Corporate Responsibility

In all aspects of our business, we rally around the theme of “Be a Force for Good” by striving to do the right thing at the right time, putting people ahead of policies and defying expectations.

At Allstate, we engage with a diverse group of stakeholders, from the customers we serve and the people who work for us to a wider audience of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), investors, opinion leaders and policymakers.

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Three stakeholder groups are at the core of our business: customers, employees and agency owners. This section of the report describes our overall approach to engaging with these core audiences within the context of Allstate’s corporate responsibility initiatives.

We make a conscious choice to lead by serving our stakeholders. Our position in multiple customer segments, insurance products, geographies and investments enables us to fulfill our short- and long-term commitments to our shareholders, customers, agency owners, employees and communities.

By taking this approach, we give customers the power to protect their loved ones from risk and prepare for the future. We provide agency owners and financial specialists with opportunities to build trusted relationships with customers. We provide our employees with knowledge and training to help them work with purpose and perform at their peak. And we continually adapt this support based on active engagement with all of our stakeholders.

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Constantly Seeking Feedback, Adapting to Changing Needs

We care enough not to guess about what our customers and other stakeholders need and what they expect from us. We ask and we engage. We continually survey our stakeholders to learn what we are doing right and where we can improve—and we use the results to drive and shape our business strategy. Here are some things we learned in 2014:

  • Customers told us that the No. 1 driver of their satisfaction with Allstate was a trusted relationship with their agency owner. As a result, we focused on increasing customers’ contact with and support received from their Allstate agency—not just when they buy a policy or file a claim, but on a regular basis, at every phase of their lives.
  • Allstate employees are, overall, very satisfied with their work environment, their leaders and their ability to do the right thing for customers. However, we also know employees serve customers best when the employees are healthy and feel good about their careers and financial security. Consequently, we’ve designed a comprehensive suite of physical and financial wellness programs, career development opportunities and other initiatives to help them perform at their best and be the best possible resource for customers.
  • Our surveys tell us that agency owners can have their greatest impact on customer satisfaction by providing quality service and customized advice. Their knowledge of insurance products and services, familiarity with local markets, and hands-on, local presence make them an invaluable resource to customers. We support them through providing comprehensive education and technological resources, like eAgent, a cloud-based relationship management system that makes it easy to access customer data and provide solutions anywhere there’s an Internet connection.

Fresh Ideas from Outside Our Company

We continue to engage NGO representatives, investors, opinion leaders and policymakers, as well as Allstate employees and agency owners, in our stakeholder panel to evaluate our progress and identify new challenges in sustainability.

In April of this year, we organized a stakeholder-engagement panel discussion with Ceres, a leading nonprofit organization advocating for sustainability leadership. Representatives from nonprofit organizations, consumer groups, investors, sustainability experts and select peer corporations participated in that discussion. We asked them all to candidly assess our corporate responsibility program’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. The conversation surfaced important recommendations in several areas:

Climate Change: The session kicked off with an in-depth discussion centered around Allstate’s climate change statement, with very positive reactions to its 2014 release and significance. Stakeholders asked Allstate to demonstrate greater leadership in raising awareness about climate change, while drawing a more direct connection between climate change mitigation and benefits to our business. They recommended that we articulate more clearly how climate change affects our risk management strategy and more fully integrate its impacts into our enterprise risk management approach. 

Social Impact: Stakeholders recommended that Allstate more closely integrate our community engagement with the larger causes we support. An example was provided whereby a connection could be made between domestic violence and Allstate’s social impact work in financial empowerment, with a greater emphasis on supporting women in the workforce.

Materiality: Stakeholders requested more information about what Allstate is doing to safeguard data privacy, and recommended we address this topic in more detail as a material issue.

Overall, this feedback was immensely helpful, especially as we consider enhancements to crucial aspects of our reporting strategy, such as the development of our approach to managing climate risk and broadening our diversity programs.

Insight into Our Corporate Reputation

For the past five years, we’ve worked with Reputation Institute, a leading research and advisory firm focused on corporate reputation, to measure our reputation among specific stakeholder groups using our proprietary metric, the Allstate Reputation Scorecard. Allstate’s reputation research, verified by this third-party source, gives voice to more than 8,000 consumers, customers, employees, agency owners and financial specialists, investors, policymakers and opinion leaders each year. It helps us track the health and effectiveness of our relationships with stakeholders, provides an ongoing understanding of what’s expected of us and measures the impact of reputation on our business results.

