Progressive Drops ‘Drive’ Brand Name…Except in Calif.

February 23, 2007

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies today announced a change in its brand names for products sold through its agents. The company said it is putting the Progressive name first in the names of all of the products it sells to allow independent agents and brokers to capitalize on the power of the Progressive name–with one exception.

The Progressive Group’s agency subsidiary in California, Progressive West Insurance Co., will continue to use the name “Drive Insurance” for its private passenger auto insurance product sold by independent agents and brokers there.

According to the company statement, the move to a one-brand strategy for all other outlets means the products will now be called Progressive Commercial, Progressive Motorcycle, Progressive Boat, etc., and more of the company’s branding initiatives will focus on the benefits of insuring a vehicle with a Progressive, regardless of what or how a consumer chooses to buy.

The change in branding and advertisement is a signifcant move because the private passenger auto products and prices sold directly by the company and by agents are different. The private passenger auto product sold by agents is now called “Progressive Drive” Insurance. Private passenger auto insurance sold by the company directly over the Internet and by phone is now called “Progressive Direct.”

“We’ve learned a lot since we introduced the Drive Insurance from Progressive name in September 2004,” said John Barbagallo, Agency Group president since May 2006. “The most significant finding is the power of the Progressive name. By emphasizing the Progressive name in everything we sell, and in the name of the agents who represent us—now Progressive agents—we can ensure maximum leverage of the name as a business generator for them. I’m excited about this change; agents have been—and continue to be—critically important to Progressive.”

The need for a sharper brand focus was first discussed by Progressive CEO Glenn Renwick at the company’s 2006 Investor Relations meeting. Renwick highlighted the growing importance of an easily understood brand in “a world where companies are aggressively competing for auto insurance consumers’ attention.”

Barbagallo emphasized that change will allow agents to have the benefit of Progressive’s advertising, sponsorships, signage and public relations activity, and will allow more of Progressive’s marketing dollars to be spent on local promotions such as co-branded print, radio and direct mail advertising. Progressive will swap-out the faces of nearly 15,000 existing Drive Insurance interior and exterior signs for its agents starting this summer. The new signs will say “Progressive.”

This move will also help agents better leverage the company’s claims service now offered at 53 Progressive service centers throughout the country, Barbagallo added.

“This is a very positive indicator of Progressive’s commitment to independent agents,” said Dan O’Connell of Swan & Sons-Morss Company in Elmira, N.Y. O’Connell is a member of the company’s Agency Council, a group of 15 independent agents and brokers from around the country formed to share insights about industry trends and provide feedback on the company’s business strategies. “The Progressive name has always helped me attract business to my agency. This just makes it that much better.”

Along with the name change, service and product enhancements designed to help agents attract and retain customers—including more standard and preferred business—are also being rolled out. They include a new and improved policy contract; more preferred features and discounts; and more products, including a Progressive-underwritten Personal Umbrella product and a joint marketing agreement with Homesite Insurance Group that lets agents sell two monoline policies—auto and home—right on (FAO).

Barbagallo said the service and product enhancements are all aimed at offering agents everything they need for profitable growth, with the goal of making Progressive a must-have for all growing, successful independent agencies.

Progressive sells private passenger auto insurance through 30,000 independent agents through Progressive Drive Insurance . The Direct Business sells Progressive Direct private passenger auto insurance online at and by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE. Each business makes independent decisions about private passenger auto insurance product design and pricing.

Source: Progressive Insurance Cos.

Topics California Auto Agencies

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