When most people think of GEICO Insurance, an image of a friendly talking gecko from countless television commercials is usually what comes to mind.
They also know that 15 minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance, but what they likely don’t know is that they also can walk in to or call a local GEICO office and speak with a local agent, right in their own neighborhoods, including in nearby Wesley Chapel.
The Wesley Chapel office of GEICO was opened by Jaime Bryant a little over a year ago in the Super Target-anchored Northwoods shopping center on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., just north of County Line Rd.
While GEICO is mostly known for its auto insurance — insuring more than 30 million vehicles — the company also offers motorcycle, RV (recreational vehicle), boat, condo and renter’s insurance, as well as life and umbrella policies (which provide extended liability coverage for people with a lot of assets).
Bryant is pleased to announce that his office also can now write homeowners insurance policies, including for mobile and manufactured homes.
He says that GEICO had paused writing new homeowners policies in Florida to be sure it didn’t overexpose its risk in the state, which is susceptible to large major disasters, especially when a hurricane comes through. However, the company recently has opened up to writing new homeowners policies again.
“You get a discount on both policies when you purchase auto and homeowners insurance (also known as “bundling”),” he explains. “So, that increases the chances of saving money.”
Plus, you only have to deal with one office, and Bryant and his team at GEICO’s Wesley Chapel office are happy to handle all of your insurance needs.
Whether you want to use GEICO’s easy-to-navigate app, website, or call the office, or if you’re someone who prefers to walk in and meet with an agent face-to-face, Bryant and his staff are happy to accommodate.
He says his office has grown considerably since it opened in 2021, now employing 10 people, all of whom are experienced and trained to be sure the customer is neither over insured or under insured, but properly insured.
When first meeting people who are considering switching to GEICO, Bryant says, “We often ask why they have certain specific coverages and they don’t know. It’s just what they were sold. The amount of coverage doesn’t necessarily fit their personal situation.”
And, while he says he can’t speak to what other insurance agencies tell their clients, he says his clients are often surprised to hear the explanation of why they have too much coverage, or not enough, or may want to make certain decisions to lower the price of their policies. He says it seems his agents are often giving people information they haven’t heard before.
For example, sometimes when families have children of driving age, it may be beneficial to have the children separated off the policy.
“It always varies, so we have to make sure we are asking the right questions to get the right policy,” he says. “Nothing’s ever one-size-fits-all.”
And he says, more often than not, his team finds that people are carrying more insurance than they need.
“Our goal is to make sure people are properly insured, not paying more than they need to pay,” Bryant says, “and that what we provide to them is tailored to their needs.”
Orville Harness is getting ready to move to the Tampa Bay area after retiring from law enforcement in Indiana.
“It’s so different between Indiana and Florida,” Harness said. He was confused as he looked for quotes online and had lots of questions.
Fortunately for him, he submitted a request for a quote from Bryant’s office, and an agent called back to answer all of his questions.
“It was really nice to talk with someone in Florida who knows what they’re doing,” he said, instead of talking with someone in a call center who may or may not know or understand the nuances of insurance in this state.
“They really helped us understand what to spend our money on and what not to spend our money on,” he said. “They saved us a bunch of money.”
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 many people don’t know that the name GEICO is actually an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company.
Bryant also 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 the company, 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 Florida.
Bryant says that’s because GEICO offers two very important things for those looking for insurance: competitive rates and great customer service.
Although GEICO has had a Tampa office for 40 years, as well as others in Clearwater and New Port Richey, Bryant’s location, which features an aquarium with a real gecko, is the first in or near Wesley Chapel.
Bryant has lived in the Tampa Bay area for more than 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 home in Live Oak Preserve in New Tampa, where he lives with his wife, Shannon, and their new baby son, Elliott.
When GEICO decided to open an office in Wesley Chapel, Bryant says he jumped at the chance to apply, both to have the opportunity to be his own boss and to build a business in the community he calls home.
He’s working hard to earn people’s trust and make sure the agents in his office are ready to help meet their unique and individual needs.
“It’s hard to find good customer service anymore,” says Harness, the retiree who is moving to Florida. “They were very patient, and they took the time to explain everything. The world needs more of that.”
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. on Saturday. For more information, visit GEICO.com/Wesley-Chapel-Bryant or call (813) 953-4200.