By Shannon Smedstad on April 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM
The second post in our “Executive Q & A” series features Rick Hoagland , a graduate of The College of William and Mary with a finance degree. Like many members of our leadership team, Rick started at GEICO in an entry-level position, as a telephone claims representative. He progressed through various claims and manager-level positions, taking advantage of many opportunities to further his knowledge and advance his career. He was elected assistant vice president of claims in 2009 and vice president in 2012, and was recently promoted to regional vice president of our Buffalo, N.Y., office.
To what do you attribute your career success?
Early on in my career, I recognized that GEICO rewards those who work hard and focus on being the best in their current job. Don’t spend too much time worrying about the next job; you will never get there unless you get results in your current job.
When you reflect upon your GEICO career, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud of seeing those who I have mentored and worked closely with continue to advance and meet their own career objectives. It is exciting to see others grow and take on more responsibilities.
Many people don’t consider insurance to be an exciting industry to work in. What would you say to convince them otherwise?
Quite honestly, I don’t think that anyone says, “I want to work in insurance when I grow up.” A career at GEICO is about exceeding our customers’ needs by providing a product that saves them money and by being there when they need us the most. It’s more than just being a representative, but rather an insurance professional. Many of our positions require that our associates obtain licenses issued by the states in which we do business.
If you could describe GEICO using three words, what would they be?
How about eight? Committed to saving customers money without sacrificing service.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Be honest with yourself on your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure that you understand the areas for improvement and tackle them now, so that at they don’t become a barrier to taking on more responsibility in the future.
If there was ONE thing you’d want job seekers to know about GEICO, what would it be?
Successful companies possess two unique traits: They’re built on solid business models that are hard to replicate and they continue to identify more efficient ways to meet customers’ needs for products or services. Starting a career with a company that possesses these traits will provide you with long-term stability and advancement opportunities. GEICO possesses these traits.
Do you have a favorite GEICO moment?
While meeting Warren Buffett the first time would sound more interesting, I really enjoy participating in the numerous recognition ceremonies that we hold for our top performers. It is great to see how many GEICO associates consistently excel at delivering great service.
What’s your favorite GEICO commercial?
I have had many over the years, but I really like the new “happier than” series. The antelopes with the night vision goggles, the witch in the broom factory, and the most recent, Pillsbury Doughboy on his way to a baking convention, are worth watching every time!
Are you looking for a company that offers outstanding advancement potential? GEICO is one of the country’s largest and fastest-growing auto insurers, and has a long history of rewarding performance and promoting from within. You can learn more about careers at GEICO by visiting our career site and watching our associate videos.