Corporate Responsibility

Corporate responsibility is integral to every part of our business, from putting the customer first, to the way we develop new products, to our values and leadership principles, and to our commitment to supporting our people and embracing diversity.

Innovation is a critical element of our effort to provide a complete customer experience that emphasizes service, connectedness, safety, preparedness and security.

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By leading innovation and focusing on our customers, we’re reinventing protection and retirement.

At Allstate, innovation starts with the customer. By listening carefully to what our customers are saying, through both online surveys and conversations between customers and agency owners, we gain insight into what people want and need. Our insights allow us to develop new products, new ways of communicating and new ways of improving service. We are on the leading edge of product and service innovation in our industry and beyond as we build the next generation of “connected consumer” offerings for customers.

Coverage for All Life Stages

No matter where our customers live, what stage of life they are in, what car they drive or what type of structure they call home, Allstate offers products and services to protect and prepare them.

Whether our customers are young people moving into their first apartments, growing families buying homes or older couples downsizing their living spaces, we offer customized insurance protection to meet their individual needs. By building a relationship with a trusted advisor, our customers can work with their agency owner and financial specialist to change their coverage as their needs evolve, protecting what’s important to them in every phase of life.

Better Ways to Protect Customers’ Homes

We understand our customers’ homes are often their most valuable assets and, more than that, the foundation of their lives and emotional well-being. Allstate offers customers coverage they can count on to protect their homes, delivered through an agency owner who knows and understands their needs.

Allstate customers can tailor their home insurance coverage through our innovative House & Home™ program, expanded in 2014 to 34 states. The House & Home product gives consumers the flexibility to purchase higher and lower coverage options at competitive rates. That means that if a young couple buying their first house needs less coverage to protect that starter home, they can obtain the most appropriate coverage for their needs—no more, no less. And if an established household needs additional coverage to protect a newly finished basement, the customer can opt for an expanded policy.

House & Home also includes an optional Green Endorsement feature, which allows policyholders to replace damaged items—such as appliances, flooring and key structural items—with more environmentally friendly ones.

Finally, we’re testing ways to help customers protect their homes before misfortune strikes. Through our Home Checkup program, an Allstate inspector completes an in-home review personalized to a customer’s home-care goals and then collaborates with the homeowner to create a customized report, complete with photos and maintenance considerations.

Allstate wants to help homeowners identify changes they can make in their homes today, helping them prevent big problems tomorrow. This preventative approach means our customers are protected today, and can potentially lessen their risk of damage or loss in the future.

Simplifying the Claims Process

Customers who file claims are often under tremendous stress, in many cases having just suffered significant damage or injury. Our goal is to make filing a claim as fast, fair and easy as possible, and in 2014, we tested ways to streamline that procedure for auto liability claims.

We began with a comprehensive review of our auto liability claims process that we call End 2 End. We identified each interaction between customers and Allstate employees and evaluated them through the lens of both customers and employees. In doing so, we created a new claim experience by limiting the number of claim professionals that each customer had to contact to resolve his or her claim.

Through the End 2 End process redesign work, we found that we were able to reduce the number of different claim professionals the average customer dealt with from 4.5 to 2.1 on average. We did this by creating a claim owner that assumed an expanded claim-handling role. The claim owner became responsible for all aspects of the claim settlement, including:

  • Reaching an agreement on liability with the at-fault insurance carrier and for expediting the customer deductible upon agreement
  • Informing insureds and claimants when supplemental damage to their vehicles is identified and explaining the impact to repair time and rental car extension
  • Incorporating the explanation of medical payment or personal injury protection coverage and process as part of the initial loss fact-gathering contact rather than having a medical specialist perform the explanation
To date, 1,800 employees across our claims organization have participated in coaching sessions, team meetings and brainstorming gatherings.

Customers have reported an increase in satisfaction, and employees, who are now empowered to serve those customers in a broad, holistic manner, are developing additional claim-handling skills. We will be implementing these process changes in the second and third quarters of 2015, and a similar effort with property claims will begin in 2015 as well.

Employees who work with customers every day have important insights into how to better serve them. To capture these insights, Allstate implemented a continuous improvement initiative to identify opportunities for an enhanced claims process. To date, 1,800 employees across our claims organization have participated in coaching sessions, team meetings and brainstorming gatherings.

Technology also makes processing claims simpler and easier:

  • Allstate’s QuickFoto application now allows roughly 600 customers a day to file auto claims by snapping a photo with their smartphones. Using the app, customers can take pictures, submit a claim and receive payment, typically within a few days.
  • In 2014, all Allstate claims adjusters were assigned iPads to enable them to use FaceTime video-calling capabilities, as well as wireless printers, to allow them to facilitate more immediate on-site settlements. Customers who live in remote rural areas, or who are isolated by a disaster’s damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure caused by natural disasters, can now communicate directly with adjusters, using videos to document their claims for rapid settlement. We even used the technology to help an American soldier on tour in Afghanistan settle a claim back home (see sidebar).
  • Fast Mobile e-Payment, launched in 2014, sets a new industry standard for fast, easy claims payment. Fast Mobile requires only an email address or mobile phone number in order to process a digital payment, eliminating the wait time and paper waste that can occur with “snail mail” and lost checks. The new solution is faster than all existing payment methods, including an electronic funds transfer. It is now available across the U.S. and works with any bank for all Allstate auto and property insurance claims that have a single payee.

