Losing its Sears legacy – how Allstate is trying to innovate not stagnate

Unlike its progenitor, this legacy insurance firm has learned to embrace change

Losing its Sears legacy – how Allstate is trying to innovate not stagnate


By Lyle Adriano

Moving past its origins as a Sears company, Allstate Insurance is using the latest in data-driven technology to become one of America’s biggest insurers.

A special report by Forbes on the 87-year old Allstate looks briefly back into the past of the insurer, as it pushes the envelope on data and analytics.

Allstate was founded in 1931 as the insurance arm of Sears Roebucks. The insurer later spun out of Sears in 1993 – a move that sent both companies on two very different trajectories.

Faced with the likes of Amazon and other shopping portals, Sears currently struggles to keep up with its online retail competition. Meanwhile, Allstate is America’s 2nd largest provider of P&C insurance, according to A.M. Best.

Forbes says that, unlike Sears, which initially hesitated to jump on to the tech bandwagon, Allstate has easily embraced innovation. Now, thanks to chief data and analytics officer Eric Huls, Allstate has taken another step into the future with the launch of its “D3” organization.

D3 – which stands for “Data, Discovery, and Decision Science” – is a 300-strong organization dedicated to supporting Allstate’s core vertical business activities (which include product, claims, marketing, and agencies) by concentrating on two areas of innovation: data and analytics.

“We’ve taken an aggressive approach to integrating data into business, which ultimately gives us an edge when it comes to innovative pricing solutions and knowing the why or what our customers need even before they know it,” Huls told Forbes. “We continue to grow our data team and almost every day we’re seeing a new or different way the information we already have can be beneficial to our customers.”

Both data and analytics already play important roles at Allstate. One of the insurer’s latest initiatives is its “QuickFoto” app, which allows customers to take photos of their damaged automobiles for claims adjusters to remotely assess. The insurer’s in-house analytics and data solutions have made this app possible.

Allstate hopes that its commitment to fleshing out its data and analytics capabilities gives it an edge over its fintech competitors such as Lemonade, as well as disruptors like Amazon.

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