Working at GEICO, as seen through the eyes of a digital designer

By on October 2, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

Drenckhahn_ToniToni Drenckhan immediately became interested in GEICO the day she met the woman who would become her boss, Carolyn Tran, at a recruitment event at Rochester Institute of Technology. At the event, Carolyn told Toni about “the dynamic of the digital experience team with designers, researchers and developers working together to create a complete experience for our customers”.

Toni applied, was hired and has been with GEICO a little more than a year. Her team “works within GEICO to assist application teams with customer-facing digital experiences.” GEICO’s digital designers analyze requests and create solutions that provide customers with the best experience possible.

“Our team offers a variety of services,” Toni said, “such as user experience research and testing, designing Web pages and assisting with the development of those pages.”

After collecting all the information she needs, Toni starts working on possible design solutions. She works closely with a UX (user experience) designer or researcher to flesh out the ideas and test them to make sure she is on the right track. Lastly, she creates mock-ups using GEICO’s design kit. These mock-ups show what the page will look like when developed. If her clients like what they see, Toni creates a prototype to do further testing.

I concluded the interview by asking Toni how she would respond to a student or grad who was interested in career opportunities at GEICO.

“Go for it!” she exclaimed. “GEICO is a place where you can grow and learn regardless of which job you have. My lead is an awesome mentor, and I am constantly being challenged to do the best. It’s also cool that there’s always room to move around within GEICO – some of the people on our team started on the phones and found their way to our team!”

Learn more about GEICO’s IT team on our career site and the following videos: GEICO’s IT internship and Working in IT at GEICO.

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The Gecko goes gaming!

By on September 30, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications, On the Web

By Guest Blogger Sarah StegallPAX Prime

GEICO enters the world of e-sports! Much like football, basketball or baseball, gaming also has teams to root for and, believe it or not, this genre can be just as exciting. GEICO recently sponsored Team SoloMid (TSM, one of the top e-sports teams in North America) at one of the largest gaming events of the year, PAX Prime, which took place in Seattle, Washington, late last month.

PAX Prime, created in 2004 by Penny Arcade, is similar to Comic Con, but specifically geared towards the gaming industry. If you’re a gamer, imagine yourself and 70,000 like-minded folks filling an entire convention center. Pretty sweet!

GEICO held an online tournament that centered on the game Hearthstone, with the final showdown taking place at PAX Prime. When the dust settled, one of our TSM competitors emerged in second place! And of course, GEICO won by being there to interact with the gamer community throughout the four days of the event.

The Gecko tells me he had a blast hanging with the gamers, so you can bet we’ll be seeing more gaming in our future.

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Memory of the Month: Punch it up

By on September 29, 2015 at 9:44 AM

Posted in: Working at GEICO

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

data punch cardsIf I were to mention punch cards to the average young person today, he or she would likely think:

  1. “Oh, good; a frequent-customer card I can use at (fill in name of current trendy food/beverage place here)!”
  2. “Great; which way is the punch bowl?”

Or, if the young person’s maybe not so young, or is familiar with data processing history:

  1. “Dang, this guy’s even older than he looks!”

I have a dim recollection of a computer class I took in high school in the early 1970s, in which we used punch cards to get the gigantic machine to perform some very rudimentary functions. Looks like the gentleman in this photo is up to much the same sort of task, back in GEICO’s data processing infancy – probably around the same time I was taking that high school class.

It all seems pretty primitive now. No doubt the desktop computer I’m using to type this post – not to mention my cell phone – has many times the processing power that GEICO used for its entire IT operation back then. But once upon a time, kids, punch cards were critical to data processing, and woe unto you if you happened to drop a set like this guy’s holding up and got them out of order!

What do you suppose this fellow is thinking? Let us know in the comments.

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’Tis the season for recruiting

By on September 25, 2015 at 2:40 PM

Posted in: Working at GEICO

Tucson RecruitersThe fall semester is here and GEICO recruiters are busy visiting campuses across the country looking for bright, driven students and grads to join our growing team!

Our recruiters seek qualified candidates for a variety of positions including IT, analyst, actuary, sales, customer service, claims and auto damage. We also offer leadership and development opportunities for recent grads that include our Emerging Leaders, Management Development and Technology Development Programs.