Bringing an Active-Duty Soldier into the Claims Conversation

In March 2014, a violent storm rained golf ball–sized hailstones down on Killeen, Texas, causing extensive damage to cars and homes throughout the region. Allstate claims adjuster Mia Lawrenz began working immediately on the claims in her area. Though many customers had significant issues, Mia was especially struck by the situation that one family faced: The husband was on active duty in Afghanistan when the storm hit, damaging his home’s roof.

When the soldier’s spouse seemed uncomfortable navigating the claims process alone, Mia arranged a FaceTime meeting to connect her with her husband and allow them to view the damage and make decisions about repairs as a couple. During their FaceTime session, Mia covered information about the claim and provided the couple with tips and tools on the best way to handle the next steps. The couple was able to ask questions together and get immediate answers. By the end of the call, they had a clear plan in place to repair the damages.

“The couple were both very appreciative of the time I took to cover the claim process from beginning to end. After the [FaceTime session] had ended, Jennifer expressed her gratitude for taking the time to go over it a second time.” —Mia Lawrenz, Allstate Claims Adjuster

Improving Access to Information

Using data in innovative ways can provide increased protection for our customers. Here are some of the ways our customers benefited from improved information flow in 2014.

  • Connected Home: Customers in Nevada and Utah now receive discounts on their home policies if they install a Connected Home monitoring device that provides information about intruder alarms, smoke detection, carbon monoxide leaks, lighting, temperature level and appliance usage. Although we are still developing this technology, we are actively exploring partnerships with other Connected Home suppliers to extend this protection to more customers.
  • The Allstate Digital Locker®: The Allstate Digital Locker® application allows customers to keep an online inventory of all of their personal property, accessible instantly via phone or Internet connection, to expedite the claims process in the event of a fire, natural disaster or other event.
  • Drivewise: We expanded Drivewise, the innovative program that rewards customers for safe, responsible driving behavior. Through a mobile app or plug-in device, customers are informed of their risky driving behaviors such as making sudden stops, driving at high speeds and driving late at night, and can earn cash back on their insurance for driving safely. We are proud to be the first major U.S. insurance company with a mobile app to reward safe driving. At year-end 2014, Drivewise was available in 46 states, up 16 from 2013.

Responding to Flooding in New York State

A connected workforce can share information quickly, meaning Allstate can serve our customers more effectively when disaster strikes. That was the case in August 2014 when one of our Allstate offices began receiving calls about damage to cars after historic flash floods in Long Island and New York City. Because of internal process improvements across the company, that office was able to immediately notify the appropriate local Allstate office in New York, whose team could initiate immediate action to see that customer claims were speedily resolved.

Hail Damage Detection

Severe storms over the past several years have driven a dramatic increase in automobile hail-damage claims. In 2013, the last year for which data was available, the Insurance Information Institute found that hail caused some $1.2 billion in property damage, more than any other natural disaster except tornadoes.1

Being able to accurately and expeditiously help customers who have suffered hail damage to their vehicle is critical after a customer experiences a loss. Allstate tested hail detection technology via high-resolution scanners in 2014. A Mobile Assessment Center (MAC), composed of multiple cameras and sensors, was developed in 2015. These centers count the dents and determine the severity of damage, creating an accurate repair invoice in less than five minutes. The MAC will be used in 2015, allowing us to serve customers faster shortly after a storm event.

Emerging Trends

The technology landscape is rapidly changing with the emergence of new technologies, the sophisticated use of data and consumer demand. Customers expect that companies understand their unique needs and are able to service those needs in a hassle-free and seamless experience. Through strategic planning along with partnerships with academia, industry groups and research consortiums, we invest in developing new capabilities in the areas of people, process, information and technology to create innovative solutions to improve the claim experience for our customers and through that, continue to create competitive advantage in loss costs and expense management. Our current areas of focus include:

  • Customer Preference: We are looking for ways to interact with customers in the way they choose, employing integrated communication capabilities to enable customers and employees to move from a channel of personal interaction to digital interaction seamlessly throughout the claim experience.
  • Data and Analytics: Our team continually develops new ways to model, predict and inform our processes and outcomes. We use critical data and data patterns to understand customer needs as well as augmented intelligence to develop data-driven decisions around repair cost.
  • Virtual Interactions: Customers, agents, partners and claim professionals interact dynamically using a combination of voice, video, photo, data, annotation and documentation sharing. This allows us to serve customers, handle claims and knowledge share among claim professionals seamlessly. We are currently exploring ways to use drones and drone technologies in our business.
  • Digital and Mobile: We look for new ways for customers, agents and employees to engage, access expanded services and have control over their claim experience, as well as new tools for our employees to improve the efficiency of their day-to-day workflow.

1 “Hail,” Insurance Information Institute,

We are committed to identifying claims with a strong likelihood of fraudulent activity.

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The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that fraud costs insurance companies at least $80 billion a year, a sum that is passed along to consumers in higher premiums.1

At Allstate, we know the vast majority of our customers are honest, and it is these hard-working people who pay the price for insurance fraud. As a result, we are committed to using all the tools at our disposal to identify claims with a strong likelihood of fraudulent activity.

Leveraging Big Data

Sophisticated models, developed by our Special Investigation Unit (SIU), help us spot fraud in the marketplace. That fraud can be simple, involving only one or two criminals, or complex and interconnected, with dozens of people working in tightly coordinated rings to collect on fraudulent insurance claims.

We continually update these models to ensure our investigators have access to the best possible data at any given time. After a recent overhaul, for instance, we shortened the time it took to refresh our databases with new information from 96 hours to just under five hours. That allows our investigators to catch criminals quickly, before they’ve had a chance to rack up big claims.

