Allstate CEO Strategy: More Independent Agents But No More ‘Human Modems’

By | June 24, 2021

Allstate Corp. wants to buy more independent insurance agencies this year to build the business it acquired with its purchase of National General, Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson told Reuters on Wednesday.

But the agents will be there to talk to customers in depth, not punch data into a computer to get a quote, Wilson said at the Reuters Future of Insurance U.S.A. 2021 conference.

“There’s no future in that – no need for a human modem anymore,” Wilson said. Allstate’s strategy is to supply agents with customer data via computer to enable “a real conversation,” he said. “‘What about your 16-year-old? Is your son or daughter at college actually driving the car?’ You can have a different kind of conversation. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Allstate’s strategy stands out after a year in which many insurance companies sped up their “digital transformation” in response to the world working from home during the pandemic, and are relying more heavily on website and mobile apps to interact with customers.

Earlier this year, Allstate sold its life and annuity businesses and bought National General Holdings Corp., greatly expanding its network of agents who sell products from a variety of companies, even as Allstate’s Web and telephone sales are showing substantial growth.

On the issue of climate change, Wilson said the U.S. government should, over a period of years, get out of the money-losing flood insurance program and shift coverage to the private sector. This would help risk to be better-priced and avoid rate decisions being “embedded in some political process where some local congressperson fights against getting their rates raised because they want another 150 votes,” Wilson said.

The National Flood Insurance Program, which is $20.5 billion in debt, is being partly overhauled this year.

However, Wilson said government can play a role in insuring big climate risks – those in which it is going to pay anyway.

If a Force 5 hurricane hits Dade County, Florida, for example, the state and insurers will need help. “The federal government is going to have to come and figure out how to build the infrastructure, help people rebuild their houses,” Wilson said.

“The federal government should think about that in advance, as opposed to waiting for it to happen.”

For more on the Reuters Future of Insurance USA 2021 conference please click here.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Topics Agencies

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Latest Comments

  • February 14, 2023 at 8:36 am
    Billy Ho says:
    I've been on both sides of the fence. Allstate Agency Owner 25 years. Independent 12 Yrs. NOT even close. If you are looking to be a scratch Allstate Agency, DO NOT drink the ... read more
  • July 6, 2021 at 7:13 pm
    BusterScruggs says:
    Allstate and State Farm have been doing this for years. "Here, we have opened up the opportunity to SELL MORE, so we will just relieve you of those pesky renewal commissions t... read more
  • June 29, 2021 at 5:36 pm
    Observor says:
    It seems to me that it really does not pay to be an exclusive agent for Allstate. Your much more likely to be successful going independent because you can still sell their pro... read more

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