Progressive Insurance CEO Tricia Griffith took the position of CEO only a few years ago back in 2016, but she has made a considerable impact on the company, her competitors, and the future of the company. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about her.
1. She has a serious focus on the Robinsons.
The Robinsons are not a competitor or a counterpart to the Joneses, but is an insurance name used to describe customers who have both home and auto insurance as a bundled package. This is a very critical area for most insurance companies, as most families either own or strive to own both, giving a company essentially a two-for-one policy sale.
2. Griffith known the company like the proverbial back of her hand.
She should, considering that she started at Progressive as a lowly claims representative in the late 1980’s and walked the crooked mile to the top, serving as Claims Group President, Chief Human Resources Officer, President of Customer Operations, and Personal Lines Chief Operating Officer. This is not a list of every position, but you get the idea.
3. She has a keen understanding of the problems for the average homeowner’s decision to buy home insurance.
For Griffith, selling home insurance is not just about selling someone “the right policy” but actually getting homeowners to understand how complex the process is. The next step is to get the information from the homeowner and use the best available technology to walk through the complexities and discover what the right insurance policy quote is for the particular homeowner’s situation.
4. Her most important lessons she has learned from her first year as CEO
- Growing corporate values and culture require the right people
- Know when to lead and when to get out of the way
- Never stop listening – to everyone in the company.
- Get out of the office and be physically present at virtually every department of the company to know how people really feel about what they are doing.
5. She is recognized as one of the most prominent and successful women in the business world.
Reaching the CEO level as a woman in her mid-50’s may not seem as a greatest of achievements, but Griffith is only one of 32 women to hold the position on the Fortune 500 list. Fortune magazine called her the most powerful woman in business as she was put in charge to corral in some of the more than $300 billion home insurance market, an area that has been largely ignored by Progressive.
6. Her focus on the company’s future is heavily invested in people, not profits.
Despite the competitiveness of the insurance industry, Griffith has managed to realize that the future risks must be taken with the people she hires. A total of more than 15,000 new employees have been hired since she took over the reins, adding more than 6,000 in her first year, 6,000 in 2017, and more than 1,000 this year. She is optimistic about expansion, and hopes her new hires will follow her vision.
7. She turned the Progressive icon Flo into a chatbot.
Seizing on progressive technology, Griffith has made Flo available to chat with to answer all kinds of questions about home, auto, and most major types of insurance the company offers. She can be found on Facebook Messenger, but Flo is not all work chat. You can even have normal conversations with her if you want to pass the time.
8. You never know what the subject matter will be when talking with her.
People who know Griffith commonly talk about how she sees work and a personal life being connected. There is the story where her son, then 6 years old, dropped his pants to see how the seat warmers in the car actually worked. As a person and as a mom, this is the kind of story that makes Griffith approachable and unpredictable, so be careful what you talk to Flo about online.
9. When she first applied for her job at Progressive, she was expecting to leave within a few years.
Griffith applied to an ad for claims representative and thought it was just another job to pay the bills and build a foundation for the future. She did build a foundation, a job that would transform into a career at Progressive that is at 30 years and counting.
10. She was the first woman to hold the position of President of Group Claims at Progressive.
This was about a decade ago in 2008, and she has never looked back, stating her case that this career mark sets an example for every woman who has dreams of becoming very success in the corporate world.