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The Allstate Corporation is an American-based insurance company, headquartered in Northfield Township, Illinois, near Northbrook since 1967. Founded in 1931 as part of Sears, Roebuck and Co. The company also has personal lines insurance operations in Canada.

Allstate is a large corporation, and with 2018 revenues of $39.8 billion it ranked 79th in the 2019 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Its current advertising campaign, in use since 2004, asks, "Are you in good hands?", leveraging its well-established prior ads showing a suburban-styled dwelling, cradled protectively in a pair of presumably giant human hands.

History[]

In 1925, Sears held a national contest to decide the name of a new brand of car tires. After over two million name submissions, "Allstate" was chosen. The trademark was adopted the next year. The tires' success in the catalog and retail stores prompted Sears Chairman General Robert E. Wood to praise the Allstate tire's contribution to Sears' retail store success.

The idea for Allstate Insurance Company came during a bridge game on a commuter train in 1930, when insurance broker Carl L. Odell proposed to Wood, his neighbor, the idea of selling auto insurance by direct mail. The idea appealed to Wood, and he passed the proposal to the Sears board of directors, which approved it. Allstate Insurance Company, named after Sears’ tire brand, went into business on April 17, 1931, offering auto insurance by direct mail and through the Sears catalog. This was in line with one of the objectives of a company to sell automobile insurance in the same manner as Sears sold its merchandise.

Lessing J. Rosenwald was Allstate's first board chairman, and Odell was named vice president and secretary.

In 1933, at the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago, Allstate's Richard E. Roskam sold insurance at a booth in the Sears pavilion. In 1934, Allstate opened its first permanent sales office in a Chicago Sears store.

In 1941, only about a quarter of US drivers had auto liability insurance. This led to the state of New York passing a law which established the financial responsibility of drivers for damage or injuries resulting from auto mishaps. That law inspired legislation in other states, and by the mid-1950s nearly every state had some sort of financial responsibility law on its books.

In 1949 the Allstate Headquarters Building was completed at 3245 W. Arthington Street in Chicago. The mid-rise building is currently vacant (as of 2013) and in danger of demolition. The building is noted for its early post-war mid-rise construction. This location was vacated when the company relocated in the post-war years.

The company's "You're in Good Hands with Allstate" slogan was created in 1950 by Allstate's general sales manager Davis W. Ellis. At the end of the decade, it was used in the company's first network television advertising campaign, which featured actor Ed Reimers.

Allstate added products throughout the 1950s, including fire insurance in 1954 and homeowners and life insurance in 1957. Allstate began selling insurance to Canadians in 1953. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada was incorporated in 1964. (In 1952 and 1953, Sears also sold an automobile called Allstate.)

In 1967, the company's home office was moved from Skokie to Northbrook, Illinois. Allstate continued to sell additional types of insurance to customers throughout the decade, including worker's compensation insurance in 1964, surety bonds in 1966, inland-marine coverage in 1967 and a business package policy in 1969.

The brand itself expanded in the 1950s and 1960s and could be found on a variety of products like fire extinguishers and motor scooters. In 1952, an Allstate car was produced, but it was a flop; it was pulled from stores by 1953. The Allstate brand was eventually limited to insurance, tires, and car batteries by the late 1960s before becoming insurance-only in the mid-1970s. In 1991, the company went public before becoming completely independent in 1995.

In 1984, Neighborhood Office Agent program was introduced to make agents more accessible to customers.

In 1985, Allstate began to move agents out of Sears stores and locate agents in neighborhood offices. In June 1993, 19.8% of Allstate became public through a stock offering.

In 1993, Allstate went public when Sears sold 19.8% of the company. At the time, it was the largest IPO to date.

In 1996, their website www.allstate.com was launched.

In 1999, Allstate unveiled a new business model that created a single contract for exclusive, independent agents selling Allstate insurance. It also created a network of call centers.

In 1999, Allstate purchased the personal lines division of CNA Financial and subsequently renamed it to Encompass Insurance Company which is written by independent insurance agents, as opposed to the direct writing that constitutes the core part of its business.

In 2003, actor Dennis Haysbert became Allstate's spokesman, using the tagline "That’s Allstate’s stand."

In 2010, actor Dean Winters became a part of Allstate's campaign "Mayhem" “personifying the pitfalls, like collisions and storm damage, that can befall drivers”.

In May 2011, Allstate announced that it was purchasing Esurance and rate-comparison site Answer Financial for approximately $1 billion. At the time, Esurance was selling policies in 30 states and was in the midst of a five-year growth period that saw them double the number of policies in force. Allstate, for its part, was losing policy holders to the three major online policy retailers: Esurance, Progressive, and GEICO.

In 2012 Allstate Solutions Private Limited (also called Allstate India) was inaugurated in Bangalore which is a technology and operations centre to provides software development and business process outsourcing services to its US parent. Allstate's Bangalore operation is focused on the areas of business intelligence, analytics, testing and mobility.

In January 2017, Allstate acquired SquareTrade, a consumer electronics and appliance protection plan provider. It was said that the acquisition cost approximately $1.4 billion from a group of shareholders.

