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On March 10, 1937, Joseph Lewis and Jack Green started Progressive Mutual Insurance Company. They wanted to provide vehicle owners with security and protection, and they thought an insurance company was a good investment for a couple of lawyers who were just getting started.
Since its beginning, Progressive has taken an innovative approach to auto insurance. We offered drive-in claims service before any other auto insurance company, and, in another industry first, we allowed customers to pay their premiums in installments — an appealing option for those who couldn't afford annual payments. Progressive wanted — and still wants — to make auto insurance accessible and easy so more people could protect their vehicles.
By 1951, Progressive's growth prompted a move to new offices in downtown Cleveland. In 1955, Jack Green became CEO after the death of Joe Lewis, and Peter Lewis, Joe's son, began his career with Progressive. Peter immediately began looking for ways to distinguish the company from its competitors. In 1956, Progressive Casualty Company was formed to write auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Today, the company insures all types of drivers.
The company operates in three segments: Personal Lines, Commercial Auto, and Other-indemnity.
The Personal Lines segment writes insurance for private passenger automobiles, motorcycles, boats, and recreational vehicles through both an independent agency channel and a direct channel.
The Commercial Auto segment writes primary liability and physical damage insurance for automobiles and trucks owned by businesses primarily through the independent agency channel.
The Other-indemnity segment provides professional liability insurance to community banks, principally directors, and officers liability insurance. It also provides insurance-related services, primarily providing policy issuance and claims adjusting services in 25 states for Commercial Auto Insurance Procedures/Plans. In 2011, the company was ranked 164 in the Fortune 500.
Progressive is one of the largest auto insurers in the United States, with over 13 million policies in force. Progressive primarily offers its services through the internet or by telephone and through independent insurance agents.
Progressive's marketing campaign is known for offering quotes of its competitors along with its own quote. It was the first major insurer to offer auto policies through the phone and through its web site. In September 2007 Progressive began to offer Pet Injury coverage, which provides coverage for dogs and cats that are injured in a crash and is included at no additional cost with Collision coverage. Immediate Response Vehicles (IRVs) used by Progressive are specially modified Ford Explorers and Ford Escapes