Safeco

Insurance company.

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Headquarters:
4333 Brooklyn Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98185
Employees: 7,600
CEO: Paula Reynolds
Stock Symbol: SAF

Website: http://www.safeco.com

Career Site

Safeco is a provider of auto, homeowners and small-business insurance policies. The company sells its products exclusively through a national network of 9,000 independent agents and brokers.

Safeco has 4.3 million personal and business customers worldwide.

Regional offices are located in Atlanta; Dallas; Indianapolis; Orange County, CA., and Seattle.

Safeco reported revenues of $6.28 billion in 2006 and net income of $880 million.

History

In 1923, insurance executive Hawthorne K. Dent organized a company to combine the financial stability and responsibility of an investor-owned stock company with the preferred-risk underwriting and lower prices of a mutual or policy-owned company. He founded the company in Seattle, far from the recognized insurance centers of the metropolitan Northeast.

As the first U.S. insurance company organized along those lines, General Insurance Company of America, or "The General" as it was known, became known for its competitive prices and exemplary service.

In 1953, the company's innovative spirit sent it in pursuit of an emerging technology that offered independent agents the tools to compete with the direct insurance writers - computer-based automation. That quest produced the Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America. The name Safeco was derived from the company's acronym.

The company entered the life insurance business in 1957. In 1968, the board of directors recognized Safeco's rapid growth and success by changing the parent corporation's name from General Insurance to Safeco. Also in the late 1960s, Safeco further diversified its financial services by introducing mutual funds and a commercial credit company.

Always highly successful on the West Coast, Safeco took a major step in geographic and product diversification in 1997 with its acquisition of American States Financial Corporation. The combination doubled Safeco's independent agency distribution force, increased its presence east of the Rockies and, through its American States Business Insurance product line, the company became a leading writer of business insurance for small- to medium-sized businesses.

The company further increased its national presence in 1998, when it purchased the naming rights to the Seattle Mariner's ballpark.

Benefits

401(k)/Profit Sharing Retirement Plan

The 401(k) Account portion of this Plan is a voluntary employee participation account that allows salaried employees to begin contributing to the plan soon after joining the company.

Key features include the ability to:
- Contribute any percentage of your earnings before and/or after income taxes have been withheld to a 401(k) Account in the Plan through automatic payroll deductions. Tax limits and other payroll deductions requirements may limit the amount you are able to put into the 401(k) Account.
- After satisfying the service requirement of 1,000 hours and 12 months of service, Safeco will match 2/3 of the first 6% of earnings you contribute to your 401(k) Account.
- Invest 401(k) Account contributions among one or more of fifteen investment fund options
- After satisfying the service requirement of 1,000 hours and 12 months of service , Safeco will contribute a guaranteed 3% contribution on a per payroll basis to eligible employees' Retirement Accounts in the Plan
- Up to an additional 9% profit sharing contribution (depending upon company profits) may be contributed to eligible employees' Retirement Accounts in the plan after the end of the year.
Cash Balance Plan
The Cash Balance Plan combines the financial security of a traditional pension plan with added advantages of being easy to understand, since it shows the value of individual accounts in current dollars. Safeco establishes an account in the eligible employee's name after the employee has satisfied the service requirement of 12 months of service and 1,000 hours. The company credits eligible employees with a guaranteed 3% of their compensation each year. Also, accounts grow at a guaranteed 5% rate, after monthly compounding, each year.
Vacation and Holidays
At the time of hire, employees receive a prorated share of a 77.5-hour vacation grant. After that, vacation is granted annually at the first of the year according to the following schedule:
- During years 1-2, employees receive a vacation grant of 77.5 hours.
- During years 3-10, employees receive a vacation grant of 116.25 hours.
- During years 11-14, employees receive 124 hours in year 11 an then an additional 7.75 hours per year.
- During years 15-19, employees receive a vacation grant of 155 hours.
- The following 11 company-paid holidays per year: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, Christmas Day, and two personal floating holidays.
Medical, Dental, and Other Benefits
Medical Coverage
Employees can select the medical option that best meets their individual and family needs. A cash-back option is available to those who opt out of medical coverage.
Dental Coverage
Dental coverage is available through a national Preferred Provider Organization. A cash-back option is available to those who opt out of dental coverage.
Vision Coverage
Vision coverage is available through Vision Service Plan. Employee's may select the option that best meet's their individual and family needs.
Sick Leave
The core of the sick leave plan is based on an annual paid sick leave allotment. The allotment is determined by length of service (prorated up to 38.75 hours upon hire, 77.50 hours from January 1st after hire date). After seven consecutive calendar days of illness or injury, the Short-Term Disability benefits described below may apply.
Disability Plans
The disability plans work with sick leave to continue an employee's salary during a serious illness or while recovering from a serious injury:
- Short-term Disability (STD) is a company-paid plan that pays benefits up to 26 weeks, depending on length of service
- Long-Term Disability (LTD) is a company- paid plan that pays up to 40% of your salary after you have been ill or disabled for 26 weeks. Employees have the option to purchase additional LTD coverage of 26- 2/3% of monthly earnings for a total of 66-2/3% of salary. (Subject to additional conditions.)
Life and Accident Insurance
You have the option to purchase Supplemental Employee Life Insurance, Dependent Life Insurance, and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. Safeco provides company-paid basic employee life insurance and Travel Accident Insurance for employees on business travel.
Health Care and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts
The FSA accounts allow employees to set aside money on a before-tax basis to pay for the health care and dependent care expenses incurred during the calendar year. This benefit lowers taxable income and may result in significant tax savings.
Work Life Program
Safeco contracts with Working Solutions Inc., a division of United Behavioral Health, to provide employees with a variety of free services to help with personal, family and work-related concerns, including child care and elder care referrals and confidential short-term counseling.
Employee Learning and Development
Safeco is a company dedicated to Employee Learning and Development. New employees receive appropriate and necessary classroom and on-the-job training preparing them for their new assignment. Safeco also offers other learning benefits to qualified employees, including College Tuition Assistance, a sponsored program that provides up to $3500 annually for work-related courses and to obtain work-related degrees. Safeco also pays associated expenses for qualified employees to obtain vocationally related professional designations (such as CPCU, AIC, and ARM, etc) through our Professional Education Program.

Updated August 22, 2007