MONDAY, OCT. 8, 2018  |  IN THIS ISSUE  
GEICO President and CEO Bill Roberts (center) cuts the ribbon on the company's new North Liberty office with North Liberty Mayor Terry Donahue (center right).  
GEICO formally marked the opening of its glassy new 50,000-square-foot office building in North Liberty this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating what Iowa Director of Sales and Service Pete Rizzo called the company's "next chapter in Iowa."
"We have seen incredible growth over the past 21 years," said Mr. Rizzo, adding that the insurer began operations in Iowa in 1997 with fewer than 100 sales associates.  
Today, about 500 sales and service associates in the North Liberty office are already handling operations for a 10-state area stretching from Iowa west to New Mexico and Wyoming, and company officials say they are poised for "substantial growth," including the addition of as many as 200 additional jobs over the coming months.
"Being here in this new facility is going to help us better manage that growth moving forward," Mr. Rizzo said, also citing its central Corridor location and proximity to talented graduates. "We're very excited about our new Iowa office and we look forward to growing here for many years to come."
Company President and CEO Bill Roberts, who was on hand along with North Liberty Mayor Terry Donahue and the iconic GEICO Gecko, said the five-acre North Liberty site was chosen for its interstate visibility and its potential to draw a workforce from a wider area within the Corridor, including Cedar Rapids and other points north. He said the company decided to expand its operations in Iowa, which serves about 1.9 million of the company's some 16.5 million customers, because of the high quality of the employee pool.
"This is going to be one of the central places our expansion is going to occur," Mr. Roberts said. "Iowa just has a great workforce. They're well-educated, they bring a lot of passion, commitment and desire to serve customers and do a great job, and I think that our associates are the key to GEICO's success."
In his remarks, Mr. Donahue said the new facility has exploded the economic development potential of the city's southwest quadrant, already leading to more than $3 million in state funding to pave a 5,200-foot gravel stretch of Kansas Avenue south to Forevergreen Road, where a new Interstate 380 interchange is under construction.
The funding will also assist in the construction of a roundabout at Kansas Avenue and St. Andrews Drive - upgrades necessary, state officials noted, to assist GEICO in creating 307 new full-time jobs and investing nearly $12 million in associated capital.
"GEICO coming to this location has had an impact on the city of North Liberty already," Mr. Donahue said. "It opens our southwest gate. It opens fantastic opportunities for further growth of the community that we could not even dream of up to a years ago."
The new GEICO facility houses 400 workers formerly based in Coralville. The company has already staffed 100 new positions and is actively recruiting for new employees in sales, service and management.
PParsons resigns from GoDaddy board to chase next business
Bob Parsons
GoDaddy Inc., the world's leading cloud provider of hosting and web services for small businesses, announces that Bob Parsons has resigned from its board of directors to focus on his latest business venture.
Mr. Parsons, a tech billionaire and philanthropist who got his start founding Parsons Technology in Cedar Rapids, said he plans to devote his efforts to an array of businesses he has created under the umbrella of Yam WorldWide, a holding company with interests ranging from sports and real estate to collateralized lending.
"It's hard to describe how proud I am of the magnificent enterprise GoDaddy has become," Mr. Parsons said in a statement. "The companies I created outside of GoDaddy now demand my full time attention, so it's time for me now to resign my seat on the GoDaddy board and focus solely on Yam WorldWide."
Mr. Parsons launched Parsons Technology in 1984, eventually growing it to more than 1,000 employees. He sold that company to Intuit in 1994 for $64 million, and went on to found GoDaddy in 1997, selling a 70 percent stake to a consortium of private equity groups for $2.25 billion in 2011.
Mr. Parsons served as executive chairman of GoDaddy's board until June 2014, at which time he assumed a seat as board director. 
A public company since 2015, GoDaddy now counts 18 million customers and 77 million domain names under management. The company maintains a customer service and development office with more than 600 employees at 1 Parsons Drive in Hiawatha, the original home of Parsons Technology.
Editor's note: This is the second part in a new members-first series on cybercrime and data security, The Death of Privacy. Read the first installment at .

Whether you work for a major corporation or a two-person shop, the odds of encountering a data breach get bigger each year.

ProCircular in North Liberty is one of the first Iowa companies to get the call when a business experiences a serious breach.

"A couple of our engineers just left the office to help an accounting firm that's completely locked up," CEO Aaron Warner said in a June interview. "They'll be completely freaking out and wondering what will happen."

ProCircular and firms like it can assess the extent of the breach and what data was taken, and often advise or aid the company in getting their system resources back in the case of a ransomware attack. They also help clients build defenses into their IT systems and advise on new and emerging threats.

"Bugs - you'll see those roll across the country, starting in the morning and working their way west through the time zones," Mr. Warner said. "We'll call our client and say, 'that thing is coming our way - you need to patch for this.'"

The idea that cybercriminals only pursue a select group of prime targets, and that smaller companies will be overlooked, is one of the biggest fallacies in data security today, experts say.

Companies with less than $50 million in revenue filed 48 percent of the cyber insurance claims from 2014-2017, according to the latest NetDiligence Cyber Claims Study. Companies with less than $2 billion in revenues represented 88 percent of all reported claims. The median cost of those claims: $56,000.

Ken Schmutz, supervisory special agent at the FBI's Cyber Crimes unit in Omaha, spoke at EntreFEST in Cedar Rapids earlier this year, urging businesses to notify the FBI when they've been breached. He said he has witnessed the fallacy of businesses thinking they're under the radar of cybercriminals.

