U-Haul wants to know if you are sure you want to spend the extra money for a moving company? If not, there's AMERCO, whose principal subsidiary, U-Haul International, serves do-it-yourselfers with orange-and-white trucks, trailers, and towing devices. Founded in 1945, the company also sells packing supplies through about 15,500 independent dealers and 1,450 company-owned centers across the US and Canada. U-Haul's websites offer equipment reservations and moving information. AMERCO owns U-Haul-managed self-storage facilities and provides property and casualty insurance to U-Haul customers through Repwest. Its Oxford Life unit provides annuities, Medicare supplement, and life insurance coverage.
AMERCO operates its business through three segments: Moving and Storage (which consists of AMERCO, U-Haul, and real estate), Property and Casual Insurance (comprising Repwest and its subsidiaries and ARCOA), and Life Insurance (which includes Oxford and its subsidiaries).
The company's revenues and profits have been on the rise in recent years, inching upward each fiscal year. One of AMERCO's noteworthy revenue drops occurred in 2009 due primarily to the global recession that helped to spur decreases in both Medicare supplement premiums and property and casualty insurance premiums for the company.
Total revenues rose nearly 12% in 2012 as compared to 2011, attributable to a 34% increase in life insurance premiums when AMERCO entered into a new reinsurance agreement for a block of life insurance policies combined with increased Medicare supplement premiums. Property and casualty insurance premiums increased 6% in 2012 vs. 2011 due to a boost in equipment rental transactions and self-storage rentals. When compared to 2011 figures, net income also rose some 12% in 2012. Total revenue increases and its Life Insurance segment's new reinsurance agreement both contributed to the increase in net income, partially offset by rising total costs and expenses for the year. Spending on personal, rental equipment maintenance, and operating costs associated with the U-Box program all caused rising operating expenses for the Moving and Storage segment.
To strengthen its core moving and storage business, AMERCO ensures that its U-Haul rental equipment, self-storage facilities, and related products and services are more accessible and convenient to customers. To this end, the company offers U-Box, an on-demand storage container delivery and warehousing service, and its eMove.com website connects users with independent moving and self-storage companies that provide packing, loading, and unloading services.
AMERCO invests about $215 million, not including lease buyouts, to maintain its truck and trailer fleet. U-Haul's rental fleet consists of more than 100,000 trucks, 80,000 trailers, and 30,000 towing devices.
Sales and Marketing
AMERCO spent $10.3 million on advertising in 2012 as compared to $14.9 million in 2011. The company works to strengthen its brand awareness through direct and co-marketing arrangements. Its direct marketing activities consist of web-based advertising, print, and Yellow Pages, as well as trade events, movie cameos of the company's rental fleet and boxes, and industry and consumer communications. Because rental equipment is one of its most effective forms of advertising, AMERCO supports its independent U-Haul dealers through the advertising of U-Haul moving and self-storage rentals, products, and services. Also, the company aims to improve the capabilities of its eMove.com and uhaul.com websites as the Internet has become a major sales channel.
The company is nearly 56%-owned by the founding Shoen family. – less