Prosecuting Criminals

The combination of cutting-edge data analysis and experienced field investigators has had a powerful impact in combatting fraud. In 2014, we submitted 30 civil actions against fraud perpetrators, seeking damages of more than $56 million.

Big Data as a Force for Good

Big data is a force for good in preventing insurance fraud, but can it also keep you from getting a stomachache? Maybe. For the past two years, Allstate’s Quantitative Research & Analytics (QR&A) data analysis team has been helping the city of Chicago develop data models to predict and optimize where to inspect for food poisoning in the 15,000 restaurants that serve its millions of residents and visitors every year. By using data models provided by Allstate, the City of Chicago was able to find critical violations earlier than it could otherwise, enabling it to protect Chicago citizens from food-related illness more effectively.

1 Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, website:

Allstate Investments manages a total portfolio of approximately $80 billion in assets on behalf of Allstate businesses and pension plans.

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These assets are invested to support Allstate’s claims-paying abilities in home and auto insurance and to provide financial security to policyholders through our life insurance and annuity products. While our portfolio is primarily invested to generate competitive returns while keeping risk to appropriate levels, we are proud to also incorporate social responsibility into our overall approach.

To manage these investments, our seasoned team employs sophisticated economic forecasting tools and a strategic asset allocation approach. We align our investment portfolio with our company’s liabilities, matching each portfolio’s asset allocation with the risk constraints, time horizon and return requirements of the business it supports.

We manage these investments to produce solid returns and meet business objectives that may also advance social goals like environmental protection, home ownership, community development and creating opportunities for diverse talent.

Of the total portfolio, roughly $900 million is invested in socially responsible investments. As of 2014, these investments include $52 million of fixed income; equity and other assets; a low-income-housing tax credit (LIHTC) portfolio of $560 million; and a renewable energy portfolio of $236 million. The portfolio also includes approximately $50 million of commitments out of a total $100 million allocation to invest in a new Diversity Emerging Managers program.

Nurturing Diverse Talent in Asset Management

Women and minorities are underrepresented in many areas of the labor force, but perhaps nowhere so starkly as in the private equity and real estate private equity investment sectors. We designed Allstate’s Diversity Emerging Managers program to identify the next generation of top-performing women and minority investment managers, and in 2014, the program made significant progress toward that goal.

Allstate’s partner, Grosvenor Capital Management, identified a number of highly qualified women- and minority-owned firms for consideration in the program. Allstate ultimately committed $50 million of the $100 million allocated in 2013 to five minority- or women-owned firms, three of which focus on private equity and two of which invest in real estate.

These are multiyear commitments to the managers we have chosen, and we will be monitoring performance closely as funds are invested and returns realized. We expect to invest the remaining $50 million in 2015.

In addition to the capital commitment, the firms will receive business development training from Grosvenor Capital Management to help the firm build expertise in management, finance, marketing and other areas that will allow them to grow and evolve their investment practices and framework to institutional-quality levels.

“While we recognize that the private equity and private real estate sectors have low women and minority representation, we were encouraged that there were so many solid candidates for the program. We have established relationships with exceptional young firms that will provide long-term investment return potential, while establishing Allstate as an innovator and catalyst for social change. We are proud to open doors for these exceptional managers and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their potential.” —Edgar Alvarado, Allstate’s Group Head of Real Estate Equity

Bringing on an Investment Partner: Estancia Capital

The post–credit crunch years, from 2008 onward, have been tough ones for new private equity funds, with many institutional investors cutting back on allocations to all but the most time-tested managers. Estancia Capital’s Michael Mendez says this was the climate in which his fund existed when he began raising money for it in 2010.

Because Mendez is Latino and his partners Asian, Estancia qualified for investment from Grosvenor Capital (then Credit Suisse), one of Allstate’s partners in the Diversity and Emerging Managers program. Grosvenor offered to commit $25 million if Estancia was able to raise an additional $75 million. In January 2014, Allstate committed $9 million to the fund, negotiating terms that were beneficial to all investors. Shortly after Allstate’s investment, two other key partners invested as well. By the time Estancia’s fund closed, it had $180 million to invest.

According to Mendez, Allstate’s involvement has been a game-changer: “Allstate’s investment helped us get to the next level, giving our firm recurring revenue that allowed us to add two new senior members to our team.”

Impact Community Capital

Allstate has been an investor in Impact Community Capital (ICC), which invests in low-income housing in California, since the program’s inception in 1998. The program was founded to create socially responsible insurance company investments in California’s low-income communities. Over its 16-year history, the organization has financed almost 28,000 affordable housing units nationally, including multifamily, senior and special needs units. It is currently committed to funding another 15,000 affordable units over the next two years.

Since 2000, Allstate has helped Impact Community Capital increase its ability to finance affordable housing by investing in securitized loans packaged by its Impact Community Impact Loan (Impact CIL) affiliate. Impact CIL purchases mortgage loans on newly constructed or rehabilitated affordable multifamily housing properties, most of which are eligible for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). When the mortgage pool reaches an optimal size, the loans are securitized. Under the Community Impact Loan Program, Impact CIL has provided more than $600 million of financing on project loans containing more than 20,000 low-income housing units.

“Securitization enables us to recycle the capital Allstate and other investors have made available for the affordable multifamily mortgage loan program,” said Impact President and CEO Dan Sheehy. “Through it, we can multiply the amount of affordable housing made available to low-income and moderate-income individuals and families.”