"The worst ones [data thefts] we run across, they think: 'We're small, no one will attack us.' They're the ones who've done zero preparation."

Read the full, members-first story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ.
Insurer Transamerica will pay $195 million to settle a lawsuit charging that it breached its obligations when it hiked premiums on some of its universal life insurance contracts in 2015 and 2016.
Plantiffs in the suit, Feller et al v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., held the company's adjustable universal life policies - essentially life insurance with an investment savings element and the ability to adjust the policy's premium. They said that in August 2015, the company began instituting "sudden and unilateral" monthly premium increases of nearly 40 percent on approximately 70,000 universal life policies, breaching its obligations and violating California state law.
Transamerica maintains that the premium adjustments were "necessitated by low long-term interest rates, changes in expectations as to future mortality experience, and other factors, and in accordance with the policies' contractual terms."
The settlement comes as insurance companies struggle to pay out claims on universal life contracts with generous provisions inked during times of higher rates, Investment News reports. Last year, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. and Voya Financial also upped costs on some in-force universal life policies.
The agreement creates a settlement class of all Transamerica policyholders that were subject to the 2015 and 2016 monthly deduction rate adjustments. The settlement remains subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Impacted policyholders will receive notice approved by the court with details of the settlement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Transamerica will also absorb additional costs for attorneys' fees, class notice and administration. The capital and pre-tax IFRS impacts are expected to be in the range of the amount of the settlement.
Transamerica has a 60-plus-year history in Cedar Rapids, including operations under its predecessor company, Life Investors. It has been part of the Dutch financial company Aegon N.V. for about two decades.

The Iowa Primary Care Association announced that Theodore Boesen Jr., the association's chief executive officer, will retire effective next June, the Des Moines Business Record reports.
Aaron Todd, the current chief strategy officer of the Iowa PCA, will become CEO upon Mr. Boesen's retirement. The association provides technical assistance and training to Iowa's 14 community health centers that provide primary and preventive health care to the underserved in Iowa.
Mr. Boesen is a board member of the National Association of Community Health Centers, as well as chair of the board of the Iowa Health Information Network. He has won several awards for leadership in health care, most recently the 2018 National Association of Community Health Centers Norton Wilson State/Regional Leadership Award.
Mr. Todd has held leadership roles since 2015 at the Iowa Primary Care Association and its INConcertCare and IowaHealth+ affiliates, and is currently the chief strategy officer for the three organizations.

A brief in Friday's CBJ Business Daily incorrectly described the location of 80 acres of land acquired from Transamerica by Ahmann Companies in Cedar Rapids. The land is located near Highway 100 and Edgewood Road NE. The CBJ regrets the error. 
Oct. 9
EIHRA Membership Meeting , by Eastern Iowa Human Resource Association, 7:30-9 a.m., The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids. Learn how to improve your performance with "FUEL." Featuring Gale Mote of Gale Mote Associates. Free for members, $15 for non-members. For more information or to register, visit
TechBrew AM , by Technology Association of Iowa and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 8-9 a.m., 501 First St. SE, Cedar Rapids. TAI President Brian Waller will conduct a casual interview with a local executive as part of this informal networking event. Free. Register at
Ribbon Cutting: Christa Payne - Country Financial , by Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, 4:45 p.m., 655 Liberty Way, Ste. 6, North Liberty. Free.
Oct. 10
1 Million Cups , by 1MC, 9-10 a.m., Geonetric, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids and MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Join for community connections, startup pitches and free coffee. The October theme for Cedar Rapids' meeting is corporate social responsibility. Free. For more information, visit
Iowa Tax Law Legislative Update & Capital Gain Deduction , by Iowa Department of Revenue, noon, online. This online course will provide information about tax law changes enacted during the 2018 Iowa Legislative session. Time will be left at the end for any questions. Free. To register, visit
Innovation Expo , by EDC Inc., 1-7:30 p.m., DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex, 350 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids. Innovation EXPO 2018 is a state-wide event established to enable more fruitful connections between resources and entrepreneurs. It will include afternoon pitch sessions, and culminate in a convention-like setting celebrating our area's entrepreneurial companies and individuals. For more information or to register, visit
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Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
An email from Mount Vernon Superintendent Greg Batenhorst says that students from Mount Vernon High School discovered a body at Palisades State Park on Friday afternoon. The students immediately reported to their teacher, who then reported it to authorities. Mount Vernon's principal and counselors immediately went to Palisades to provide support for the students while cooperating with authorities. Counselors were also available as soon as the students got back to school that day. The Linn County Sheriff's Office says the death does not appear suspicious.

A deadly disease drew thousands of people to downtown Cedar Rapids Sunday morning. The 28th-annual Especially For You Race Against Breast Cancer raises money to provide medical services to women in need. Breast cancer survivors showed up early to take a group photo and remember their battle and the support they received. Organizers of the event say the Cedar Rapids community is what makes their efforts possible. The Especially For You fund has helped more than 6,000 women receive medical treatment in the last decade.

T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

A warm front will lift north and produce showers and thunderstorms today. Temperatures will climb into the 70s and there will be some breaks in the rain. Later in the afternoon and evening, a few scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop. Because of the high moisture levels, any storms that develop will be capable of producing heavy rain. It will be warm again Tuesday with temperatures in the 70s, as the warm front stays up to the north. There will be a few showers early in the morning and then a break through the day before a cold front arrives. Showers and thunderstorms will move through into Wednesday morning with some heavy rain possible. Behind the front, drier and cooler air will move in.