January 13, 1998

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
GEICO Selects Virginia Beach for New Sales and Service Center

Virginia Beach - Governor George Allen today announced that GEICO, the nation's seventh largest automobile insurer, will locate a new customer sales and service center in the Corporate Landing Business Park in the City of Virginia Beach. The $17.3 million capital investment will create 800 new jobs for Virginians. The company projects over 2,000 employees will occupy the facility in five to 10 years. Virginia successfully competed with New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio for the investment.

"GEICO is one of our Commonwealth's outstanding corporate citizens and a valued partner in free enterprise, and we're absolutely thrilled they chose to invest in Virginia -- a great vote of confidence in our people and positive job growth policies," said Governor Allen. "GEICO truly is a valued shareholder in our Commonwealth's future, and this is a great investment in the people of Virginia Beach, and in the future economic vitality of this entire Hampton Roads region. Moreover, Tony Nicely is a wonderful friend and it is a personal pleasure to welcome and close this tremendous decision to create over 800 new jobs in Virginia Beach in the final days of my tenure as Governor. Indeed, this is the largest job announcement of my administration for Virginia Beach."

GEICO is one of the fastest growing auto insurers in the country, growing by 16 percent in 1997. It insures more than 4.4 million autos nationwide, has 10,400 associates, and is the fourth largest insurer in Virginia. GEICO sells directly to the customer, which keeps its costs competitive, and offers 24-hour service, seven days a week. It has five regional offices including one in Fredericksburg, and three other branch offices.

The new Virginia Beach center will allow the company to meet growing customer needs by serving as one of the company's four major branch offices. Currently, the office handles sales, service and claims for Tidewater and North Carolina policy holders. In addition, it will become a telephone sales and service center for states beyond Virginia. The first phase of construction, for a 125,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by September. Another 125,000 square feet will be added later.

"We need more employees and more space to handle our unprecedented growth, and Virginia Beach is the ideal place to do this," said Tony Nicely, President and Chief Executive Officer of GEICO. "We looked at numerous locations and alternatives, and in the end, we opted for a known entity. Virginia is a good state for business and has a good regulatory system, and we've had an office in Virginia Beach for more than 35 years. In addition, it has a large, available labor pool, and GEICO is already a household name there."

"We're extremely pleased that this major national insurance company continues to recognize that Virginia Beach is a thriving business location, and we're certain this move will make our position on the corporate map even more visible to others," said Meyera E. Oberndorf, Mayor of the City of Virginia Beach.

Governor Allen approved a grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund worth $850,000 to assist the City of Virginia Beach with site preparation. The Governor presented a Virginia flag and a ceremonial share of stock in the "Virginia Company" to GEICO President and CEO Tony Nicely as a token of the State's appreciation.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the City of Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development assisted the company with its decision.

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