At Allstate, we recognize that the goods and services we buy, and whom we buy them from, help shape the world we live in.

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As a result, we integrate diversity and sustainability criteria into all our purchasing decisions, using our procurement budget of more than $5.8 billion a year to be a force for good. How? Suppliers who share our commitment to safeguarding the environment and supporting our communities become our valued partners. Emerging businesses that can create jobs and economic growth in disadvantaged neighborhoods receive training and business opportunities from us. And we learn continually from our suppliers, as they do from us, about better ways to achieve our goals.

Emerging Challenges

Our supply chain programs are continually evolving to reflect emerging trends in diversity and sustainability.

  • Millennials are the most diverse generation of Americans ever, and harnessing their talent and energy will require an increased focus on inclusiveness. This generation is also among the most entrepreneurial in recent memory. Many of them will not be joining corporate America, but rather starting their own businesses, so we need to adapt our supply chain infrastructure to interact with start-ups and other nontraditional structures.
  • Minority-owned businesses will continue to be catalysts for renewal in underserved neighborhoods. Helping these businesses grow and develop can have impact on whole communities.

Environmental Impacts

In 2014, we significantly increased our focus on supplier environmental sustainability, adding sustainability requirements into key supplier contracts and incorporating sustainability criteria into relevant supplier scorecards. We also continue to proactively encourage our suppliers to adopt sustainable business practices such as energy-, emissions- and paper-reduction efforts. As a result, a core group of our suppliers are asked to report such efforts to us each year. To learn more, visit our Supplier Code of Conduct.

We also sought to understand where our strategic suppliers stood on a variety of sustainability criteria so that we could set benchmarks for future progress. In 2014, we asked roughly 150 of our most strategic suppliers to complete a sustainability survey for the first time.

From the survey, we gained insight into the environmental programs of several of our strategic partners, including sustainability leaders such as Accenture, AT&T and Marriott.

Our supplier survey found that among our key partners:

  • 42% produce annual corporate responsibility reports
  • 73% have environmental and sustainability policies
  • 50% have formal sustainability goals and measurements
  • 69% measure reduction in paper consumption
  • 42% report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the CDP
  • 31% have completed a sustainability materiality assessment

We see from the survey that there is room for improvement, even among the most forward-looking suppliers. We hope over the next several years to also use the survey as a tool for sharing best practices and advocating for continued progress among our partners. Just as important, the survey signals to our suppliers that sustainability is important to Allstate and sets expectations for the future.

In 2015, we plan to build on our progress by developing a sustainability road map for key suppliers, which will include educational and training resources on sustainability practices for the most strategic suppliers in every supply chain category.

Supplier Diversity

This year, Allstate’s total spend with diverse businesses increased by $30 million—to a total of $439.6 million—in a period of strong growth for the company. Although we continued to emphasize supply chain diversity, the increase in purchasing spend slightly outpaced our spend with diverse suppliers. Our diverse spend slipped slightly to 8.2 percent in 2014 from 8.3 percent in 2013. However, within this context, spending with both veteran- and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-owned suppliers increased. We remain committed to our long-term goal of 9 percent diverse spending.

Allstate recognizes minority, women and veteran enterprises as those that are at least 51 percent owned and operated by minorities, veterans or women. Minority suppliers include: LGBT, African-American, Hispanic-American, Native American, and Asian- and Pacific Islander–American (Asian-Indian included).

To be eligible for our Supplier Diversity Program, a company must provide certification as a minority-, woman-, veteran- or LGBT-owned business by one of the following councils:

  • The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC)
  • The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Veterans Enterprise Vendor Information Pages (VIP) database

We evaluate progress by measuring our targeted spend in the first five categories listed below. We also measure our inclusive spend in all 13 categories identified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as diverse and of special interest in meeting statutory obligations. These include:

  • Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs)
  • Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBEs)
  • Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBEs)
  • Disabled Business Enterprises (DIS)
  • Disabled Veterans Business Enterprises (DVETs)
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs)
  • Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs)
  • Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUB Zone)
  • Small Business Administration 8(a) Program (SBA8(a))
  • Small Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (SDBs)
  • Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VETs)
  • Small Business Enterprises (SBEs)
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender–Owned Business Enterprises (LGBTQs)*

* Additionally, Allstate includes businesses certified by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as owned by a member of the LGBT community.

Building Ties with Diverse Groups Through Memberships

Allstate works with select organizations to help identify successful practices in supplier diversity, conduct national benchmarking and connect with diverse suppliers at a variety of forums. Allstate is a member of the:

  • National Minority Supplier Development Council
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National Veteran-Owned Business Association
  • National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce

Industry Recognition

Our supply chain diversity efforts were recognized by two respected external organizations in 2014. Allstate was named to The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s 15th annual list of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises. Allstate received WBENC’s Bronze award for the year, which honors corporations for leading supplier diversity programs that are breaking down barriers and proactively integrating women’s business enterprises into their supply chains. In addition, in early 2015, Allstate was nominated for its work in 2014 as a top corporation for LGBTQ by the NGLCC.

Training the Next Generation of Diverse Suppliers

Small businesses are a catalyst for economic growth, job creation and social stability in disadvantaged communities. At Allstate, we know this to be true—we are a national network of small businesses and seek to provide the best small business opportunities in America. Minority business owners often stay in their communities, supporting neighborhood organizations and hiring local employees. By recognizing and developing diverse entrepreneurial talent, Allstate helps support real, sustainable improvements in underserved areas. In fact, we view programs like our annual Supplier Diversity Exchange and our diverse-business mentoring as essential complements to programs like Get IN Chicago that address urban violence.

