What Is the GEICO Gecko's Name (and Other Interesting Facts)?

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Through eye-catching ads and creative marketing strategies, GEICO Insurance has become a regular household name. Laughter quickly follows most of its quirky commercials, and these oddball tactics have helped to make GEICO one of the largest insurance providers in the nation. Here are eight things you might not know about the insurance company with the funny gecko ads.

1. GEICO’s beginnings

A married couple by the name of Leo and Lillian Goodwin came up with the idea for GEICO Insurance. Leo had extensive experience working for the insurance giant USAA and took that knowledge with him when the two founded the company in 1936. Initially, it was an uphill battle requiring the couple to put in 12 hours days, seven days a week. Many years later, Berkshire Hathaway eventually bought GEICO and it is now one of its many other companies.

2. Its name is an acronym

More often than not, people associate GEICO’s name with its gecko mascot. The company’s name is really an acronym standing for Government Employee Insurance Company. This leads many to think it is an insurance agency owned by and operated for the government, but neither is the case. It was originally created to provide insurance to government employees, but since has evolved into much more. However, GEICO still offers a discount to military members.

3. It had a sister company

It’s a little-known fact that GEICO had a sister company for a short time. Her name was GELICO, standing for Government Employees Life Insurance Company. Eventually, big brother decided to let her go to a company named Legal & General.

4. The secret to its marketing success

To say marketing is important to GEICO is an understatement. In 2012, the company spent over $1 billion dollars promoting its insurance products. Martin Agency, located in Richmond, VA, is the brains behind the creative and innovative strategies that have made lots of money for both GEICO and their agency.

5. GEICO’s gecko has a name

Of all the GEICO mascots and commercial characters, the most famous is the gecko. Martin, which is reportedly his name, was introduced in 2000 and is adored by millions. He is a gold dust day gecko from Madagascar, a species with remarkable colors and characteristics. He may be seen on commercials eating an insect now and then, but nectar is his favorite food. In the beginning, Kelsey Grammar gave him his voice, but now it is actor Jack Wood.

6. GEICO’s cavemen

The cavemen are the company’s next most famous mascots. The advertising campaign was designed around the idea that GEICO Insurance was so simple to figure out that even the “small-minded” caveman could use it.

7. GEICO’s worth

The insurance giant has over 11 million automobile policyholders and has amassed $28 billion worth of assets. Employing nearly 27,000 people, GEICO has 12 operation locations, 22 types of insurance products and thousands of field offices throughout the U.S. As the third largest auto insurance carrier, it insures over 17 million vehicles.

8. GEICIO’s athletic sponsorships

Part of GEICO’s path to success is its continued support of collegiate and professional sports. Sponsoring more than 70 colleges and conferences, the company is known for its sponsorship of the NHL’s Washington Capitals located in its hometown. Recently, the company has become a [major sponsor of the NCAA and MLB as well.

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