Geico is the latest property and casualty insurer to mandate a return to the office.
Beginning July 10, Geico employees will work from a company office two days a week, said Lonnie Konikoff, who handles auto underwriting. Christine Tasher, director of public relations for Geico, did not return numerous emails and phone messages seeking comment.
Konikoff is among a group of employees leading Geico United, an effort to unionize and collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions. While the effort has ebbed and flowed, it flows every time Geico makes new demands of employees, he said.
“They went back on their word about returning to office,” Konikoff said. “Before, it was all based on your performance. If you did very well, you will not have to come back. You could stay at work from home. And they changed all of that.”
The return-to-work announcement results in “literally hundreds of people from across the country” signing on to the Geico United effort, Konikoff said.
“People were really, really busting their butts, working extremely hard to try to complete a number of policies or complete their work because most of our grade now is based on our efficiency and how much we produce,” he added. “So, people were really, really exhausting themselves. Well, that was all taken away.”
Return to work a hot topic
Maintaining the right to work remotely is a hot topic among rank-and-file P/C insurance employees. Companies like Geico, Allstate and State Farm employ tens of thousands of employees, many of whom were hired as remote-only workers.
Farmers Insurance recently informed its employees that anyone located within 50 miles of a Farmers office is required to be in that office at least three days a week beginning in September. The Wall Street Journal reported on widespread employee unrest with that decision.
P/C insurers compete fiercely to fill such positions as agents and claims adjusters. Insurers such as Allstate embraced remote work.
Only 1% of Allstate’s 40,000-member workforce is classified as “office-based,” said Ben Tobias, senior public relations consultant for the insurer. Through surveys and focus groups, Allstate learned that 95% of its workers desire more flexible work.
Allstate sold its sprawling Northbrook, Ill., headquarters late in 2022 and has repeatedly stated no interest in finding another home.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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