GEICO Insurance is known not only for its humorous TV commercials, but also for its online service, thanks to a mobile app that makes it easy to have control over all of your accounts.

Need to add a driver? Need to change a car? Need to change your plan? Well, there’s an app for that when it comes to having your insurance with GEICO.

However, not everyone is proficient with their cell phones, nor do they prefer doing business online.

To that end, customers in the Wesley Chapel area can now meet with GEICO agents face-to-face, thanks to the new office opened by Jaime Bryant in the North Woods Shopping Center (anchored by the Super Target just north of County Line Rd.).

Although GEICO has had offices for years, including one in Tampa for 40 years, as well as others in Clearwater and New Port Richey, Bryant’s new location, which features an aquarium with — you guessed it — a real gecko lizard, is the first even close to Wesley Chapel.

That is a surprise to many, due to GEICO’s strong TV and online presence.

“A lot of people don’t expect a local office because most people think of GEICO as a digital company,” Bryant says. “So, they are surprised to find us in this shopping center. But, we’ve been in the Neighborhood News, and people find us online as well, so they are noticing.”

That may not sound like a big deal in today’s tech-crazy society, and a good many people still prefer the convenience of using a web browser, mobile app or even a 1-800 number, to do their insurance business. There are, however, benefits to going into an office.

Jaime Bryant and his wife Shannon pose with the costumed GEICO gecko at the office’s grand opening, while a real gecko (below left) says hi from his aquarium, where he greet visitors to the new location.

Bryant, who has six agents working at his location, says many customers like talking to the same person every time. Others just prefer dealing with a human being.

Although known mostly for its auto insurance (insuring more than 30 million vehicles), GEICO also offers motorcycle, RV, boat, condo and renter’s insurance, as well as life and umbrella policies, which provide extended liability for those with a lot of assets. 

Coming to the office won’t get your rates any cheaper than those of someone using the online platforms, but Bryant says it provides a comfort level for many — especially customers who have multiple things insured by GEICO.

“We can handle almost all of the products they have (online),” Bryant says, “where if they call the 1-800 number, they might talk to three different people for three different products. We can sell auto, renter’s, RV, we can do all of that. And, you can have the convenience of one person handling everything.”

On Google, Bryant and his staff have yet to receive a negative review. They have been praised for explaining the different types of auto coverages, making the process easy and, of course, finding the cheapest rates possible.

However, the online game remains one that GEICO is winning, thanks to the 24/7 access to your account and the easy-to-use, multiple-award-winning mobile app. 

“You can do it online or do it with an agent,” Bryant says. “It’s really every way you can possibly do business, you can do it with GEICO.”

A Little History…

GEICO was founded in 1936 by Leo Goodwin and his wife Lillian to provide auto insurance directly to federal government employees and their families. Bryant says very few people know that GEICO is actually an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company.

Bryant says GEICO was the first insurance company that he can recall that began selling insurance directly to customers, as opposed to working only through agents. That has helped GEICO, headquartered in Maryland, become the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., behind State Farm, as well as the largest auto insurer here in the state of Florida. 

Bryant says that’s because GEICO offers two very important things for those looking for insurance: its competitive rates and discounts, and its customer service.

“It’s like you are paying a discounted rate for a high-quality product,” he says.

GEICO also has done a masterful job of marketing itself in a competitive field where NFL quarterbacks and fictional characters like Flo become familiar standards in today’s pop culture.

GEICO currently is still repped by its beloved “spokes-lizard,” a gold dust day gecko with a cockney accent that is familiar to almost everyone. Along with the charming lizard, GEICO has used the Cavemen, Maxwell the piggy, and a humorous campaign comparing how easy it is to use GEICO to things that are not easy, as well as others. Almost every campaign has left a lasting impression.

Bryant has lived in the Tampa Bay area for roughly 20 years, and is a University of South Florida graduate, with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

He worked for GEICO in Lakeland for 16 years, the last few while driving a long commute from his family home in Live Oak Preserve in New Tampa, which he shares with his wife of six years, Shannon.

When GEICO decided to open an office in Wesley Chapel, Bryant says he jumped at the chance.

“You want to be your own boss and have that freedom.” Bryant says. “But, we love it here, too. We plan on retiring here, and we plan on having this office in Wesley Chapel for many, many years.”

The GEICO-Wesley Chapel local office is located at 1227 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. It is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit, call (813) 953-4200 or see the ad on page 29.

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