In this article, we will take a look at comments made in Warren Buffett’s 2010 annual letter regarding GEICO’s valuation and examine potential implications for the intrinsic value of Progressive, GEICO’s most fierce competitor. Read this article for more details.
J.D. Power released its 2010 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study (pdf) today and found that overall consumer satisfaction with insurance companies declined in 2010 after peaking in 2009. Overall satisfaction averages 777 on a 1,000 point scale which represents a decrease of ten points from 2009. The study measures consumer satisfaction across five factors: interaction, policy offerings, billing and payment, price, and claims. The main factor that led to the 2010 decline in satisfaction was due to price increases, which was reported by 22 percent of customers. Read this article for more details.
Progressive has introduced a new discount program designed to offer lower auto insurance premiums to drivers who have favorable risk profiles. The idea of offering discounts to drivers who do not use their cars for commuting or drive very rarely is nothing new. Auto insurers have been surveying customers for years regarding such habits. However, Progressive’s new program is not based on subjective self reporting. The company will monitor driver behavior using an electronic device.
Last week, we took a brief look at Berkshire Hathaway’s loss estimation accuracy over the past ten years. As we noted in the article, the process of estimating the ultimate losses resulting from an insurance company’s business is one of the most important tasks facing management. In the case of Berkshire Hathaway, many types of policies expose the company to liabilities that will develop over a very long period of time. Therefore, the ultimate payout to policyholders can vary significantly from management’s original estimate. Read this article for a look at Progressive’s loss estimation accuracy.
It’s war on the television screen. On one side you have GEICO’s Gecko and the famously maligned Caveman. On the other side is Flo, the hyper enthusiastic Progressive sales clerk. It’s hard to escape these characters during sporting events or prime time as they try to win market share through a combination of amusing brand building characters and claims of lower prices. Read this article for a look at how these companies matched up from a financial perspective in 2009.