Allstate hosted its seventh annual Supplier Diversity Exchange on October 13, 2014. The theme of the event was “Pitch to Win.” Fourteen diverse companies attended, pitching their businesses to a panel of Allstate decision-makers responsible for the purchasing of goods and services, as well as to Allstate strategic partners and suppliers. Several participating companies have already received business from Allstate suppliers since the event.

Mentoring can be critical in helping promising new businesses build the management, marketing and financial systems that can allow them to achieve their potential. In 2014, we selected 11 diverse business owners for mentoring, up from 10 in previous years, offering them coaching, training, education, access to resources and networking opportunities. We also expanded the pool of eligible companies to include start-up companies, allowing us to include a very exciting new company called Servabo.

Servabo: Mentoring an Emerging Business to Reach New Heights

Nishana Ismail and Tim Deppen were both engineering students at the University of Illinois when they learned that many female college students were afraid of being attacked as they walked home on campus late at night. These students had good reason to be wary: Roughly one in five college women become targets of attempted or completed sexual assault while enrolled, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Justice.3

In response, Ismail and Deppen invented Shadow, a small, Bluetooth-enabled personal safety device that can be worn in different configurations like key chains, wristbands and other personal accessories. By clicking a button, users can send a message and their location to selected contacts.

Servabo was one of 11 new companies identified last year by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition’s Corporate-Startup Challenge to compete for Allstate funding and partnership. The panel, which included Allstate CEO Tom Wilson and senior members of the executive team, loved the product and immediately saw how it could align with Allstate’s mission to protect people, especially victims of domestic violence. But at the time of the competition, Servabo was still too new and lacked the manufacturing and operational infrastructure to become a supplier for Allstate. The company was instead selected for the Allstate Mentoring Program. Allstate Roadside Services worked with Servabo’s entrepreneurs to help them build the capabilities and infrastructure that would take them to the next level.

In 2015, Servabo was able to launch a crowdfunding campaign to provide financing for a large-scale launch of their product. The campaign generated a lot of interest and support, and we are currently working with international partners to bring Shadow to markets worldwide.


Jimmy Jamm’s Sweet Potato Pies: A New Face on Main Street

In 2013’s report, we introduced readers to Mrs. Wright’s Popcorn, a much-loved supplier of gourmet popcorn on “Main Street” at Allstate’s Northbrook campus. Allstate originally found Mrs. Wright’s while looking for another supplier from the same neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Jimmy Jamm’s Sweet Potato Pies’ owners, Harold and Jimmy Ferguson, declined at first to participate in the Main Street initiative and sent us over to Mrs. Wright’s. But over the course of a year, the Fergusons heard a lot from Frances and Cedric Wright about their successful partnership with Allstate. Today, both suppliers sell their snacks on Main Street.

Liberty & Church: Expanding into Chicago as a Result of Allstate Partnership

Liberty & Church, an LGBT-owned digital and print communication design company, graduated from the Allstate Mentoring Program in 2012, and the lessons that Founder and Managing Partner Robert Raasch learned in the program have continued to pay off. The training that Allstate mentors provided on information technology, marketing, leadership development and human resource management has allowed Raasch and his business partner, Brian Porea, to grow their San Francisco–based business, add staff and attract new clients. In 2014, Liberty & Church opened a second office in Chicago, not far from Allstate’s corporate office, which has become a major client.

At Allstate, our inclusive diversity programs help us recognize the value of contributions from all of our stakeholders. We’re proud of our workforce’s diversity.

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Individuals thrive and perform at their highest levels when the environment welcomes different perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. Studies have shown profound links between inclusive diversity and innovation, employee engagement and community involvement. At Allstate, leveraging the collective mixture of individual differences and similarities improves business outcomes for our workforce, the marketplace and our communities. We recognize the value of contributions from all of our employees, agency owners, financial specialists and stakeholders, regardless of their race, gender, age, sexual preference or other characteristics.

“We highly value inclusive diversity because when you bring people with different experiences together, you generate more creativity, broader perspectives to solve difficult problems, and better business results for our shareholders and customers,” said Mike Escobar, Vice President, Diversity and Organizational Effectiveness.

We take pride in the diversity of our workforce. Fifty-six percent of our employees are women and 33 percent are minorities. Among agency owners, 25 percent are women and 20 percent are minorities. We have diverse representation at the highest levels of our company—42 percent of our officers and managers are female and 22 percent are minorities.

In 2014, Allstate was included in DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list for the fourth year in a row. Companies in the DiversityInc survey are rated in four categories: Talent Pipeline, Equitable Talent Development, CEO/Leadership Commitment and Supplier Diversity. To be included on the Top 50 list, companies must score above average in all four areas and demonstrate strong consistency across the board in their diversity management initiatives. Allstate ranked 37 out of over 1,200 global companies, earning recognition for our strong leadership commitment, mentoring program and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

Survey Results Demonstrate Inclusiveness

Our employees also continue to tell us they feel valued and included through our annual VOICE survey. Allstaters responded positively again this year when asked if they agreed with statements including: “I can be myself at work”; “My team has a climate in which diverse perspectives are valued”; “The people I work with regularly seek diverse perspectives and experiences when determining the best course of action”; “The leaders of my work area leverage the diverse perspectives and experiences of their employees to drive better business results”; and “Allstate’s top leadership demonstrates visible commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.”

