Auto Insurance Direct Writer 21st Century Heads East to Fla, Ga. and Pa.

May 18, 2006

21st Century Insurance Group, which sells auto insurance directly to consumers, is now selling in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania, the latest wave of the California-based company’s national expansion in the personal auto insurance market.

21st has also launched its first-ever national television advertising campaign with ad buys on 27 national cable networks including USA, TNT and FOX News Channel.

“With our entry into Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania, we’ve reached the tipping point that allows us to enjoy the economies of scale that come with national advertising,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce W. Marlow. “Our East Coast expansion is the next step in our disciplined growth strategy.

The three East Coast states represent 15 percent of the total U.S. personal auto premium, giving 21st a footprint in nearly half of the U.S. market.

21st says its growth coincides with an accelerating shift in the way consumers shop for auto insurance. According to the insurance rating and information agency A.M. Best, companies that rely on insurance agents lost more than 2.7 percent of personal lines market share between 1999 and 2004. Conversely, direct-to-consumer companies like 21st, GEICO and Progressive increased their market share 4.8 percent during the same period.

In addition, a 2005 survey by Internet benchmarking firm Keynote Systems showed that 87 percent of consumers shop for auto insurance online before purchasing and 55 percent are willing to purchase policies online.

“Today’s consumers realize that auto insurance is just like any other consumer financial product – they don’t need to pay an agent a big commission year in and year out to figure it out,” said Marlow. “By doing it yourself on the phone or on the Web, you save money and gain control.”

21st Century Insurance was one of the first companies to sell auto insurance directly to the public. Primarily a California company until a few years ago, 21st began doing business in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in 2004. In January 2005, 21st expanded into Texas and also opened a state-of-the-art customer service center in the Dallas area. 21st is the seventh-largest personal automobile insurer in California and the 21st-largest nationally, according to A.M. Best. 21st now insures more than 1.5 million automobiles in 12 states and employs more than 2,800 people.

The carrier offers 24-hour towing and road assistance as a standard policy feature.

Founded in 1958, 21st Century Insurance Group is a direct-to-consumer provider of personal auto insurance. With $1.4 billion of revenue in 2005, the company insures over 1.5 million vehicles in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

Source: 21st Century

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