Top Ten Car Insurance Companies
Which companies insure the most drivers in the United States? Cut through the incessant commercial pitches and see what insurance companies actually claim the largest market share in the profitable world of automobile insurance. It will take you substantially less than 15 minutes...
1. State Farm - Market Share: 18.6%
Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm claims the top spot, insuring 18.6% of American drivers. Founded by retired farmer George J. Mecherle (1877-1951) in 1922, State Farm is a privately owned Fortune 500 company, employing over 17,700 agents in the United States and Canada. In addition to insurance, State Farm is also in the financial services business, offering bank accounts and mutual funds. The company's slogan, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there," was introduced in 1971. In its TV commercials State Farm drives home the point that it insures more drivers than anyone.
2. Allstate - Market Share: 10.5%
Northfield Township, Illinois-based Allstate captures 10.5% of the American car insurance market. A publicly traded company (NYSE: ALL), Allstate can trace its origins back to 1925 as an automobile tire outlet of the Sears, Roebuck & Co., which sold the new Allstate tires via their mail-order catalog and retail stores. In 1931, the Allstate Insurance Company was founded, with their first auto policy being issued on May 17 of that year. Like State Farm, Allstate is also in the financial services business, offering investment, retirement and banking products. The company's famous slogan, "You're in Good Hands with Allstate," was created by general sales manager David W. Ellis in 1950. Actor Dennis Haysbert currently serves as Allstate's highly-visible spokesman, with fellow actor Dean Winters playing a character named "Mayhem" in the company's TV commercials.
3. GEICO - Market Share: 8.2%
GEICO – an acronym for the Government Employees Insurance Company – insures 8.2% of American drivers. Headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, GEICO was founded in 1936 by former United Services Automobile Association (USAA) employee Leo Goodwin and his wife Lillian, who viewed federal government employees as a more stable (and profitable) pool for the insurance business. GEICO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway since 1996, is famous for its aggressive, nonstop marketing, which includes the popular gecko-type commercials. One of their advertising slogans – with various offshoots – is the oft-repeated, "Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance."
4. Progressive - Market Share: 7.5%
Mayfield Village, Ohio-based Progressive claims 7.5% of the American automobile insurance pie. Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) is a publicly traded Fortune 500 company, founded by Jack Green and Joe Lewis in 1937. The company has increased its visibility in recent years, most notably via a series of television commercials featuring actress Stephanie Courtney as a tacky character named "Flo." In 2008, the home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team was renamed Progressive Field, with the company also agreeing to become the title sponsor for the 2011 Progressive Gator Bowl in the college football postseason sweepstakes.
5. Farmers - Market Share: 6.4%
Los Angeles, California-based Farmers insures 6.4% of American drivers. Founded by Thomas E. Leavey and John C. Tyler in 1928, the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is owned by Zurich Financial Services, based in Zurich, Switzerland. The company, which originally catered to farmers and ranchers, issued its first automobile policy on March 28, 1928, insuring Charles Brisco's 1925 Cadillac Phaeton. In 2009, Farmers acquired 21st Century Insurance for $1.9 billion. Like its more visible competitors, Farmers advertises extensively on the airwaves, opting to go for a more entertaining approach in their recent TV commercials. And coming to Los Angeles in the future: Farmers Field, a new football stadium for an as of yet unsecured National Football League franchise.
6. Nationwide Mutual - Market Share: 4.5%
Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide claims 4.5% of the American automobile insurance business. Nationwide began business in 1926 as the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, initially underwriting car insurance policies for Ohio farmers only. In 1955, Farm Bureau Mutual changed its name to Nationwide, eventually spreading its wings throughout the country. In addition to insurance, Nationwide is also actively engaged in the highly lucrative financial services industry. Nationwide Arena is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League. Nationwide employs a popular national advertising campaign, with its slogan "Nationwide is on your side" leading the charge.
7. Liberty Mutual - Market Share: 4.4%
Boston, Massachusetts-based Liberty Mutual currently occupies the #7 position among American car insurers, capturing 4.4% of the market share. Liberty Mutual began business in 1912 as the Massachusetts Employees' Insurance Association, focusing on workman's compensation policies. In 1914, the company issued its first car insurance policy, later changing to its name to the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in 1917. In 2008, Liberty Mutual, which owns insurance entities in Brazil, India, Venezuela, Poland, Spain, Portugal and other countries, acquired Safeco for $6.2 billion. Like its top competitors, Liberty Mutual advertises extensively, with their slogan or offshoots thereof, "Responsibility. What's your policy," apparently resonating with the public. The company also sponsors the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament, which sparked the creation of the Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior PGA Tour.
8. USAA - Market Share: 4.1%
USAA – an acronym for United Services Automobile Association – claims 4.1% of the American auto insurance market. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, USAA was founded in 1922 by a group of U.S. Army officers who originally called the company the United States Army Automobile Association, focused on providing affordable car insurance to its fellow Army officers. Today, USAA is a privately owned Fortune 500 company, offering insurance and financial services to past and present members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. A so-called "niche" provider, USAA conducts most of its business via the Internet and telephone.
9. Travelers - Market Share: 2.1%
Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, Travelers insures 2.1% of America's drivers. A publicly owned Fortune 500 company, Travelers (NYSE: TRV) can trace its origins back to 1853 and the founding of the Saint Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company. In 1864, the Travelers brand was established in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2004, the St. Paul Companies and Travelers Property Casualty Co. merged, forming St. Paul Travelers. Travelers' longstanding symbol is a red umbrella, which began appearing in newspaper ads in 1870. The company conducts an extensive national advertising campaign and also sponsors the Travelers Championship golf tournament, formerly known as the Greater Hartford Open, on the PGA Tour.
10. American Family Mutual - Market Share: 2.0%
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Mutual claims 2.0% of the American car insurance market. Founded by insurance salesman Herman Wittwer, American Family Mutual began business in 1927 as the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company (not to be confused with today's Los Angeles-based Farmers), offering car insurance policies to farmers. A name change – to American Family Insurance Mutual Insurance Company – came in 1963, reflecting the company's broader focus. In addition to insurance, American Family also offers financial products. American Family conducts a national advertising campaign, using a tamer approach in its television commercials.
- The Insurance Information Institute of America