Allstate Corp already claims more than 10% of the US auto insurance market, but that hasn’t stopped CEO Thomas Wilson from aiming even higher. Wilson told Reuters Wednesday that thanks to the insurer’s more than 100% increase in profit during the fourth quarter, it plans to grow its share in the home and auto markets.
Wilson said he expects Allstate will be able to do so without the need for “abnormally large” rate increases.
Allstate, like many other carriers in the P/C market, benefitted from a sharp decline in catastrophe losses in the fourth quarter of 2013. The insurer posted a combined ratio of 66.6—an increase of 27.3 points over results from the same period last year.
Wilson hopes that positive performance will allow Allstate to increase its market share without resorting to higher insurance premiums—a strategy it has embraced in the past few years, though without any significant loss to its market share.
“We do not expect to have to be taking abnormally large price increases in the homeowners business,” Wilson said.
Allstate's business model of direct sales is often cited as a key contributor to the decreased presence of independent agents in the personal lines space.
Despite the supposed “phasing out” of personal lines brokers, however, producer Julie Metish with Taggart Insurance in Boulder, Colo. feels the role of an independent agent is still very much a valid one—even when appointed with carriers like Allstate.
“Your independent insurance agent treats you like a person, not just another number,” Metish said. “You can develop a personal relationship with your independent agent and often talk to the same person regarding different types of insurance coverage. Your agent also has strong customer and community ties since they live and work in the same areas as their customers.”
Metish said that personal touch also transcends to claims service, and because independents are not attached to just one insurance company, leaving one carrier doesn’t mean you lose your agent—a relationship she feels many still value.