In 2014, we continued to earn solid scores from our stakeholders, with an overall score of 74, which is in the “strong” range. This was two points ahead of the previous year’s score and is the highest score to date.

Corporate reputation scores are measured on a scale of 0–100, corresponding to the following ratings:

Excellent: 80+

Strong/Robust: 70–79

Average/Moderate: 60–69

Weak/Vulnerable: 50–59

Poor: <50

Our improved reputation reflects more favorable perceptions of the company’s performance in several areas. We were also pleased to note that:

  • Most customers are satisfied with their policies, and 94 percent feel that Allstate at least somewhat delivers on its Customer value Proposition.
  • Firsthand exposure to agency owners through local events and volunteerism positively influences customers’ perceptions of Allstate’s community involvement. However, we have work to do in this area. About 69 percent of our customers are not sure whether Allstate is involved in their community.

Understanding what’s important to each of our stakeholders enables us to focus our efforts and tailor our products, services and communications more effectively.

Guidance from Agency Owners and Senior Leaders

The National Advisory Board and the Agency Executive Council both provide a forum for company leaders, agency owners and financial specialists to address business issues and work together to develop solutions to improve the agency business opportunity and best deliver the customer value proposition. The National Advisory Board brings together company leaders and a cross section of Allstate agency owners and financial specialists from around the country to address national business issues and develop solutions. The Agency Executive Council gathers approximately 20 of Allstate’s most successful agency owners and financial specialists to discuss business decisions and strategies for improved customer service and business growth.

These two organizations provide valuable perspective, and help develop actionable solutions for company and agency success by:

  • Voicing opinions from agency owners and financial specialists across the country on key issues
  • Suggesting and exploring ideas, and providing agency owners’ points of view on the company’s strategic direction
  • Influencing the way Allstate’s business decisions affect agencies and customers
  • Supporting an environment of mutual trust and respect between company leadership and agency owners and financial specialists

We use a similar structure to support agency owner and financial specialist engagement within each of Allstate’s 13 regional offices and Allstate New Jersey in the U.S., and within Allstate Canada. Regional advisory boards typically include agency owners and financial specialists from the National Advisory Board, as well as others who can speak to the interests and concerns of fellow agency owners and financial specialists in their regions. The boards communicate directly with Allstate’s field senior vice presidents and their leadership teams to provide regular feedback, raise issues and collaborate on key initiatives.

Engaging with customers is at the heart of our business. We continually work with customers to understand what they want and need, to make sure that their interactions with us are fast, fair and easy.

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Financial Solutions Through a Trusted Advisor

Insurance and financial products are complex. Customers know their peace of mind and security depend on making the right choices. They need someone they can trust to help them find the right solutions for their unique life situations. The relationship between customers and their local agencies is at the heart of our business, and in 2014 we gathered extensive data from customers to help us find ways to reinforce and support this relationship.

Meeting Ever-Evolving Household Needs

A teenager buys her first car. Newlyweds move into their first apartment. A young couple has their first child. Another buys a starter home. A family starts saving for their children’s college education. Midlife couples begin to think about retirement. As household needs vary, people need different financial and insurance solutions.

We are working on a new approach to our business, one in which our agency owners and financial specialists—and Allstate—are regular parts of customers’ lives. For instance, agency owners can now make the Good Hands® Repair Network available to customers—even when customers don’t have a claim. When a customer’s roof sags, his or her agency owner can help find a contractor. When a customer is in need of assistance with maintenance or prevention work on either an automobile or home, his or her agency owner can help find a quality service provider.

Local Knowledge About Risks

Allstate agency owners and financial specialists are local. We know that one homeowner’s risks are different from those of another policyholder who lives even just a few miles away. While one home might be vulnerable to one type of event, another might face completely different risks. Agency owners also receive detailed information about the various claims filed in their area and, as a result, understand the specific risks their customers face. Allstate agency owners can share that knowledge so customers can better protect their most valuable assets.

Responsible Marketing Communications

We strive to make our marketing policies and materials clear and relevant, so customers can make informed choices about the products they need. Wherever possible, we provide these materials electronically, to minimize our environmental impact and serve customers more effectively.