In 2018, Allstate collaborated with Red Cross to distribute 1,000 disaster kits statewide in Hawaii. In 2019, Allstate donated $75,000 to the Red Cross and again partnered with the organization to distribute over 2,900 disaster kits in California.

On 8 July 2020, Allstate acquires National General Insurance for $4 billion. National General has about 42,300 independent agents.

Advertising[]

"Good hands"[]

Allstate's slogan "You're in good hands" was created in the 1950s by Allstate Insurance Company's sales executive, Davis W. Ellis based on a similar phrase he used to reassure his wife about a doctor caring for their child. It has been the slogan ever since 1950. Allstate also referred to themselves as the Good Hands People.

In the 1960s and 1970s, TV, print and radio advertising featured Allstate's spokesman, Ed Reimers. Reimers was often shown making the cupped-hand gesture. For 22 years, he remained the spokesman.

A study in 2000 by Northwestern University's Medill Graduate Department of Integrated Marketing Communications found that the Allstate slogan "You're in good hands" ranked as the most recognizable in America.

"Allstate's logo"[]

Allstate's original hands logo was designed by Theodore Conterio in the 1950s. The employees were told whoever could come up with the best logo would win $50. Theodore Conterio came up with the design based on the slogan, "You're in good hands," and won the $50 prize.

"Allstate's stand"[]

Beginning in 2003, as policy growth slowed, Allstate's television commercials used spokesman Dennis Haysbert. The ads were intended to carry the message that Allstate's service was superior to that from low-cost providers GEICO and Progressive. Haysbert appeared in more than 250 commercials between 2003 and 2016.

Mayhem[]

Mayhem was created by Leo Burnett Worldwide. Burnett pitched the character to Allstate as "Mr. Mayhem", comparing him to the character Mr. White from the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs played by Harvey Keitel.

Mayhem has been played by Dean Winters since the campaign was launched in April 2010. The character wears a black suit, white dress shirt, and black necktie and his face is usually bruised, scarred, or wearing a butterfly bandage.

The formula for almost every Mayhem commercial has been the same. To begin the commercial, Mayhem identifies the risk he is portraying. He gives context into the situation and hints at an impending disaster that he will cause, which then takes place. For instance, a 2015 ad features Mayhem playing a portable grill hastily loaded into a car before being fully extinguished, which leads to an explosion when the still-burning embers ignite an enormous bottle of lighter fluid. Once the disaster's end result is revealed, Mayhem warns that certain "cut-rate" policies lack coverage for the situation he has caused, advising the viewers to get their insurance policies through Allstate. Each commercial ends with Mayhem telling the viewers that by having Allstate, they will be "better protected from mayhem...like me." Damage to his clothing and injuries to his person carry over from one commercial to the next.

In some ads, Mayhem also has advised against going without roadside assistance. In separate advertisements, he described what could happen in the face of a catastrophe while driving; these consisted of having to stay in a creepy roadside motel overnight because one's car ran out of fuel, being forced to change a tire in a heavy downpour, being forced to stay at an awkward family gathering because one's car battery died, and potentially becoming a victim of crime due to a breakdown in the wrong neighborhood.

A series of ads in early 2018 featured Mayhem with a New Year's resolution to help keep people and property safe. He took the role of various pieces of safety equipment, such as a lightning rod mounted on a house's roof to protect it during storms or a flare placed to warn drivers of a roadside vehicle breakdown. However, less than a month into the new year, he broke his resolution and returned to his old habit of causing chaos and damage.

Allstate developed the campaign "Mayhem" and the character (Mayhem) in response to being ranked fourth in advertising spending behind Geico, State Farm, and Progressive. Allstate had an existing campaign called "Our Stand" featuring Dennis Haysbert that targeted "older, more traditional customers", and the company sought to develop a campaign that would skew toward younger customers. Nina Abnee, executive vice president at Burnett, said "We wanted to kick Flo's ass." The campaign was first launched in mid-June 2010. The character was featured in TV and radio spots as well as on billboards and Internet banners. Some ads were adjusted to capture local details. By mid-2011, Allstate had won around 80 industry awards for the campaign.

Organization[]

Allstate Corporation owns and operates 19 companies around the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and India.

Based in San Francisco, California:

  • Esurance, Inc.

Based in Northbrook, Illinois:

  • Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company
  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Allstate Indemnity Company
  • Allstate Life Insurance Company
  • Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company
  • Encompass Insurance Company

Based in Bridgewater, New Jersey:

  • Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company
  • Allstate New Jersey Property and Casualty Insurance Company

Based in Hauppauge, New York:

  • Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York

Based in St. Petersburg, Florida:

  • Castle Key Insurance Company
  • Castle Key Indemnity Company

Based in Irving, Texas:

  • Allstate County Mutual Insurance Company
  • Allstate Texas Lloyd's

Based in Jacksonville, Florida:

  • American Heritage Life Insurance Company

Based in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom:

  • Allstate Northern Ireland (ANI)

Based in Markham, Ontario:

  • Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

Based in Bangalore, India:

  • Allstate Solutions Private Limited

Based in Pune, India:

  • Allstate Solutions Private Limited


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