This year, Allstate employees in Northern Ireland and India were included in the VOICE survey for the first time. We found some pockets of opportunity to increase diversity awareness in both locations, where women and minority workers felt less able to contribute ideas or make career progress. Standards and expectations around inclusive diversity vary across cultures and geographic locations. We hope to address these issues over time, while remaining sensitive to local customs.

Employee Resource Groups

Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) provide Allstaters with opportunities to connect with colleagues, grow personally and make a difference for our company and our communities. In 2014, these groups grew to include more than 6,500 members, doubling participation in just three years. Participation has also spread beyond our home office campuses to regional locations throughout the U.S.; there are now 57 ERG chapters.

Today, more than 20 percent of Allstaters participate in one or more of the following ERGs:

  • 3AN, Allstate Asian-American Network
  • AAN, Allstate Adoption Network
  • AAWN, African-American Working Network
  • AVETS, Allstate Veteran Engagement Team and Supporters
  • AWIN, Allstate Women’s “I” Network
  • PLAN, Professional Latino Allstate Network
  • PWT, Parents Working Together
  • YPO, Young Professionals Organization

As these groups have grown, their purpose has evolved beyond networking and career development. For example:

  • Allstate Veterans Engagement Team and Supporters partnered with Agency Operations on the Military Veteran Licensed Service Professional (LSP) Insurance Training Program, helping train about 80 veterans to become LSPs in Allstate agencies.
  • The Professional Latino Allstate Network (PLAN) partnered with our talent acquisition team to refer Latino professionals for openings. PLAN has a dedicated email address to which members can send referrals. The group also sponsors and coaches candidates through the process. PLAN had the most referrals of any ERG in 2014 and was rewarded with additional funding for its 2015 recruiting efforts.
  • 3AN, Allstate’s Asian-American Network, provides language support and feedback on cultural relevancy to business units that create materials for Asian customers. A special group within 3AN volunteers for language review and focus group sessions to help develop Asian-targeted marketing programs and communications.

ERGs have also been actively involved in community outreach, volunteering a total of 14,000 hours in 2014. Many of the groups focus on youth empowerment. For instance, the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) mentors Allstate interns and works with POSSE Scholars, a group of talented, diverse students selected by the POSSE Foundation for four-year, full-tuition scholarships at its partner colleges. These individuals are expected to act as catalysts for change at the colleges they attend.

Leadership Training and Pipeline Development

Diversity is built into all of our leadership training, as we work to develop the next generation of inclusive leaders. We continue to cultivate a diverse talent pipeline, particularly in business areas that have historically been less diverse. In 2014, our diverse hiring increased by 10.5 percent compared to 2013 levels, and promotions of diverse staff increased by 6.5 percent year-on-year. Allstate also increased retention of diverse employees, reducing turnover among these employees by 2.3 percent in 2014.

Idea Blitzes for Innovation

Creativity flourishes when everyone’s ideas are considered equally, so we see a culture of inclusiveness as critical to Allstate’s ability to innovate. In 2014, we began to harness the power of diverse thinking through regularly scheduled “idea blitzes.” In these sessions, people from every area of our company, from a variety of backgrounds, joined together to brainstorm ways to solve business problems.

That effort has blossomed into a grassroots campaign to champion innovation, driven by an idea to provide a forum that will allow all employees to bring their ideas to the table. Our Senior Vice President of Innovation, Howard Hayes, oversees this new group and brings in senior officers as an advisory council. Although the initiative is still evolving, we hope it will unearth many valuable insights into ways to serve our customers more effectively and manage our business more sustainably.

Embracing Difference in Sexual Orientation

When David Boyd, Subrogation Claims Service Specialist, was looking for a new career in 2012, he expected to struggle finding a workplace in the South where he could be open about his sexuality. He said, however, that from his first interview, leadership at Allstate’s offices in Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta have shown him only support.

Today, David keeps a picture of his husband on his desk, and reveled in his coworkers’ excitement as the couple planned their wedding last April. He loves coming to work and sharing stories with a colleague who is Hindu, saying they learn through each other’s experiences.

“I grew up [in Birmingham]; we’re supposed to be backwoods and closed-minded,” Boyd said. “But when I came to Allstate, I was blown away at the level of diversity through the whole building. I said, ‘This is fantastic. This is the type of company I want to be with. I understand why people stay here 30, 40 years.’”

Employees at Allstate give their all to supporting agency owners and financial specialists and driving our company’s success.

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We support our employees and, by extension, our customers by providing resources to support them in being physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and financially strong. We also provide employees access to a multitude of career development options and resources, allowing each individual to pursue their personal career objectives.

Survey Results

Employees are a Force for Good at Allstate as they share their insights into how the company can improve all aspects of our operations. We want to know what employees think about the company, what they think Allstate is doing well and where they would like to see improvement. One way that employees share those insights is through our annual VOICE survey, which measures employee opinions on 11 categories pertaining to the work experience at Allstate. In addition, Allstate conducts two “Good Work” surveys and two “Good Life” surveys to obtain more in-depth insights about our work environment and employee well-being.

In 2014, the VOICE survey showed continued high levels of engagement among Allstate employees. Eighty percent of Allstaters participated in the survey in 2014, up 2 percent since 2013. Respondents gave Allstate a 75 percent or higher favorable rating on 10 out of 11 survey categories. (Rewards and Opportunity came in slightly below this level.)

