Meet Eric: from the islands to the mainland

By on April 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Posted in: Claims, Sales and Service, Working at GEICO

As the community manager for GEICO’s Associates & Alumni group on LinkedIn, I get to “meet” co-workers in other locations who I wouldn’t normally see. Eric is one of them. After reading his career progression at GEICO on his profile, I picked up the phone and gave him a call.

Here is his GEICO story …      

EricFEric F., MBA and Six Sigma black belt candidate

GEICO associate since 2005

How did you learn about careers at GEICO?

I had graduated from the University of the Pacific with a B.A. in psychology and read an ad in the Honolulu Advertiser. I started my career in our Hawaii office as a customer service representative, and then transferred to our San Diego office to work in the claims department.

What do you do at GEICO?

Prior to being a black belt candidate, I was a supervisor in our claims department. Today, I analyze business processes and manage projects designed to improve our operations. I’m also responsible for teaching Lean Six Sigma classes to other associates in my location.  

How have you made a difference at GEICO?

By encouraging members of my team to step outside of their comfort zones and strive to be the best they can be. It’s rewarding to see former employees promoted up through the ranks and pursuing their passions.

What’s the most innovative project you’ve worked on so far? 

Right now, my team is working to optimize and expand our claims self-service options by utilizing the GEICO mobile app. When we are done, I’m going to push for a Maxwell the Pig commercial to talk about our changes!

If you could tell someone one thing about GEICO, what would it be? 

GEICO is always looking for ways to improve. We’re a focused organization and it’s inspiring to be challenged every day.

What is your favorite moment at GEICO? 

I had the opportunity to hear Warren Buffett speak during the recent financial crisis and it was very interesting to hear his perspective as such a historical event was unfolding.

Many of our associates start their GEICO careers in a representative role. If you are looking for a company that offers professional development and career advancement, GEICO could be the right place for you. We’re hiring representatives in sales, claims and customer service. Learn more at www.geico.jobs.

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IT@GEICO: ‘Challenging, ambitious and innovative’

By on April 18, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

Welcome back to the IT @ GEICO series. Today, I want to introduce you to one of our information technology associates who is leading projects that assist millions of customers. Let’s meet Catherine—an International Studies major turned IT pro—who describes her work as “challenging, ambitious and innovative.”

GEICO IT associateCatherine L., lead programmer analyst

GEICO associate since 1997, U. of Vermont alumna

What do you do at GEICO?

I lead a team of developers, architects and analysts as we implement new enhancements and maintain existing features of GEICO’s service application, which is used by our customer service representatives and customers.

What’s the most innovative project you’ve worked on?

It would be Single Sign-On for our customers which we implemented late last year. Our customers now have a single account with one set of log-in credentials for all of their GEICO-affiliated policies. This moves our company in the direction of client-level interactions, rather than policy-centric interaction.

What type of technologies do you use?

I started my career as a mainframe developer using COBOL, CICS and JCL. I then moved to coding in SmallTalk and using object-oriented principles. As a developer in the Internet Business Unit, I used Java and Blaze. Now as a lead, I’ve been exposed to jBPM, web services, JSF, XForms, Splunk and Wily.

How have you made a difference here?

In addition to the project work, I’ve done a lot of mentoring and coaching my peers, as well as direct and indirect reports. It’s very gratifying when I can help others understand technology and achieve more.

If you could tell someone one thing about GEICO, what would it be?

GEICO values its employees. There are many opportunities and classes that allow people to drive their own careers. I began as an entry-level programmer on the mainframe and moved to working with object-oriented technologies, and moved up from senior programmer to lead.

Working in IT @ GEICO offers the ability to utilize the latest technologies and work with innovative teams. You will learn a lot, be challenged and can build a lasting IT career. Learn more and apply today at geico.jobs/IT.

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Not looking for a desk job? Attend a GEICO adjuster job fair.

By on April 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Posted in: Working at GEICO

auto damage adjusterWhat is an “adjuster?” What do they do? At a very high level, adjusters deliver on GEICO’s promise to “be there” after an accident or a natural disaster. Recently, I visited with some of GEICO’s auto damage adjusters, and was impressed by the passion and professionalism with which they help our customers.

We’re currently hiring auto damage trainees, as well as experienced adjusters and associates for our Management Development Program. There are opportunities all across the United States for field adjusters (think company car and servicing a territory), Auto Repair Xpress adjusters who work within local collision centers, and drive-thru location adjusters who assist customers whose cars are safe to drive.

If you’re looking for a never-boring, fast-paced career that allows you to interact with customers, negotiate, solve problems and make a difference, auto damage could be the right place for you. Learn more by attending one of these upcoming career fairs.

Auto Damage Career Events

How to Prepare

Job seekers are encouraged to apply online a day or two prior to one of the listed events. Also, we recommend that you research GEICO and the Auto Damage role; you’ll find lots of information at our Careers site on geico.com. You’ll find career path and training information, as well as a video via geico.jobs/AD. Bring your resume and dress to impress!

