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Allstate On Track with Multi-Channel Strategy

Following its report of fourth-quarter 2000 results, Allstate (Northbrook, IL, $104.8 billion in assets) says it is on-track with its multi-channel strategy.

Following its report of fourth-quarter 2000 results, Allstate (Northbrook, IL, $104.8 billion in assets) says it is on-track with its multi-channel strategy, through which it is moving from almost exclusively agent-based sales to a combined agent, call center and Internet approach to customer contact and sales. "Both the quarter and the year 2000 were marked by successful execution of our key initiatives, particularly our multi-access and profit improvement actions," said Edward M. Liddy, Allstate's chairman, president and CEO, in an official statement.

In the course of what Liddy has called "a bold new start" for the firm, Allstate has so far met objectives in building four call centers, bringing Internet access for quoting and binding to 40 percent of the US population, and converting thousands of employee agents into independent contractors.

Acknowledging that there were rough spots in the initial technology implementation, Steve Groot, president, direct distribution and e-commerce, Allstate Insurance, says the company got off to a good start in 2001. "We had a lot of balls in the air just getting things in place and getting things done," he says. "Not only were we creating a Web site and setting up call centers, but we were creating a whole new information infrastructure for our 13,000 agents in 10,000 locations across the country, and replacing what had been dumb terminals and green screens with intelligent workstations and contemporary office management, campaign management and customer management tools," adds Groot.

Allstate expects to extend its Internet reach to about 90 percent of the US population by the end of 2001. "I expect we'll have full coverage through the call centers by year-end," Groot says.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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