Rapid response in Moore, Oklahoma
Allstate was a force for good on May 20, 2013, when a tornado with over 200-mile-per-hour winds struck Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people and destroying more than 1,000 homes. A day after the storm, Allstate set up a mobile claims unit to help customers assess their losses, file claims and begin the process of recovery and rebuilding.
Hearing concerns, adapting to changing needs
Whether you're a customer, an employee, an agency owner or anyone else with a stake in Allstate’s success, we want to know what you are thinking. We continually survey our stakeholders to learn what we are doing right and where we can improve—and we use the results to drive and shape our business strategy. Here are some of the things we’ve learned this year:
- Customers told us the number-one driver of their satisfaction with Allstate was a trusted relationship with their agency owner. As a result, we have focused on increasing the contact and support customers receive from their Allstate agency—not just when they buy a policy or file a claim, but on a regular basis, at every phase of their lives.
- Allstate employees are, overall, very satisfied with their work environment, their leaders, and their ability to do the right thing for customers. However, we also know employees serve their customers best when they are healthy and feel good about their careers and financial prospects. Consequently, we’ve designed a comprehensive suite of physical and financial wellness programs, career development opportunities and other initiatives to help them perform at their best and be the best possible resource for customers.
- Our surveys tell us that agency owners can have their greatest impact on customer satisfaction by providing quality service and customized advice. Their knowledge of insurance products and services, familiarity with local markets, and hands-on, local presence make them an invaluable resource to customers. We support them through comprehensive education and technological resources, like eAgent, a cloud-based relationship management system that makes it easy to access customer data and provide solutions from anywhere with an Internet connection.
How we interact with stakeholders
Employees and agency owners participated in our workplace giving campaign in 2013
Through regular, structured engagement with key stakeholder groups,
Fresh ideas from outside our company
We continue to rely on NGO representatives, investors, opinion leaders, policymakers, and top-level Allstate employees and agency owners in our stakeholder panel to evaluate our progress and identify new challenges in sustainability.
In addition, in early 2014, we conducted an online materiality “think tank” to gather insights from professionals in academia, the nonprofit world, and industry experts about the issues they believe Allstate should be monitoring now and in the future. We expect this materiality engagement to inform our corporate responsibility strategy in the lead-up to an updated full materiality analysis next year.
- Insight into our corporate reputation
For the last four years, we have used our proprietary metric, the Allstate Reputation Scorecard, to measure our overall reputation among stakeholder groups. Allstate’s reputation research gives voice to nearly 8,000 consumers, customers, employees, agency owners, investors, policymakers and opinion leaders each year. It helps us track the health of our relationships with stakeholders, provides an ongoing understanding of what’s expected of us, and measures the impact of reputation on business results.
In 2013, we made a significant advance with our overall reputation, moving from “high average” to “strong” with a score of 72—the highest since measurement began in 2010, and a three-point advance from our 2012 score of 69.
Corporate reputation scores are measured on a scale of 0–100, corresponding to the following ratings:
- Excellent: > 80
- Strong/Robust: 70-79
- Average/Moderate: 60-69
- Weak/Vulnerable: 50-59
- Poor: below 50.
Our improved reputation reflects more favorable perceptions of the company’s performance in several areas, most notably financial results and leadership.
Understanding what’s important to each of our stakeholders enables us to focus our efforts and tailor our products, services and communications more effectively. In our 2013 research, the following items emerge as key areas of interest:
- How we build and maintain our relationships with customers
- The importance of how we do business
- Local community involvement as a key opportunity to engage audiences and increase positive perceptions of Allstate
Advice and guidance from top agency owners and Allstate senior leadership
We formed our National Advisory Board in 2003 to bring together Allstate’s senior leadership and a cross-section of exclusive agency owners and exclusive financial specialists from across the enterprise. The National Advisory Board and the Agency Executive Council provide a forum for dialogue to address national business issues and work together to develop solutions that strengthen the agency-company relationship.
The National Advisory Board and the Agency Executive Council provide valuable perspective and help develop actionable solutions for company and agency success by:
- Voicing opinions on key issues from agency owners across the country
- Suggesting and exploring ideas and providing the agency owner point of view on the company’s strategic direction
- Influencing the way Allstate’s business decisions affect agencies and customers
- Supporting an environment of mutual trust and respect between company leadership and agency owners
We use a similar structure to support agency owner engagement within each of Allstate’s 13 regional offices and Allstate New Jersey in the U.S., and within Allstate Canada. Our Regional Advisory Boards typically include agency owners from the National Advisory Board, as well as others who can speak to the interests and concerns of fellow agency owners and financial specialists in their regions. The boards communicate directly with Allstate’s field senior vice presidents and their leadership teams to provide regular feedback, raise issues and collaborate on key initiatives.
Stakeholders drive future strategies
Listening to stakeholders is important, but it’s only the beginning of our process. Input from employees, agency owners, customers and the sustainability community shapes our future strategies.
For instance, our customers have told us that the key driver in their relationship with Allstate is their relationship with their agent. Knowing this, we have continued to focus our enterprise to support that relationship, ensuring that all Allstate-brand customers have an agency, integrating agency owners into all phases of the customer relationship, and giving agency owners the tools to serve their customers wherever they are via e-commerce technologies like e-signature, e-statements and cloud-based record-keeping. Customers who prefer to buy insurance directly can still do so through our Esurance and Encompass brands.
Through our feedback processes, we have also learned that customers want their insurance company to be a continuing resource, one that can advise them on everything from disaster-preparedness and car repairs to investing for a secure retirement. As a result, we are taking a more holistic, household needs–based approach. For people at all phases of life—young people learning to drive, couples renting first apartments together, families with growing children, middle-age households looking toward retirement, or retirees—Allstate is there to help do good.
Communication with others in our industry allows us to stay at the forefront of emerging trends. We are actively involved in industry groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Insurance Institute for Home Safety, and Advocates for Insurance Modernization. Through these associations, we stay in tune with evolving technologies like e-commerce, connected homes and connected cars. We are currently working with academics, safety experts and legal scholars to explore the implications of emerging “driverless car” technologies. We are asking questions like: Will driverless technologies increase or reduce driver risk? Who is liable for driverless car accidents? How will insurance change as a result of this shift in technology?
In some cases, the legal and regulatory framework of our industry has not kept up with the evolving needs of our stakeholders, so we work through a variety of advocacy groups to pursue sensible policy changes. For instance, we know many of our customers would like to receive important policy documents electronically, rather than through the mail, so we are working with policy makers across the country to make this possible.
Listening to stakeholders is important to us. It’s the right thing to do—and it helps us stay ahead in a fast-moving industry.