SAFECO Insurance

SAFECO Insurance
Safeco Plaza
1001 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98154

Safeco Insurance is a company that provides coverage for individuals and small- and mid-sized businesses through its wide selection of property and casualty insurance products that are sold through a nationwide network of agents and brokers in the eight regions of the United States. A member of Liberty Mutual Group, Safeco was founded in 1923 in Seattle, Washington by Hawthorne K. Dent who originally named it General Insurance Company of America Corporation.

Known as The General, this Seattle-based company was far from the center of insurance activity in northeast USA and people were skeptical over its founder’s vision of combining the financial stability of an investor-owned stock company with the preferred risk- underwriting and lower prices of a mutual or policy-owned company.

Competitive prices and superb service earned Safeco its niche in the insurance business. Moving up from that niche required an innovative move in 1953 that involved the use of computer automation tools. This gave Safeco the edge over direct insurance writers and which became the hallmark of the company’s new business, the Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America or Safeco.

In 1957, Safeco started selling life insurance. By the late 1960s, and with its success, the General changed its name to Safeco Corporation and expanded its services to include mutual funds and commercial lines of credit.

This rapid expansion was accelerated further by Safeco’s acquisition in 1997 of American States Financial Corporation that extended company reach beyond the US west coast and making it a leader in insurance writing for small- and mid-sized businesses. Later that year, it bought Washington Mutual’s WM Life Insurance Company. Another notable acquisition made in 1999 was that of R.F. Bailey (underwriting agencies) Limited of London.

Though its most profitable division, Safeco sold its life and investments operations in 2004 to Symetra Financial Corporation, a private investor group composed of Safeco board members, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd. This sale was followed by that of Safeco’s insurance brokerage operations to Hub International Limited.

Safeco was acquired by Liberty Mutual Group in 2008 for $68.25 per share or a total of $6.2 billion, bringing into the group its 2007 direct written premium of $5.9 billion and making Liberty Mutual the fifth largest property and casualty insurer in the US. As a group member, Safeco Insurance markets and underwrites insurance policies issued by certain Liberty Mutual Group Inc. stock insurance company subsidiaries and affiliated insurers. To date, these subsidiaries and insurers are 38 listed underwriting companies with separate and distinct legal entities.

Safeco continues to offer personal lines insurance through individual agents all over the country, and renders its services with customer focus and innovative thinking, both uncommon practices in the insurance industry.

To boost this image of personalized service and support is the J.D. Power and Associates Call Center Certification that Safeco earned for itself in February 2010 for “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience” as provided by the company’s call centers. Its responsive customer service comes with the promise of contacting everyone involved in a client’s claim within one business day.

Helping people protect what they value and deal with the unexpected as it always points out, Safeco provides personal lines insurance on auto, home, renters, condos, boat/watercraft, classic car, motorcycle, recreational vehicle, umbrella, and landlord protection. An attractive bundle is its Safeco package that covers both auto and home for best savings, convenience and coverage available.

However, its competitive array of business insurance products and services are offered by sister regional companies and specialty operations through independent agents. Such companies provide commercial property and casualty insurance for small- and mid-sized businesses throughout the US.