Buffett joins ceremony for Carmel GEICO center

Warren Buffett
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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined in a ceremony opening a new customer service center for GEICO in Carmel.

It started out as a very traditional ribbon cutting, but after everyone left, the real show started.

The company has nearly 260 employees working at its new customer service center in Carmel. It's well on it's way to 400 by the end of the year. That had employees signing and dancing for Buffett.

"We have had great experience at Berkshire Hathaway in Indiana, so (GEICO CEO Tony Knicely) had my vote right from the start, but it was Tony's decision," Buffett said.

Knicely said he asked the Berkshire company CEOs in Fort Wayne, Elkhart and Milford and was told "Come to Indiana, you will never be sorry. So, right about that."

That drew applause from Buffett and Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

The service center includes agents, trainers, supervisors and support staff working in a 109,000 square foot facility in Carmel. The facility has only been operable for four months, but has already sold 1,300 policies and fielded 30,000 inquiries.

"Sends a real message across the state and the country that Indiana is open for business," Pence said. "Warren Buffett has a pretty good track record as an investor."

Buffett says GEICO's success is built on saving people money. While the company is growing and the stock market is booming, Buffett admits not all is well in this economy.

"I have been surprised it has not picked up steam, but I do think housing coming back, I think the recovery will continue, but I can't predict the speed," he said.

GEICO is hoping to employ 1,200 Hoosiers in all at the facility.