Elephant Insurance expands to Maryland

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Print this page by Zak Kozuchowski

Auto insurance is one of the few services that customers purchase and hope they will never use it. “It’s a commodity,” says Andrew Rose, CEO of Elephant Insurance Services LLC. “If a provider can offer great customer service and claims service, it really just comes down to price.”

Elephant, a subsidiary of Wales-Based Admiral Group PLC, opened its Henrico headquarters in late 2009 and sold auto insurance exclusively in Virginia. Just a little more than a year later, the company has begun selling auto insurance in Maryland.

“Maryland just made sense,” Rose says. “Virginia drivers have claims in Maryland, and Maryland drivers have claims in Virginia.”

The move also gives Elephant another major market, Baltimore, and adds presence to its advertising campaigns in Washington. “If we advertise on Washington, D.C., television, it’s going to blend into Washington [D.C.] and Maryland,” Rose says.

He expects the company to add another large-market state later this year. Elephant started with three employees and has grown to 90 at its Henrico County headquarters. The company is looking to fill as many as 20 openings there. “We’re looking for entry-level employees like document processing but also to fill positions such as sales managers and state specialists,” Rose said.

He credits the company’s expansion to its focus on controlling costs and passing those saving on to customers. But Elephant also does things that Rose says bigger companies might overlook. “We’ve partnered with small- to medium-sized employers to provide incremental discounts,” he says. Elephant’s current partners are Henrico-based, as well as Waynesboro-based nTelos Inc., and it’s a list that could soon grow.

In naming the company, “we were looking for something memorable and credible,” Rose says. “If you close your eyes and say Google, you can’t picture anything. It’s not that Google is a bad name, but the name Elephant gives people a strong mental picture. It’s big, strong and never forgets. I can spend less effort on brand recognition.”

The name has had a lot to do with developing the company’s culture, he contends. “Our parent company has always been on the European best places to work list,” Rose says. “We take pride in keeping our employees entertained, laughing and smiling. Right now, there’s a Mr. Potato Head judging contest going on outside my office. It all leads to a better customer experience on the phone. We’ll leave you smiling.”

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