later, the company apologized after it was revealed they hired private investigators to infiltrate a church group and pose as congregation members to collect information on litigants seeking redress from the company. Another lawsuit was filed by the litigants over the affair against the company for invasion of privacy and fraud.
In 2009, Progressive was sued for allegedly deceiving policyholders by employing illegally operated, unlicensed body shops to make repairs on vehicles for their clients in order to save money. The court ruled in the company's favor on two of the counts and the other four were dropped, pending appeal.
Also in 2009, the company was accused of ordering their advertisements off the air during the show broadcast of Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel over comments made about President Obama. Progressive responded that they never authorized their ads to be aired during Beck's program and that they aired in that timeslot due to Fox's error.
In 2012, the company was widely criticized online for how it handled the claims filed by the family of Kaitlynn Fisher. The 24-year-old died when the car she was driving was hit by another that had run a red light in Baltimore. Progressive fought to avoid payment due to Fisher's estate. Fisher's insurance policy with Progressive included coverage in the event of an accident with an underinsured driver. The underinsured driver was found to be negligent in a jury trial brought by the Fisher family, with the Fisher family contending that Progressive provided legal assistance to the defense. In two followup statements, Progressive explained that they did not "serve as the attorney for the defendant in this case" and then clarified that "[a]s a defendant in this case, Progressive participated in the trial procedures on our own behalf." The company's position was that fault for the accident had not been clearly established, since three witnesses (the driver of the other car, that car's passenger, and Ms. Fisher's passenger) believed that Fisher had run a red light, and filed a motion to intervene to assert that she had been at fault, and therefore was not liable to pay the underinsured motorist claim. The lawyer for the Fisher family countered by noting that two of the three witnesses were not independent, saying "I have an issue with how they examined the evidence to abandon their insured" and introduced the idea the state insurance commissioner could find Progressive had acted in bad faith. As noted, Progressive lost the case and was ordered to pay the underinsured motorist claim in addition to a separate settlement with the Fisher family "to avoid a hearing before the state insurance commissioner".
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