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GEICO and Talladega Superspeedway: the new shake and bake

By on April 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications

GEICO 500Guest Blogger: Alex Danoff, Public Relations

If Will Ferrell ever hits the racetrack to reprise his role as Ricky Bobby in a sequel to the hit 2006 movie, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” the GEICO Gecko just might have a starring role.

GEICO and Talladega Speedway have announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at NASCAR’s celebrated speedway in Talladega will now be known as the GEICO 500. Talladega Superspeedway, which is the biggest of NASCAR’s race tracks and also offers the most acreage for camping and vehicle parking, will host GEICO 500 weekend Oct. 17-19, 2014.

And while GEICO had previously sponsored various campgrounds around Talladega Superspeedway, the new partnership will also make GEICO the Official Auto, RV, Motorcycle and Powersports Insurance Provider of Talladega Superspeedway. GEICO has been a mainstay in NASCAR in recent years with its sponsorship of Germain Racing and driver Casey Mears, as well as its sponsorship of the GEICO 400 at Chicago Speedway from 2011-2013.

So NASCAR fans, mark your calendars and get ready to cheer alongside the Gecko this fall in Talladega. Just be sure to keep an eye out for that pesky Jean Girard; he gets cranky when the other drivers spill his macchiato.

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Meet Thea, dedicated to developing GEICO’s future leaders

By on April 10, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Posted in: Working at GEICO

TheaJHave you ever met someone that you could just listen to for hours, and continue to learn and be inspired? For me, one of those people at GEICO is Thea, our director of management development.

Here is her GEICO story …

Thea J., director of management development

GEICO associate since 1985

What do you do at GEICO?

My current position is director of management development. In this role, I have responsibility for GEICO’s Emerging Leaders Program, which prepares new associates for management-level positions. Additionally, I lead and direct companywide diversity training initiatives and corporate mentoring, and I participate in talent management initiatives.

Can you tell us about your career path?

I started as a sales counselor and did that job for about one year. Originally, I was planning to stay at GEICO for two years until I figured out what I really wanted to do.

Then, I was offered a position to train new sales and service associates, as well as to lead executive training sessions. After that, I was a senior management training & development specialist before transitioning to HR to lead management development.

As a hiring manager for the Emerging Leaders Program, what do you look for?

Mostly, I look for well-rounded people. We are very interested in hiring candidates who have demonstrated strong academic skills, leadership experiences, participation in extracurricular activities, emotional intelligence and self-awareness, analytical skills, drive and intellectual curiosity, a strong work ethic, and an ability to work well with others. Being well-rounded is a key component to being successful during and after our program.

How have you made a difference at GEICO?

I’ve had a lot of opportunity to impact a lot of people in very positive ways. I’d like to think that, through our development efforts, I’ve contributed to the organization having stronger leaders. Along with others, I’ve also helped keep diversity, mentoring and development in the forefront of people’s minds. The work we do here has been very gratifying. There is nothing better than seeing people reach their full potential.

29 years is a long time. What is it about GEICO that keeps you here?

The associates at GEICO are just terrific! I have really enjoyed the relationships I have developed over the years with my fellow GEICO associates in all locations! GEICO’s work environment has also provided me the opportunity to do challenging and important work and to make contributions that improve our workforce. I have enjoyed all of the different areas I have been involved in during my career. Additionally, we have a very collegial work environment, one that is respectful of people’s differences and encourages people to do their best. I’ve been give many opportunities to do what I love and that’s why, 29 years later, I am still here.

What has been your all-time, favorite moment at GEICO?

I don’t just have one favorite moment at GEICO. I get to work with amazing people and so my favorite moments (if I can have more than one) are when I am talking with my associates and helping them develop in some way, and seeing them move into positions of greater responsibility.

If you could tell someone one thing about GEICO, what would it be?

If you like a challenge, are a hard worker, and want to have lots of opportunities to be successful, then this is the company for you.

For more than 12 years, GEICO has hired driven, bright early careerists into our Emerging Leaders Program. We offer two tracks – IT and Operations Management. If you are looking for an opportunity to be challenged, mentored and inspired, this may be the program for you. Learn more at geico.jobs/oncampus.

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IT @ GEICO: Driving to be the best in the industry

By on April 8, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

EDistlerWelcome back to the IT @ GEICO series. Today, we’ll meet Eric, a Hoosier who first joined the team after graduating with a degree in Informatics. He began his career in the IT track of our Emerging Leaders Program and today is leading new development efforts for the geico.com claims website.

Eric D., lead application systems analyst
GEICO associate since 2006, Indiana University alum

Some people might not consider GEICO a tech company. What would you say to them?

GEICO was founded on the idea of utilizing a direct channel to sell and service insurance. The Internet is an extremely effective way for our customers to reach us 24/7. Every week, nearly 800,000 people get an online quote and 200,000 customers visit our claims website. Every day, it seems, we find new ways to provide better service using technology!

What programming languages/technologies do you use?

.NET and Java, and we are looking for more people with these skills to join our teams.

What is the “coolest” project that you have worked on?

My very first project was the digital upload project. Before the implementation, customers had to mail or fax photos and documents to GEICO in order for them to be attached to their claim file.

