Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Insurance’


February 12, 2012

Are you interested in why some thrive during turbulent times while others fail? If yes, you should read Great by Choice by Jim Collins (Good To Great, Built To Last, etc) and Morten T. Hansen.

One of the many myths the book dispels involves luck. Similar to Good To Great, Great By Choice compares companies in the same industries, operating under similar circumstances during a period of time.   Collins and Hansen show us (along with lessons in10x Leadership, 20 Mile Marching, Firing Bullets, then Cannonballs, etc), that luck happens equally to all of us.  It is what we do with that luck that separates mediocre performance from great performance.

Take bad luck. In late 1988, Peter Lewis, CEO of Progressive Insurance was shocked to learn California voters had passed Proposition 103, which among other things mandated 20% premium reductions and refunds to customers for what they had paid in the past.  Nearly a quarter of Progressive’s business came from California and this would severely impact the company’s profits.

 How could this have happened? Lewis called his old college classmate, consumer advocate Ralph Nader to get a pulse and was told simply that the public “hated them” (auto insurance companies).  Progressive’s CEO saw the bad luck of California’s legislation as good luck.  They would change the company to “reduce the economic cost and trauma caused by auto accidents”.  Out of this came Progressive’s “Immediate Response” claims service…including a fleet of vehicles to dispatch to policy owner’s homes and in many cases to the accidents themselves.  Consumers loved the insurer’s new focus…on them and in 10-years Progressive went from the 14th biggest auto insurance company to 4th

 Maybe it’s time to change the way we look at things?

 Good luck to all Grammy Nominees tonight!