Allstate also outperformed its competitive benchmark on 27 out of 29 survey items for which a benchmark was available; the Mayflower Group, a consortium of 42 companies that employ at least 7,500 employees and administer robust employee opinion surveys, sets these benchmarks. This was the first year Allstate’s business units in India and Northern Ireland were included in the VOICE survey, allowing us to view global trends in engagement and satisfaction.

The survey demonstrated how strongly employees identify with the company’s strong commitment to customers. Employees ranked their company highest for Customer Focus, with an 86 percent favorable rating. They also responded more positively to the statement “I have a clear understanding of my customers’ needs” than to any other item in the survey, with a 95 percent favorable rating. This item was also a key driver of morale. Employees also felt very positively about Allstate’s Inclusive Diversity, with an 85 percent favorable rating. Attitudes about top leadership, employee benefits, having the resources to do quality work and confidence in Allstate’s strategy all showed significant improvements over 2013 results.

The survey also highlighted a strong connection between employee engagement and business results. Internal research shows that Allstate employees who score higher on the VOICE Engagement Index are less likely to voluntarily leave the company, are more likely to receive high performance ratings and achieve, on average, higher customer service ratings.

80% of Allstaters participated in the VOICE survey in 2014, and respondents gave Allstate a 75% or higher favorable rating on 10 out of 11 survey categories.

Attracting and Retaining Employees

Over the past several years, the labor market has improved dramatically, driving increased competition for the best, most qualified workers. In the 2014 VOICE survey, about three-quarters of Allstate employees report an “intent to stay,” a figure that is in line with that of our corporate competitors but down slightly from previous years.

Employees stay when they know that they have great opportunities inside the company. For the past several years, we’ve focused on growing our internal recruiting effort through the Enterprise Talent Market, which better enables current employees to apply for positions throughout the company. Since 2011, internal hiring has doubled from about 20 percent to 40 percent.

Employees with good prospects for salary increases and increasing responsibilities in their current positions are also more likely to stay with the company. In 2014, to provide better incentives for entry-level professionals and claims adjusters, we increased the number of salary bands from four to seven. This will allow for more frequent promotions for talented new employees.

Allstate had a terrific year in 2013 and to celebrate, we kicked off 2014 with an enterprise-wide event called Rally for Good.

Rewarding Great Performance

Allstate also kicked off the Be a Force for Good program in 2014, a grassroots, peer-to-peer recognition of extraordinary customer-focused performance. This year, some 6,000 employees nominated their peers for the award. Winners, representing a quarter of Allstate workers, were eligible to receive prizes. More importantly, the contest showed how deeply the Force for Good idea is embedded in our company’s culture.

Good Work. Good Life. Good Hands.®

People do their best work for customers when they feel good themselves. That’s why Allstate employees have access to a full array of market-competitive benefits to support their physical health, financial security and work-life balance.

For instance, we know people are more likely to make healthy choices like exercising, eating right and getting checkups when they are influenced by their peers to do so. We have a network of over 200 well-being champions throughout our organization. These employees are empowered to create a culture of well-being in over 100 Allstate offices.

We also recognize that people take better care of themselves when they have the tools to participate in their own health decisions. This year, 28,742 Allstaters took part in online health self-assessments, which can help employees identify their strengths and potential problem areas and help them initiate a productive conversation with their doctors. Over 3,200 employees took advantage of health coaching to work on any issue of their choice, such as reducing stress or changing food habits. Employees and spouses earned 54,860 wellness incentives.

Financial well-being is just as important as physical well-being in supporting employees’ ability to do their best work. In 2014, we made a major overhaul to our retirement plan, offering all employees a fixed match of 80 cents for every dollar they contribute to their 401(k), up to 5 percent of one’s salary, while shifting all employees to a cash balance pension plan. Prior to this change, some employees had a defined contribution pension benefit and some had a cash balance pension benefit. This change puts all employees on the same footing and brings Allstate’s benefits in line with competitive norms. Employees have responded very positively: In the VOICE survey, satisfaction with retirement benefits rose significantly after the shift.

Allstate also continued to provide financial well-being seminars, a financial well-being self-assessment and telephone counseling for employees. In 2014, for the first time, we offered all employees basic life insurance coverage of up to $100,000 at no cost and no underwriting qualifications.

Supporting Agency Owners and Financial Specialists

Agency owners, financial specialists and agency staff are Allstate to our customers. These are the trusted advisors people turn to for guidance on how to protect their homes, vehicles and other personal property as well as how to manage their life insurance and retirement investment needs. They are the individuals our customers seek out when disaster strikes. And they are entrepreneurs who play an outsized role in their communities, dedicating their time, money and knowledge to making life better in towns all across the U.S.

Because agency owners and financial specialists are so important to our customers, Allstate provides them with comprehensive support. Our goal is to make owning an Allstate agency the best small business opportunity in America, and we made significant headway in 2014.

In 2014, overall satisfaction among exclusive agency owners increased by 3 percent to 78 percent. Satisfaction among exclusive financial specialists stayed constant at 70 percent, while satisfaction among Allstate Independent Agencies saw a gain of four points to 90 percent.

Upgrading Capabilities

In 2014, we continued our work to increase agency owners’ capacity and efficiency through enhanced technology offerings. For example, eAgent, an online agency management system, gives agency owners and financial specialists a more holistic view of their businesses, as well as better insight on the household solutions customers may need. Today, more than 80 percent of Allstate agencies utilize this optional system.