If you are interested in GEICO but aren’t sure how you can use your degree, check out our “How Your Major Fits’ page on our career site. There are many different kinds of majors listed and recommended GEICO positions, too!

Have a great fall semester and be sure to check out our events calendar to see if a GEICO recruiter will be visiting your campus! If you don’t see your campus on the list, please reach out to one of our many recruiters; they would be happy to connect and discuss GEICO opportunities with you!

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Imagine if movie car-crash scenes generated insurance claims

By on September 22, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Posted in: Odds & Ends

ПечатьWho doesn’t love an epic car chase scene from one of their favorite movies? Cars crashing and getting blown up seems to strike a chord with many moviegoers. In some of Hollywood’s top-grossing film franchises, such as the “Fast and Furious” series of movies, this has been a common theme.

But which movies have destroyed the most cars? I did some research and identified the most car-unfriendly movies. Transformers 3 (532 cars destroyed), Matrix Reloaded (300 cars destroyed) and Fast & Furious 5 (260 cars destroyed) lead the way.

Now, imagine what it would cost if every one of those destroyed vehicles generated an insurance claim. Picture an army of insurance adjusters descending on the movie set to inspect wrecked cars after the car-crash scenes were filmed. The average settlement on a totaled vehicle is about $8,440. So if you do the math, you see that the settlement amounts for all the total losses in the aforementioned movies would be upwards of $4.49 million for Transformers 3, more than $2.53 million for Matrix Reloaded, and nearly $2.2 million for Fast & Furious 5.

Just a little something to keep in mind next time you’re at the movies watching the cars pile up.

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‘Never tell me the odds!’

By on September 17, 2015 at 10:24 AM

Posted in: Odds & Ends

LeoAny Star Wars fan worth his light saber recognizes that quote from Han Solo. As he’s preparing to take the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid field to escape Imperial fighters, Solo hears from the helpful droid C-3PO that the odds against successfully navigating through an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1, and Solo responds with this memorable phrase.

We’re celebrating Founders Day at GEICO this month, and we can easily imagine our founder, Leo Goodwin, speaking similar words as he prepared to launch his insurance company in the mid-1930s, with the deck stacked against him. The Great Depression was hardly a fertile environment in which to grow a new company. And with the agency model dominating the insurance industry, Goodwin was determined to operate his business as a direct response company, primarily by mail, without agents.

Goodwin was not a young man, either; he was a 48-year-old widower with a 12-year-old son who gave up a secure, salaried position at USAA to pursue his dream. He didn’t have the money to get his company off the ground by himself; he had to enlist the backing of Texas banker Cleaves Rhea, who put up most of the money to launch Government Employees Underwriters, headquartered in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1934.

Goodwin handled operations, and by mid-1935, it was clear to both men that the company needed to move to Washington, D.C., closer to the highest concentration of its potential customers, preferred-risk government employees. After changing the company name to Government Employees Insurance Association, Goodwin prepared to move the enterprise to the nation’s capital – but first, he took on a partner – his new wife, Lillian, who had been USAA’s head bookkeeper.

After establishing the new headquarters, Goodwin changed the name of his company one final time; on Sept. 1, 1936, Government Employees Insurance Company – the GEICO with which we’re all familiar today – was born. The Goodwins (and their two-person staff) worked hard to ensure the fledgling company’s survival, handling all the day-to-day affairs of the company while the Rhea family tended to the investments.

By the end of 1936, GEICO had 3,754 policies in force and premiums of $103,700 – and a dozen employees. Those numbers would more than double over the next year, and GEICO was on its way to becoming the giant of the industry that it is today. But none of it would have happened if Leo hadn’t ignored the odds and steered his ship right into that asteroid field!

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Bringing smiles, one bike at a time

By on September 14, 2015 at 10:26 AM

Posted in: Odds & Ends, Working at GEICO

LexiebeanCheckAh, the excitement of getting a new bike – there’s just nothing quite like it, whether you’re a youngster getting a two-wheeler or a big kid getting your first Harley. Through a partnership with The Lexiebean Foundation, GEICO brought the magic of a new bike to dozens of kids fighting cancer and their families at our Long Island office.

