News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Commissioner Holly C. Bakke

For Immediate Release: August 16, 2004

For Further Information:: Mary Cozzolino or Vincent Funelas - (609) 292-5064

State Moves Forward in Building a
Modern Auto Insurance Marketplace

(TRENTON) - Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke today proudly announced that as a direct result of auto insurance reforms enacted in June 2003, GEICO, the nation's fifth largest private passenger auto insurer, is now writing policies in New Jersey.

"This is another great day for New Jersey drivers," Governor James E. McGreevey said. "When I took office, I promised New Jersey drivers that we would build an insurance marketplace that works for them. Today, we are once again delivering on that promise. GEICO's entry into New Jersey signifies that we are keeping our commitment to creating more competition, providing more choices and putting money back into the wallets of motorists throughout our state.

"My administration continues to address the everyday concerns of real New Jerseyans," the Governor continued. "Reducing auto insurance premiums, providing property tax relief for seniors, making sure women can get mammograms and children receive a quality education. This is what is important to New Jersey families."

GEICO is the second major auto insurance company to enter New Jersey since June 2003, when the Governor signed legislation to reform the auto insurance marketplace.

"This is a very exciting day for GEICO," said Tony Nicely, GEICO chairman, president and CEO. "We are truly pleased to say that effective immediately New Jersey drivers can buy insurance on GEICO'S Web site, Visionary leadership by the Governor and the Commissioner made this day possible. New Jersey has found ways to balance consumer protections with a competitive marketplace."

As the country's largest direct marketer, GEICO becomes the first insurer in New Jersey to provide immediate binding to policies sold electronically over the Internet. This Internet-based approach provides consumers the convenience of shopping for policies online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This is a historic day for drivers. It signifies the beginning of the end of New Jersey's dysfunctional auto insurance market," Commissioner Bakke said. "New Jersey consumers are clearly in the driver's seat."

Headquartered in Maryland, GEICO provides auto insurance coverage for more than 5.6 million policyholders and insures more than 9.5 million vehicles. GEICO uses television, radio, print media and direct mail to attract clients and keeps its rates low by dealing directly with the consumer. GEICO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., is nationally recognized for its customer service and high customer satisfaction ratings.

Unlike most national carriers who develop New Jersey-only subsidiaries, GEICO plans to conduct their insurance business as a national carrier in New Jersey, the same manner as they do business in 48 other states. The Maryland-based company will operate through its four affiliates, Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), GEICO General Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company and GEICO Casualty Company.

"The Department's goals through the reforms is to provide consumers with a variety of choices, continuing the downward pressure on rates," Commissioner Bakke said. "The introduction of GEICO is proof positive that we are accomplishing our goals. Drivers in New Jersey are beginning to have the same choices as the rest of the country."

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Mercury General's one-year anniversary of doing business in New Jersey. As the first carrier to enter the state's auto insurance marketplace since the reforms, Mercury General has already written more than 40,000 policies and appointed more than 300 agents.

In addition, in the year since Governor McGreevey signed legislation to reform the auto insurance marketplace: