Story by Soundings Trade Only
In 2007, BoatUS was sold by founder and former chairman Richard Schwartz to Berkshire Hathaway-owned subsidiary National Indemnity Co.
In January, BoatUS was transferred in a change of ownership to Geico, another Berkshire Hathaway company, but one that BoatUS said is better suited to help it grow.
“We are better positioned for growth because Geico is a consumer-oriented company, rather than NICO, which is another insurance company, but one more focused on commercial auto and general liability coverage,” BoatUS vice president for public affairs Scott Croft told Trade Only Today. “Geico, which has assets of over $32 billion, really knows how to treat their customers well, so we share the same philosophy.”
Croft said growth among the group’s 530,000 strong membership has remained modest since the recession ended and the group is looking to jump-start growth under new ownership.
“If we can double or even triple the membership it will help not only our members, but recreational boaters and the industry as a whole because we will have a much larger voice in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
In the shorter term, the change of ownership to Geico changes nothing for BoatUS members or customers. BoatUS annual membership dues and all on-water and roadside towing plans remain the same. Members with BoatUS Marine Insurance do not need to switch to Geico.
BoatUS leaders stress that the group remains dedicated to its role as the nation’s leading advocate and organization for boaters, fighting for their rights and offering on-water services and savings.
“We will continue to advocate for this country’s recreational boat owners and remain committed to our bedrock goal of making every part of boat ownership hassle-free,” BoatUS President Margaret Podlich said in a statement.
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is funded primarily through donations from BoatUS members, continues to provide leadership on national boating safety and clean water issues.
Although the change in ownership became official in January, Geico waited until last week make the announcement to its customers, so BoatUS timed its announcement to the industry to match its new parent company, Croft said.