CARMEL — Billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined in a ceremony Monday that marked the opening of a new customer service center for the Geico insurance company in suburban Indianapolis that’s expected to have as many as 1,200 workers within a few years.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company owns Geico, which now has about 250 employees at the Carmel center it opened in April.
Washington, D.C.-based Geico announced in March that it would spend millions of dollars to lease, renovate and equip the new center, where it will have insurance agents, trainers, supervisors and support staff.
Berkshire Hathaway owns three companies based in Indiana — health care malpractice insurance provider Medical Protective of Fort Wayne, recreational vehicle maker River Forest of Elkhart and farm equipment maker CTB Inc. of Milford.
Buffett said those operations factored into the decision to open the new Geico center in the state.
“We have had great experience with Berkshire Hathaway in Indiana,” he said.
Buffett said Geico’s 10 other service centers show how the company becomes enmeshed in an area’s economy.
“We’re not going to go any place,” Buffett said. “If we’re located in Indianapolis, in Washington or wherever it may be, we’re there for keeps, and we’ll just keep adding people.”
Eric Ludington, 26, of Anderson, landed a job as a service trainer at the Carmel center in April after reading about Geico’s advancement opportunities.
“There’s a lot of room for growth,” he said.
Gov. Mike Pence and other officials also took part in the ceremony.
—The Associated Press