On Monday, at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new GEICO customer service center in Carmel, two business legends made an appearance at this event. The first was the famous green gecko, and the other legend is none other than billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
On March 18 of 2013, GEICO announced that it was going to open a new service Center at 101 W. 103rd Street. This new service center will bring around 1200 new jobs to Indianapolis. Warren Buffett joined Mike Pence, Governor, and other important GEICO business executives that same morning.
“I’ve been associated with GEICO for more than 25% of the country’s history,” mentioned business icon Warren Buffett to reporters, community leaders, business leaders and a whole host of GEICO employees wearing their blue and green polo shirts.
Buffett mentions that even though GEICO is owned by his holding company Berkshire Hathaway, his history with this car insurance company goes all the way back to the year 1951. He was a student at the time in Columbia University in New York.
His mentor and professor, Benjamin Graham, invested in Government Employees Insurance Company at the time. Graham helped Buffett develop his interest in the insurance business. His interest became so strong that at 20 years old, he jumped on a train to the company’s Washington DC headquarters on a Saturday to learn more from the insurance company higher-ups.
Buffett is now the second richest man in America. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is the only American with more money. Buffett began purchasing shares of GEICO soon after his visit to Washington DC.
Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett have a wide variety of investments. They have recently been investing in small newspapers around the country, and he even owns Dairy Queen. Berkshire Hathaway even has a corporate presence in Indiana as well.
They also own the agricultural systems manufacturer CBT International Corp. based in Milford, Fort Wayne liability insurance provider Medical Protective Co. and Forest River Inc. in Elkhart, an RV manufacturer.
In 2011, Warren Buffett also donated money toward the $26 million redevelopment of the Meadows neighborhood, the historic site on the northeast side.
“Obviously, we like Indiana,” said Buffett to the reporters interviewing him at the ceremony.
As of now, the GEICO facility in Carmel currently employs 260 support staff, trainers and insurance agencies.
The 26-year-old Anderson resident Eric Ludington became a service trainer this past April. He read that there were many opportunities for advancement within the company.
“There’s a lot of room for growth,” he said. “It’s a great thing for the city.”
Buffett was also asked how the company will collectively contribute to the financial health of the Carmel community. He mentioned 10 other GEICO service centers, and talks about how they are a testament to how GEICO typically becomes enmeshed in a city’s economy.
“We’re not going to go anyplace,” said Buffett. “If we’re located in Indianapolis, in Washington or wherever it may be, we’re there for keeps, and we’ll just keep adding people.”