One day in 1922, a group of Army officers gathered in San Antonio,
Texas, to discuss a problem: because their military careers meant
frequent relocation, their car insurance policies were expensive
and difficult to maintain. The 25 officers decided to form a
mutual company to insure each other's vehicles and to create
policies tailored to the military life. The United States
Army Automobile Association (USAA) has grown to more than 6 million
members to comprise active duty officers and enlisted personnel,
spouses and children of USAA members, National Guard and Selective
Reserve officers and enlisted personnel, retired military
personnel, and officer candidates in commissioning programs.
It operates from six offices in the United States and two offices
overseas in London and Frankfurt.
"We're not a household name," USAA declares on its website, "and
you won't see our logo in a Super Bowl commercial." Indeed,
USAA's business is different from conventional insurance companies
in many ways, relying on direct marketing to sell its products and
policies. Its insurance division provides annuities, Medicare
solutions, and automobile, home and property, life, business, and
long-term care insurance. Its investments business includes
mutual funds, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), college
savings plans, annuities, asset management plans and brokerage
services. Members can use USAA's banking services which
include checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards and CD
products. USAA financial advisors provide advisory and
planning services tailored specifically for military concerns--how
a family might budget for a deployment, for example.
Reporting for duty
USAA welcomed new leadership in 2008 due to the retirement of the
sitting chairman and CEO Robert Davis who left the company in
December 2007. Davis had been the president of USAA for eight
years and the CEO for seven years and was named chairman in
2002. Josue Robles, a lifelong army man who began his service
in 1966, replaced Davis as president and CEO. In July 2008,
Robles was named the Corporate Executive of the Year by the San
Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. General John H.
Moellering, who had served as vice chairman, consequently became
USAA does more than just its patriotic duty as an insurance
provider for the U.S. military and their families, it also excels
in the areas of customer service and employee satisfaction.
In 2008, for the second year in a row, BusinessWeek ranked USAA No. 1
on its list of Customer Service Champs; in 2009, however, it
slipped to No. 2. and in February 2008, Forrester Research ranked
USAA as No. 1 in its Experience That Satisfy Consumers report for
Internet and phone customer service. Previously, in December
2007, Representative Trey Martinez Fischer of Texas also honored
USAA by filing a resolution (House Resolution 1614) that publicly
honors the company for its devotion to its clients. The
company has also been included in ComputerWorld's Top Place to
Work in IT list and LATINA
Style's list of leading employers for Hispanic women.
In 2008, USAA brought in $12.91 billion in revenue, down from the
$14.42 billion it posted in 2007. Net income in 2008 is at
$423 million, with total assets of $68.296 billion and total equity
of $14.56 billion. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, as of June 2009, USAA holds more than $31.8 billion in
deposits and accounts of more than $3.8 million. It employs
some 21,900 individuals.