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GEICO Corp., one of the nation’s largest auto insurers, has reached its goal of hiring 2,500 employees in Western New York, two years ahead of schedule.

The Washington, D.C.-based insurance giant today will mark the achievement with Warren Buffett – the “Oracle of Omaha” – coming to GEICO’s Amherst service center at the CrossPoint Business Park. Buffett is CEO of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway, which owns GEICO and The Buffalo News.

He will be joined at 11 a.m. by New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, GEICO CEO Tony Nicely and other company executives, state officials and local dignitaries.

GEICO announced plans in December 2003 to build a new regional auto insurance service facility, adding 2,500 jobs over 10 years. The project received $100 million in Empire Zone tax breaks over 14 years. The $40 million, 251,000-square-foot, two-story facility was completed in September 2005 and is now one of about a dozen full-service GEICO sales, service and claims operations nationwide.

“When we built the office, we made the commitment that we would eventually get to a 2,500-associate mark by 2015,” said Kirk La, assistant vice president of the Amherst center. “We actually have gotten there a couple of years in advance, and we’re growing.”

The Amherst facility handles the company’s business in New Jersey and New England and also provides backup to GEICO’s primary New York facility on Long Island.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com