It began as a mail-order business in 1922, providing automobile insurance to U.S. military officers who moved often and could not get coverage from other carriers. Today, United Services Automobile Association, better known as USAA, ranks as one of the best companies in America for providing customer service.With 4.5 million customers and $62.5 billion in assets, USAA placed first as the most reputable financial services company in America in the Financial Services Reputation Quotient study conducted by Harris Interactive, American Banker (a Thomson Financial publication) and the Reputation Institute. USAA also recently received top awards in the life, auto and home insurance categories from readers of Worth magazine.

Interestingly, USAA has developed its stellar reputation through a centralized customer service operation that caters to its mobile policyholders, unlike other large personal-lines carriers that have built customer relationships through neighborhood agents. USAA now employs 16,000 customer service agents in approximately 100 automated call distribution groups-mostly based in the carrier's San Antonio headquarters.

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