GEICO has moved into its second building in the CrossPoint Business Park in Amherst, and has added the first 100 of the 600 workers it promised to hire in a major expansion of its local operations.
The insurance giant and Uniland Development Co. announced last August that GEICO planned to lease an 86,000-square-foot building at 150 CrossPoint Parkway and invest $11 million to renovate and outfit the building.
GEICO promised to hire 278 workers within two years and 600 workers within six years, while retaining the 2,700 workers it already employs down the road in its original CrossPoint building. GEICO in April 2016 had agreed to buy 300 CrossPoint and the surrounding 22 acres from Uniland.
Uniland finished work in January on the second GEICO building at 150 CrossPoint. GEICO since then has moved about 750 employees in its automobile insurance sales, customer service and underwriting departments into the new building from its existing building, said Pionne Corbin, GEICO's regional vice president.
The company didn't wait until the new building opened to start hiring, adding 107 workers since last fall toward the project's hiring goals. The new workers are located in both buildings.
"I think we're probably ahead of target," Corbin told The Buffalo News on Monday. "We're off to a good start."
GEICO has grown rapidly since it first came to the region in 2004. The nation's No. 2 auto insurer, and largest in New York state, already has exceeded the original 2,500 jobs the company promised to create in the area.
GEICO, like The Buffalo News, is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and it was The News' late former publisher, Stanford Lipsey, who convinced his longtime friend, Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's chairman, to establish GEICO's northeast regional offices in the Buffalo area.
GEICO has received several rounds of tax incentives to support its growth in Amherst. Last fall, the state awarded GEICO $4 million in grant money, and the Amherst Industrial Development Agency granted $474,800 in tax breaks to aid the project.
"It's a continued sign of the growth in the regional economy to have such a well-respected corporate citizen in GEICO, and just the brand of GEICO, continue to have confidence in the marketplace that they want to add up another 600 jobs in this facility," said David Mingoia, executive director of the Amherst IDA. "Which exceeds their original goal of 2,500. So they've well-surpassed, and lived up to, every commitment they've made to the community and all the governments."
A recent report by Invest Buffalo Niagara shows GEICO has created more than 7,000 jobs in the region, including its own employees, indirect hires at suppliers and at independent contractors and induced hires created through the economic impact of the company's operations here.
“Our partnership with GEICO has made a significant impact on the local economy when you look at the Invest report,” Michael Montante, a Uniland vice president, said in an email. “We are very pleased to witness GEICO’s success, are proud to have them as a business partner and are well-equipped to provide real-estate solutions to other companies looking to grow in our region.”