This project allowed customers to sign on to geico.com and upload accident photos and electronic documents, and in turn they were placed directly on the claim file and available for a claims representative to review. While a relatively mainstream concept today, GEICO was one of the first insurance companies to offer this functionality back in 2006.

What do you like most about your job?

Each day offers a new challenge … what makes it rewarding are the people who work here and the projects that drive us to be the best company in the industry.

What is your favorite GEICO moment?

My favorite GEICO moment was when Warren Buffett made a surprise appearance, shortly after he announced a large donation to charity. I will always remember what he said when asked why he chose to donate his money to charity. “This money always belonged to the people, I have just been very good at managing it for them, and now after all these years, I’m giving it back to the people.”

Do you want to drive change using technology? Working in IT @ GEICO offers the ability to utilize the latest technologies and work with innovative teams. You will learn a lot, be challenged and can build a lasting IT career. Learn more and apply today at geico.jobs/IT.

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Use hoops fervor to improve your financial plan

By on April 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications

Basketball above basket.Considering the upsets in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there’s a good chance your bracket isn’t going to win you a billion dollars, or any amount close to that. But don’t let those upsets ruin your financial plan.

The kind of analysis that helped you determine which team will win this year’s tournament can also be used to get your financial house in order. According to Chuck Thoele, a Dallas-based financial planner and author of Bulls, Bears and Basketball, simply apply your knowledge of the game to help recognize the winners and losers in your financial portfolio.

In the April edition of GEICO Now online, we take a closer look at Thoele’s advice and offer up some great sports analogies that relate to sound investment strategies. It’s a unique twist to financial planning we think you’ll enjoy.

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GEICO announces plans to open fast food restaurant chain

By on April 1, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications

GeckosFifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance. Everybody knows that.

And soon, 1.5 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on your breakfast burrito. 

Later this year, GEICO will open “Gecko’s,” a new chain of fast-food restaurants across the U.S. with the same values as our insurance products: big savings and fast, reliable 24/7 service.

“We know our insurance customers like saving time and money,” said Aryew C. Ryuss, the new vice president of the Gecko’s restaurant division, “and everyone has to eat, so the next logical step for our brand was to expand into fast food.”

For added convenience, customers will be able to pay with the GEICO App and policyholders will be able to earn food rewards for safe driving. There’s something for the kids too. All kid’s meals will feature toys of our famous icons, like the Gecko and Maxwell.

While the menu is still being developed, we’ve already hinted at one of the items in the recent Cheesesteak Shuffle commercial.

Are you excited about “Gecko’s” restaurants? What do you want to see on the menu? Tell us in the comments!

Please note: Although writing this article made me hungry, it’s not a true story … because it’s April Fool’s Day. You can still get a taste of products we actually do offer at  geico.com. Happy April 1!

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Memory of the Month: Racks of records

By on March 25, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

TapeLibraryEach month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to exercise your caption-writing skills.

This mid-1970s photo shows how GEICO stored policy records and other company information as it moved into the computer age. These IBM 3420 tape drives held about 120 megabytes of data. But converting from paper files to this type of data storage was a lengthy process; when I started at GEICO in 1984, we still had large areas of the headquarters building devoted to racks of policy papers in folders, in addition to racks of these storage tapes.

And it would be many years after that before these types of tapes went completely out of use – in 2004, to be exact. We still use tape storage, but our preferred tape these days is the 3592 JA, each one of which holds 1.5 terabytes of data. It would take 12,500 of the 3420 tapes seen here to store as much information as one of the 3592s! We still need shelf space for the 3592 tapes, but a whole lot less of it than we used to need.

Here’s another way to look at how far we’ve come: When I showed this photo to my pal Bob, who has worked in IT here for many moons, he said, “My cell phone has more storage than one of these magnetic data storage tapes.”

Data storage is just one example of the amazing technological progress we’ve seen over the last 40 years. Come to think of it, cell phones are another. Can you think of others? Share them in the comments.

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From mail room to regional vice president

By on March 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Posted in: Claims, Working at GEICO

By David Smith, guest blogger, corporate communications

George Rogers 2 mdGEICO was a magnet for a young George Rogers. The eager Bethesda, Md., native grew up just two miles from the corporate office, and he began sorting mail and hustling policy files as a part-time associate in 1969, while he was still in high school.

Rogers later moved into a full-time claims examiner job after starting college and was quick to embrace the company’s culture and its great potential. “I grew up wanting to be an oceanographer, but I realized early on that I was with a great company and loved the people I worked with.”

He never turned down an opportunity to learn, grow and share his experience. From regional liability director to assistant vice president for claims in Macon in 1993, he rose to become GEICO’s chief claims officer in 1997. Next came the regional vice presidency in Dallas in 2000, then Lakeland in 2002. He was elected to GEICO’s board of directors in 1997.

“My career advice,” Rogers said, “is to excel at every job opportunity you are given; maintain the attitude, drive and desire that others envy; and always continue to self-develop through both formal and experiential learning opportunities.”

In claims, he developed his analytical, decision-making and customer-service skills. As a systems manager, his planning and project-management talents were sharpened. ”From all my time in management, at every level and up through this day,” he said, “I have been blessed to be around great associates and GEICO leaders from whom I have learned so very much.”

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