Another area of focus was cybersecurity. In 2014, we launched a program called Agency Desktop Reinvention to upgrade the hardware and software at all agency locations. Allstate provides agency owners with all the resources and technology expertise needed to guide them through the process. It’s a major push to further protect all of our customers’ data and personal information.

eAgent, an online agency management system, gives agency owners and financial specialists a more holistic view of their businesses. Today, more than 80% of Allstate agencies utilize this optional system.

Facilitating Engagement

Agency owners and financial specialists are our public face in the communities where they live and work, and they often take active roles in local charitable organizations. In 2014, we began to restructure our social impact programs, including Teen Safe Driving and Purple Purse Domestic Violence Awareness, to give agency owners and financial specialists the opportunity to activate these programs in their communities. Agency owners and financial specialists will also take charge of local youth empowerment activities through our new partnership with Free the Children and We Day.

Recognizing Excellence

In 2014, Allstate recognized exceptional achievement and engagement in communities among agency owners and financial specialists through the Ray Lynch Community Service Award.

Enhancing Education

We are also enhancing the education we give new agency owners to enable them to become even more successful business owners from the start. In 2014, we tested a number of different approaches through pilot programs. In one pilot, new agency owner candidates worked closely with an experienced agency owner. In other pilots, new agency owner candidates spent time interacting with customers and prospective customers in Customer Care Centers. These new approaches are intended to help agency owners learn more quickly through real-world insights and best practices and increase the overall level of service they provide to customers.

Managing Stress with Thrive Week

According to the 2013 Wellbeing Assessment, stress was the No. 3 health risk factor for Allstate employees (behind body weight and blood pressure), as it is for many adults across the country. In November 2014, Allstate Good Life partnered with the Good Work team and the ERGs to engage employees in various seminars and webinars about how to manage stress. The Thrive Week program featured one speaker per day, addressing topics that included optimism, positivity, overcoming adversity, feeling overwhelmed and meditation.

Elizabeth Smart, whose kidnapping and sexual assault survival story gripped the nation, gave a stirring talk about overcoming adversity. Nearly two-thirds of Allstaters surveyed about the program said that Smart’s presentation was the most impactful.

“Life throws us many ‘curveballs,’ but there is this wellspring of hope within us that we can nurture to escalate into a waterfall of action. Thank you, Allstate, for hosting Elizabeth! I’m proud to work for this company that values employee well-being in all aspects!” —Mary Varughese, Project Manager at Allstate

More than 4,000 Allstaters participated in Thrive Week, either in person or through Allstate TV, and over 86 percent said that the event had helped them manage stress in their own lives.

“I will strive to react to stress differently so it does not control me. My plan is to take a lunch break (rather than working through all of the time) and breaks for deep breathing and calming thoughts.” —Susan Tipre, Senior Analyst, Allstate Financial

Running for Health at Allstate Headquarters

On your mark, get set, go: In September 2014, more than 1,600 Allstaters toed the line at the Sprint & Stride 5K Walk/Run. The annual event, held on the grounds of Allstate’s Northbrook, Illinois, campus, helps raise awareness and money to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Allstate was the Susan G. Komen Chicagoland Pink Partner of the year in 2014, raising funds and awareness, and encouraging screening for breast cancer. This year, Allstate will be the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Partner of the Year from the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, continuing our fight against this deadly disease.

Connecting with Customers Through Shared Values

Mark Sanders, an Allstate claims adjuster, is a combat veteran who volunteers with disabled and homeless veterans in Atlanta. He recently connected with a customer over their shared commitment to veterans’ issues.

“Upon completion of my inspection, I noticed a picture of a World War II veteran framed on her wall, and we began to talk about my personal experiences as a combat veteran,” Sanders remembered. “The picture was of her grandfather, and we shared stories about my experiences and his.”

Sanders worked with the customer for some time, getting to know her and her family. After the claim was processed, the two remained on good terms. Several months later, the customer called him to ask if she could write a paper on him for a sociology class she was taking. He agreed and she interviewed him for her project.

“During our conversations, I mentioned my work with disabled and homeless veterans,” Sanders remembered. “She decided to have her class and church write thank you letters that I could distribute to veterans.” A few weeks later, a big box arrived at Sanders’ home, stuffed with cards and letters and pictures thanking the vets for their service.

“From starting out with a denied claim to forming a connection with a special family, this experience showed me the impact that can be made in the lives of complete strangers in a very special way,” said Sanders. “This is when what we do every day becomes larger than a paycheck.”

Allstate Ambassadors Advocate for Good

How do you motivate and engage a workforce that’s spread over all 50 states and several countries? Through dedicated Allstate Ambassadors in 83 Allstate locations who work to reinforce key values such as:

  • Protecting and promoting a positive image of Allstate
  • Putting the customer and all stakeholders at the center of our daily work
  • Understanding our products & services and proudly recommending them to family and friends
  • Serving as a champion for new ideas and creative solutions for problems that impact our reputation
  • Modeling behavior that supports making informed and ethical decisions, and encouraging colleagues to do the same

Begun in 2009, the Allstate Ambassador program now includes more than 7,800 committed employees who embody the best of Allstate. These individuals help our company spread a culture of volunteering; champion new initiatives and campaigns; drive innovation; recruit new employees; and refer colleagues, family and friends to Allstate.

“The Ambassador program is what sets Allstate apart from any company I’ve ever worked for,” said Stephanie Almeida, an education consultant with Allstate’s Northwest Region. “I feel like I can reach my full potential as an employee and a leader because I’m empowered to improve the company and communities. I have value and the company appreciates that.”