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Founded in Seattle, Washington as the General Insurance Company of America, Selective Auto and Fire Ensurance Company of America (or SAFECO) has become now the 23 rd largest insurer in the country. It has been indispensable in the provisions of personal auto and homeowners insurances, and has recently ventured into an area also in need of SAFECO insurance, home-based business. St. Louis Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and especially Seattle, Washington have been served greatly by the insurance products of SAFECO insurance.

SAFECO has become one of the largest business presences in Seattle. Originally on the corner of University Street and Fourth Avenue, it moved in 1936 to the Brooklyn Building in the University District at the corner of N.E. 45th Street and Brooklyn Avenue N.E., and then replaced the Brooklyn building with the 22-story Safeco Plaza, which is now the largest building in Seattle outside the downtown district. SAFECO currently claims naming rights to Safeco Field, Stadium for the Seattle Mariners

SAFECO expanded greatly during the 1990’s and in 1997 it purchased the rights to American States Financial Corporation to expand beyond the North American continent, and now holds office in London. The expansion was met with some dismay during the turn of the century though, as from 1999 to 2001, SAFECO was forced to weather the economic downturn and laid off 40% of its workforce in several waves over two years. Over the next few years, SAFECO was forced to start selling its assets to other companies, including Berkshire Hathaway, and Symetra Financial, and some private investors that amounted to little more than SAFECO insurance home based business.

St. Louis, Missouri, Nashville, Milwaukee, and of course Seattle have all been greatly affected by the rise and fall of SAFECO, now owned by Liberty Mutual, but nevertheless, SAFECO remains a giant in the history of the American Insurance business.


This Business article was written by Mark Karavan on 12/1/2009