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01:01 PM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Top Allstate Protection Exec Steps Down; Soon-To-Be Subsidiaries Selling on aka

The company has not disclosed why Allstate Protection president Joe Lacher is leaving.

Allstate announced this morning that Joseph Lacher, president of Allstate Protection — its unit responsible for auto and homeowners coverage — is leaving the company.

Though it did not give a reason, the company did say that presidents of Allstate Protection's businesses will report directly to CEO Thomas Wilson for the time being.

Meyer Shields, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co., told Bloomberg Businessweek that the loss is "a shock" and "a very significant disappointment." Another analyst, Paul Newsome of Sandler O’Neill & Partners, said, “Investors will interpret this as a problem at Allstate.”

It wasn't long ago that Lacher was part of a conference call celebrating Allstate's acquisition of Esurance and Answer Financial. And in other Allstate-related news, today Answer Financial and aka announced a partnership by which Answer Financial quotes will be available through the e-commerce site.

Allstate made no secret of the fact that it was looking to open up new customer acquisition channels by making the buy of two online-focused companies, and this certainly represents a new way of drawing in customers. The insurer has also recently begun offering product information through LinkedIn. Aite Group analyst Stephen Applebaum suggested that Allstate could be looking to build a more innovative culture — perhaps we are seeing early returns to that end. (Allstate doesn't technically own Answer Financial yet, but certainly is aware of its plans, and the innovative move to sell insurance online alongside consumer goods could be the kind of spark they are expecting from the acquisition.)

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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