The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies (Progressive) is one of the most popular insurance brands in the US. The insurance juggernaut claims to be the third largest auto insurer and the number one motorcycle/specialty RV insurer in the country. Progressive rubs shoulders with firms like State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, and Farmers Insurance Group, and writes more than 13 million auto policies per year.
Though best known for driving innovation in the personal auto market, Progressive also writes commercial auto and a number of other personal lines risks, including homeowners’ insurance. The firm sells insurance directly to the consumer or via independent agents. Progressive’s Agency business sells through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies across the US.
Progressive Insurance: through history
Progressive was born on March 10, 1937, when Joseph Lewis and Jack Green set up Progressive Mutual Insurance Company to provide vehicle owners with security and protection. The pair were both lawyers and thought starting an insurance company might be a good investment. Fast forward 80 years and their bet seems to have paid off.
True to its name, Progressive is all about finding innovative ways to improve the auto insurance industry. It became the first auto insurer to offer drive-in claims service, and later the first company to allow clients to pay premiums in installments as opposed to annual payments.
In the 1950s, successful growth prompted a move to brand new offices in downtown Cleveland. Following the death of Joseph Lewis in 1955, Jack Green became Progressive CEO and Joseph’s son Peter began the start of a fruitful career with the firm. He immediately looked for ways to further differentiate Progressive in the marketplace. His efforts led to the establishment of Progressive Casualty Company in 1956, a unit formed to write auto insurance for high-risk drivers.
Further growth and expansion in the early 1960s resulted in the formation of The Progressive Corporation in 1965. Peter Lewis was named CEO in the same year, and he held the top position for 35-years until Glenn Renwick took over in 2000. Renwick was succeeded by current CEO and president Tricia Griffith in 2016.
Progressive Insurance: embracing the internet
Progressive was the first major auto insurer in the world to launch a website. In a revolutionary move, the site was born in 1995, and by 1996 consumers could obtain comparison rates online. Just one year later, consumers were able to buy Progressive auto insurance policies online in real time.
In 2018, the insurer now has a thriving direct-to-consumer business, which is supported by a number of 24/7 digital tools, including: online policy service and management, online claims reporting, rate ticker (a comparison tool), independent agent locator, chatbots, and an instant quoting service.
Progressive Insurance: product lines
Progressive is best known for its auto insurance products, but the firm offers solutions for a vast range of personal and commercial risks. Its impressive book includes, but is not limited to: car insurance, condo insurance, boat insurance, pet insurance, home insurance, RV insurance, renters’ insurance, motorcycle insurance, life insurance, commercial insurance, and insurance bundles.
Progressive Insurance: distribution method
Progressive has been building solid partnerships with the independent agent channel for more than 75 years. The firm claims to be the number one writer of auto insurance policies through independent insurance agents. In 2018, Progressive works with approximately 38,000 agents and brokers from thousands of agencies across the US.
Despite supporting the independent agent channel, Progressive has never been one to shy away from innovation. The insurer offers a number of direct purchase options and programs to meet evolving customer needs.
What is Progressive looking for in a new independent agent partner?
Information shared on Progressive’s website states: “You need to have an agency license in good standing with the Department of Insurance in the state where you plan to write business, an active agency P&C Errors & Omissions policy with minimum aggregate limits of $300,000. Also, during this process we’ll also conduct a criminal background check on your agency - it’s how we ensure every Progressive customer has the best experience possible.”
Who is Flo?
Anyone in the US with a television has likely seen Flo selling Progressive insurance on their screens at some point in the past decade. Since 2008, the fictional salesperson has featured in more than 100 television commercials for the insurance giant. She’s known as an extremely enthusiastic and helpful insurance salesperson, recognized for her upbeat personality, heavy makeup, and retro hairstyle. Flo is also popular on social media, amassing millions of likes on her Facebook page and many followers on Twitter.