Data Privacy and Security

Keeping personal information secure at all times is fundamental to remaining a trusted business and employer. Not only is this the right thing to do, it is also mandated by increasingly stringent privacy laws in the states and countries where we do business. Personal information must be protected from unauthorized access and from disclosure by unauthorized parties.

To provide each customer with the best service and products for his or her needs, we may collect personal information such as his or her name, phone number, home and email addresses, driver’s license number, Social Security number, credit/debit card information, marital status, family member information, and health or medical information.

We also maintain records that include, but are not limited to, a customer’s policy coverage, premiums and payment history. Finally, we may collect information from outside sources, such as a customer’s driving record or claims history.

Allstate seeks to create a culture of cybersecurity throughout our company. Cybersecurity controls are a shared responsibility of employees, agency owners and staff, affiliates and suppliers. To protect our customers from current and emerging threats, we regularly reevaluate our cyber protection capabilities, making sure they are working now and evolving to handle new threats. Allstate’s cybersecurity plan focuses on protecting company and customer data and the technology on which it resides. Our multilayered protective measures include network firewalls and intrusion detection, as well as access control, malware detection and encryption. Allstate enforces rigorous protection at the individual user level to ensure that the technology used by employees and third-party service providers is as secure as possible.

Our Privacy Assurance

Though the nature of our business requires that we gather personal information from customers, we keep this data private and confidential.

  • We do not sell customers’ personal or medical information to anyone.
  • We do not share customers’ information with nonaffiliate companies that would use it to contact you about their own products and services, unless permitted pursuant to a joint marketing agreement.
  • We require persons or organizations that represent or assist us in servicing policies and claims to keep information confidential.
  • We require our employees to protect all personal information and keep it confidential.

In addition to the practices described above, we use a variety of physical, technical and administrative security measures that help to safeguard customers’ information. For Social Security numbers, this includes restricting access to employees, agents and others who use customer Social Security numbers only as permitted by law, such as to comply with the law, to provide customers with products and services or to handle their claims. Our privacy practices continue to apply to this information even when individuals cease to be Allstate customers.

For more information about our privacy policies, please see our Privacy Policy Statement.

For more information about how we are meeting customers’ emerging needs, see the Product Innovation section of this report.

We engage with our employees to make sure that they are well and financially secure; to ensure they have opportunities to reach their full career potentials; and to ensure they are valued for who they are and what they bring to our organization.

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Allstate employees work with customers during some of the most stressful times of customers’ lives—after a natural disaster or auto accident, or when they’re seeking advice on how to protect their families from loss. We know employees have to be at their best to meet customers’ needs, so we’ve created an environment where employees can work with a purpose, think big and enjoy what they do.

We provide employees with rich career opportunities to support their professional development and goals; abundant resources for personal growth; and the means to make a significant impact in their communities. We empower Allstate employees so that they can be a force for good in their work, their personal lives and their communities.

For more information about “Good Work. Good Life. Good Hands.®” programs for Allstate employees, see our Business Practices section.

Our agency owners, financial specialists and agency staff are the trusted advisors people turn to for guidance on how to protect their homes, vehicles and other personal property.

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Allstate agency owners 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 America.

Relationships with Agencies Drive Customer Satisfaction

Agency owners and financial specialists are the public face of Allstate, living and working alongside customers in local neighborhoods, leveraging their knowledge and experience, and supporting their communities through volunteering and giving. When they are empowered with the right support, the right culture and the right technology, agency owners are a powerful force for good. Moreover, they are critical to our success in serving customers. Surveys tell us that no other factor is as important to customers’ satisfaction as regular, positive interaction with their local agencies. They can provide guidance, solutions and options to all kinds of risk management and financial challenges.

Agency Satisfaction Is Strong and Growing

Each year, we conduct an Agency Relationship Survey to give agency owners and financial specialists an opportunity to share anonymous feedback about how they perceive their business relationships with Allstate. In 2014, our survey found that overall satisfaction increased from 2013 levels by three points among exclusive agencies, to 75 percent, and held steady among exclusive financial specialists at 70 percent.

For more information about the role that agency owners played in our business and in our communities in 2014, see “Additional Information” in the Business Practices and Social Impact sections of this report.