CEO Tricia Griffith shares with us the ideals she continues to put at the forefront of Progressive.
Who is Tricia Griffith?
Tricia Griffith is the CEO of Progressive Corporation, one of the largest car insurance providers in the United States. Tricia graduated from Illinois State University in 1986 before joining Progressive Insurance where she started out much lower down the ladder as a lowly claims representative in 1988. Through a combination of hard work, talent, and vision.
The Progressive CEO climbed the corporate ranks to become the head of the company in 2016.
Just two years after taking over as Progressive CEO, Tricia Griffith became the first woman to be named Businessperson of the Year by Fortune magazine—such has been her impact on the company and the insurance industry more broadly.
It is worth noting that the Progressive Corporation is one of the largest providers of car insurance in the United States. It was co-founded in 1937 by Jack Green and Joseph M. Lewis and is headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio. The company insures motorcycles, boats, RVs, and commercial vehicles, and also provides home insurance through select partners. In recent years, Progressive has expanded internationally, offering insurance services in Australia, and is currently ranked No. 99 in the Fortune 500 list of the largest US corporations by total revenue.
Yet Tricia Griffith’s, story is arguably as compelling as the company’s own trajectory. As a prominent female Progressive CEO, Griffith has not only gained a reputation for innovation but also spoken honestly about the challenges facing women in the corporate workplace. The Progressive CEO even highlights some of the mistakes she feels she made early on in her career and the advice that led her to reach the top.
“If I could distill everything I’ve learned in my career into one piece of advice, I think for years, especially growing up in the claims organization, I really tried to be one of the guys,” Griffith said in a recent interview with Cleveland.com. “I didn’t want to be seen necessarily as a female, and so that didn’t actually allow me to fully be myself. Probably 15 or 20 years ago, (what helped me was) having people, especially, Glenn (Renwick), who was my predecessor, really sponsored me and said, ‘Try this and do this.’ He always said be yourself.”
When did Tricia Griffith become Progressive CEO?
Tricia Griffith joined Progressive Insurance’s board and became CEO in July 2016
Who is the owner of Progressive Insurance?
Progressive insurance is a publicly traded company, owned by its shareholders with the biggest stake held by Vanguard Group, BlackRock Fund Advisors, and Wellington Management.
What is Tricia Griffith’s leadership style?
The Progressive CEO is well known for her servant leadership approach founded on principles of generosity, integrity, and equality in the workplace
What is Tricia Griffith’s salary?
According to Progressive Insurance’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tricia Griffith earns an annual salary of $700,000 after becoming Progressive CEO on July 1, 2016.
Does Tricia Griffith have a Family?
The Progressive CEO has three children, with her husband, Greg, and together with all eight members of their blended family live in Hudson, New York.
Tricia Griffith: The Key Player in Progressive Insurance Growth
At 20.2% and 11.4% respectively, Progressive’s one-year and annualized three-year sales growth tops both Apple and Microsoft’s. The insurer’s stock was up nearly 50% over the last year, and profits have more than doubled. In 2017, Progressive vaulted past Allstate to become the nation’s third-largest auto insurer, behind Geico and State Farm. And perhaps most impressively, at the end of the third quarter, the Mayfield, Ohio, company hit $30 billion in net premiums written, after reaching $20 billion just three years earlier—a remarkable growth rate for an old enterprise.
Essentially, the company was founded in 1937 as a personal auto insurer, eventually finding its niche in high-risk drivers. But with Tricia Griffith as CEO, Progressive Insurance has moved far beyond that. One key move came in 2015 when the company acquired a majority stake in home insurer ASI for roughly $875 million in cash in an effort to better bundle auto and home insurance. Progressive refers to these bundle shoppers as Robinsons, a move to personify customers rather than using sterile insurance lingo.
How the Progressive CEO is Making a difference
After attending Illinois State University and joining the advanced management program at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Progressive CEO, Tricia Griffith began her career at the company in 1988 as a claims representative in Indianapolis. She became Chief Human Resources Officer in 2002, launched the organization’s first-ever diversity and inclusion program, and served as President of Customer Operations and COO of Progressive’s personal lines branch, before being appointed CEO in 2016.
The Progressive CEO’s drive and self-belief have not only seen her become a role model for fellow businesswomen but also helped the company maintain its reputation as one of the most innovative companies in its space. While the company had been trying to sign up homeowners roughly a decade before the ASI purchase, Tricia Griffith, as Progressive CEO led the charge to rapidly expand their numbers from around 400,000 to 1 million in just over two years—a major factor driving the recent premium growth surge.
Tricia Griffith’s Approachable and Authentic Leadership style
While Tricia Griffith’s business acumen has driven results, it’s her approachable and authentic leadership style that many employees will cite as a key to the company’s success. Essentially, Progressive CEO, Tricia Griffith puts a premium on creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all employees and speaks frequently about the importance of bringing your whole self to work. The efforts have paid off. In 2018, Progressive’s annual Culture Survey placed the company in the 96th percentile of all companies that use Gallup’s survey, highlighting an engaged culture that continues to lead to success.
The Progressive CEO has also gained a reputation for her generosity, especially where fellow female employees are concerned. She always agrees to meet with women employees that want to speak to her, stating publicly that she believes personal attention and encouragement to be important leadership qualities. Responding to an employee on what advice she’d give to an aspiring business executive, the Progressive CEO said:
“Focus on the job you’re doing now. You will get noticed.”
Furthermore, Tricia Griffith, the Progressive CEO, says she likes to “set audacious goals” to rally the company around key projects and spur targeted investments. In the home-owners insurance segment, such an investment helped launch the HomeQuote Explorer tool in 2017 to help customers compare carrier quotes. Indeed, technology has always been at the forefront of Progressive’s growth. It was the first auto insurance company to have a website, allow customers to purchase policies via that site, and later pioneer the use of mobile browsers and smartphone apps for rating and managing policies. It was also the first to offer 24/7 claims reporting.
“We are constantly reviewing our processes to identify areas where we can learn and improve,” said the Progressive CEO regarding innovation in the insurance space. “Progressive changed the industry when we introduced our Comparison Rater Experience and showed you auto rates of other companies next to our own, even if our rates weren’t the lowest. That level of transparency was unprecedented.”
“If you’re not yourself, you can’t be a truly great leader,” Progressive’s Griffith has remarked on the broader demands of leadership. “I always reflect on that Teddy Roosevelt quote, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ I think a big part of my career was, ‘I wish I was, as smart as him, as well-traveled as her, or whatever.’ And so, for me, it is about being true to yourself and capitalizing on that.”