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
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.
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, http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/hail