Elephant, a subsidiary of UK-based Admiral Group, plc, calls Henrico County an absolute joy and an extraordinary place to do business.
Elephant Auto Insurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of Admiral Group, plc. Admiral Group is the third largest auto insurer in the United Kingdom. They have more than 17 years of experience and serve 2 million customers worldwide.
Admiral Group operates a direct-to-consumer business model, helping customers purchase auto insurance policies online and over the phone. After its success in the UK, Admiral Group decided to expand to the United States.
After a nationwide search — which included evaluation of sites in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Dallas, Pittsburg, Charlotte, and Atlanta — Admiral Group selected Greater Richmond, Va., as the U.S. headquarters for the Elephant brand.
Elephant opened for business Oct. 5, 2009, and has been charging forward ever since. “We’re growing very fast. We started with zero, so it’s not hard to grow from there,” jokes Elephant Auto Insurance CEO Kevin Chidwick. Today, “The Herd” is comprised of about 250 employees, and the company sells insurance products in four states: Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, and Texas.
Chidwick describes how the company first started to zero in on Greater Richmond:
“We started off by thinking about locations that would be great for employees, but not so enormous that operational costs would be very high and the potential for building employee loyalty would be more difficult.”
“We liked the idea of a smaller city,” he adds.
Also critical was finding a pro-business community. “Car insurance is a very regulated business, and you need a lot of help in your early years,” Chidwick explains. “So we wanted to make sure we were in a state where the regulator is very supportive of what we’re trying to do with the business — and that is certainly the case in Virginia.”
Chidwick goes on, describing Greater Richmond as an “absolute joy:”
“It’s an ideal location, in our opinion, to base a business. It’s got a great infrastructure. The network here is superb.”
“The governmental structures around Richmond and Virginia support businesses extremely well and that helps us get stuff done very well.”
“The quality of people we’ve found in Richmond is excellent. Not just in terms of employees but also in terms of support. We get things that we need to support our business through local vendors. Marketing supporting agencies, facilities supporting agencies, IT consultancies — those sorts of things are in abundance in Richmond. We haven’t had a problem finding good quality support.”
“Richmond is an extraordinary place to do business.”