LexiebeanBikesOur Long Island team enlisted several of GEICO’s partner body shops in New York to help. The shops customized many of the bikes with cool paint jobs like a Gecko theme (who doesn’t love our mascot?), Minions and an Army design.

And, no event at GEICO is complete without a little friendly competition! Our Long Island associates voted on the best custom designs for the bikes, and top honors went to Finest Collision Center, Freeport Collision and Collision Centers of Babylon.

LexieBeanBikeMore importantly, this event brought joy to a group of kids who could use a smile. “The gift of a brand new bike helps ease a lot of the stress that accompanies the rigors of a child’s cancer treatment,” said Joe Falabella, founder of The Lexiebean Foundation. “It’s a welcome break from all the doctors’ appointments and hospital stays so many have to face.”

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Celebrate the American worker this Monday

By on September 4, 2015 at 8:54 AM

Posted in: Odds & Ends

LaborDayLabor Day, like many another American holiday, is all about the great bargains you can get from retailers on all sorts of products, but only for a limited time, so get out there and buy!

That’s what the stores want you to believe, anyway. In fact, as the name suggests, Labor Day was created to recognize and celebrate American workers. As it says on the U.S. Department of Labor website, the holiday is “a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”

The big day was born in the Big Apple on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, thanks to New York’s Central Labor Union. Two years later, the CLU designated the first Monday in September as the holiday, and urged unions in other cities to follow suit. It was not a hard sell; by 1894, more than half the states in the nation were celebrating Labor Day, and that year Congress passed an act making Labor Day a national holiday.

From the beginning, the holiday featured parades, speeches and festivals for the enjoyment of workers and their families, and such observances continue to this day. For many of us, those “festivals” consist of backyard barbecues, one last dip in the pool and, OK, maybe a little bargain-hunting – pretty much anything EXCEPT working!

But that’s not the case for everyone. Somebody has to run those cash registers to sell you those bargain goods. And of course, many of my GEICO colleagues will be on the job throughout the weekend AND on Monday to fulfill our promise of 24-7-365 service.

But whether your Labor Day observations involve work or play, remember what it’s really all about, as noted by the U.S. Department of Labor:

“The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known, and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom and leadership — the American worker.”

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Custom Indian bike joins the GEICO fleet

By on September 2, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications

CustomIndianBikeThere’s always something special going on at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. For one thing, GEICO has a formidable presence there as sponsor of the rally and the nearby Buffalo Chip campground and concert venue. And this year’s rally in early August featured the unveiling of the GEICO Indian Chieftain motorcycle you see here, built by Roland Sands Designs (RSD), during Indian Motorcycle Night at the Buffalo Chip site.

This one-of-a-kind, old-style motorcycle features a pumped-up Indian engine, showcasing a few new Indian speed parts. The stock Chieftain gas tank has been modified to create a low and slimmer look that nearly blankets the motor. A custom RSD chrome chassis supports the 111-cubic-inch engine. The seat is custom-pressed by legendary skateboard maker Paul Schmitt and features a Fox Float air shock, and the RSD prototype engine covers round out the unique look.

As a biker myself, I’ll just say this: I’d love to take this baby for a ride!

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Memory of the Month: a piece of the pie

By on August 25, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Posted in: Working at GEICO

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

We’re a competitive bunch here at GEICO. We compete with our colleagues to earn the highest performance ratings possible. We compete against other work groups at GEICO to provide the best possible service to our customers. As I write this, I’m looking forward to competing with my teammates against other GEICO associates in the company softball league this evening.

As a company, of course, we compete against all the other insurers. When it was announced a year or two back that we’d overtaken Allstate to become the nation’s second-largest private passenger auto insurer, I don’t mind telling you that I felt a surge of pride. We weren’t even in the top five when I began my GEICO career in 1984, and Allstate’s piece of the insurance pie was several times larger than ours. I figured that, in the unlikely event we ever caught up, I’d be long-retired by then.

Competition keeps us sharp; it drives us to find new and better ways of doing what we do so we can get to the top and stay there. But competition can get messy, as this photo shows. Now, I like pie as much as the next person, but I prefer to eat mine with a fork – preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the same plate.

No doubt there was a significant prize to be won, or a worthy cause being supported through this pie-eating contest. What do you suppose the participants were thinking as they smashed their faces into the crust?

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