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Allstate History & Timeline

Making History For Over 80 Years.

Since it was founded in 1931, Allstate has been a pioneer of the insurance industry. Americans have trusted Allstate to help protect their families and their belongings for over 80 years.

Based in Northbrook, Illinois, Allstate is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Its leaders, employees and agency owners have been an integral part of Allstate's heritage.

Today, Allstate is reinventing protection to help consumers better prepare for tomorrow and protect what matters most.

The Good Hands Throughout The Years.

Allstate's history began in the fall of 1930 when Sears, Roebuck & Co. President and Board Chairman, General Robert E. Wood, got the idea to start an auto insurance company and sell insurance by mail. It was the beginning of something big.









Robert E Wood portrait.

General Robert E. Wood, the president and board Chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Co., recognized that an automobile insurance company presented a great opportunity.


With a name borrowed from an automobile tire sold in the Sears catalog, and the backing of Sears, the great adventure of Allstate Insurance Company begins on April 17, 1931.

On May 17, William Lehnertz becomes Allstate's first policyholder. He pays $41.60 for a 12-month policy on his 1930 Studebaker.

Allstate paid its first claim on the spot when a customer walked into the one-room Allstate office holding an auto door handle broken off in a theft attempt.

By year-end, Allstate had 4,217 active policies, a premium volume of $118,323 and 20 employees. The company suffered a $76,000 loss for the year.


At the Chicago World's Fair, Richard Roskam became Allstate's first agent when he set up a card table in the Sears exhibit. He was swamped with applications.


Allstate office in 1934.

The first Allstate sales location opened in a Chicago Sears store, changing the sales method from direct mail to agent representation.


Allstate hired its first full-time salaried claim adjuster.


Allstate startled the insurance industry by tailoring auto rates by age, mileage and use of car. The plan was so popular, the industry followed suit.

Allstate had 113,472 policyholders, 529 employees and received 25,461 claims for the year.

Allstate insurance stand.

World War II brought gasoline rationing and a halt to auto production. With many men on military leave, women began entering the workforce.


Two ladies working in office.

Allstate developed a series of training courses to help women replace male agents on military leave. Women also began handling claims.


Allstate's post-war planning committee predicted Allstate would write $13 million in premium volume by 1949. Written premium in 1949 actually reached more than $45 million.


Allstate created the "Illustrator Policy." It used simpler language and illustrations so customers could more easily understand policy language and coverage.


Written premium was $45.3 million, with 708,763 policyholders and more than 2,800 employees.

Agents talking to customer in tire store.

Expanding and growing rapidly, Allstate moved beyond auto insurance into personal liability insurance, including life, health and commercial insurance.


Davis W. Ellis, general sales manager, created the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, illustrated with a drawing of a pair of hands cradling a car.


The Allstate Foundation was established to partner with nonprofit organizations to help improve the quality of life in communities across the country.

Allstate opened its first drive-in claim office, and revolutionized the way auto claims were handled.


Drivers education class.

Allstate began work with high school drivers education, teaching thousands of teachers and millions of young drivers.


Residential fire insurance was introduced.


Network television advertising was launched by sponsoring "Playhouse 90." Ed Reimers, an actor, became the Allstate television spokesperson for 22 years.

On September 3, the Allstate Life Insurance Company sold policy #000001, a mortgage cancellation policy, to Dale and Norma Jean Huddlestun of West Liberty, Illinois.


Allstate established a catastrophe plan that brought large numbers of claim specialists into a catastrophe area immediately following a disaster.

Allstate became the first major insurance company to offer premium discounts specifically to owners of increasingly popular small cars.

Property-liability written premium was $438.6 million with 5.3 million policyholders and 14,633 employees.

Man holding seat belt.

Allstate advocated making seat belt use mandatory and its headquarters moved to Northbrook, Illinois.


Allstate Enterprises, Inc., was established, offering auto, boat and RV financing, savings and loans, mortgage banking and mutual fund management.

Allstate's Good Driver Discount Plan was introduced in many states, offering good drivers the lowest rate for their particular driver classification.


Allstate Motor Club was created—the first truly national service of its kind in the United States.


After 11 years of successful operations in Canada, Allstate formed Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and Allstate Life Insurance Company of Canada.


Allstate formed the Allstate Research and Planning Center in Menlo Park, Calif., to help research markets and customer expectations.


Allstate campus in Northbrook, IL.

Allstate moved its home office from Skokie, Illinois, to a new six-building complex on a 122-acre tract in suburban Northbrook, Illinois.


Allstate began working with the government and automakers on auto passenger safety, including seat belts and airbags.

Allstate offered a Business Umbrella package, providing total insurance protection for commercial businesses.


Allstate's property liability written premium was $1.47 billion with 11.4 million active policies and more than 30,000 employees.

Crash test dummies.

Allstate looked at doing business internationally and took a strong stance on consumer safety.


Allstate began an awareness program encouraging automakers to produce "tougher cars," including sturdier bumpers of uniform height. The company continued its efforts to promote auto passenger safety via seat belts, air bags and anti-drunk-driving campaigns.


Allstate offered greater flexibility by serving customers considered high risk through the formation of the Allstate Indemnity Company.


Allstate entered the Japanese life insurance market through a joint venture with Sears and Seibu Retail.


Volunteer working on ceiling.

The "Helping Hands" Program was created and mobilized more than 75 percent of Allstate employees to volunteer their time and talents for community causes.

Tech-Cor, Inc. commenced operations for technical research and auto/home repair training. It also handled a great deal of salvage and auto reclamation for Allstate.


Northbrook Property and Casualty Insurance Company began operations as a new commercial subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company, offering a broad range of products to medium-to-large-size commercial risks, contractors, manufacturers and retailers.


Property liability written premium was $4.99 billion with 18.3 million policies in force and almost 40,000 employees.

Man exiting Allstate office.

During the 80s, Allstate expanded into 31 regional offices, 219 claim-service offices, 687 auto-inspection stations and 2,720 sales and service centers.


The IBM 8100 system was introduced, enabling Allstate employees across the country to communicate electronically.


Allstate became a part of the Sears Financial Network: a one-stop financial services concept that featured Allstate, Coldwell Banker Realty and Dean Witter Financial Brokers under one roof at Sears stores.

Allstate announced a National Urban Policy and became full partners with Neighborhood Housing Services in several cities.


By year-end, Allstate employed the industry's largest claim staff—more than 12,500 strong. Universal Life, a new flexible type of life insurance policy, was offered to provide savings and investment opportunities.


Allstate introduced the Neighborhood Office Agent program to make agents more accessible to customers.


Hurricane Hugo, the largest catastrophe to date, set the standard for catastrophe losses, costing the insurance industry $4.2 billion.

Property-liability written premium was $13.5 billion with 27.2 million policies in force and 55,789 employees.

Agents working in office.

Allstate decided to focus on its core competencies. It became a 100 percent publicly owned company, setting a course for the future.


The Neighborhood Exclusive Agent contract became available to agents, giving them the opportunity to be independent contractors, managing their own business for Allstate.

Working Mother magazine honored Allstate as a top company for working moms in its annual list of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers."


Neighborhood with storm damage.

Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, causing $16 billion in industry-wide, insured losses. At the time, it was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.


Allstate went public when Sears sold 19.8 percent of the company, making Allstate's initial public offering the largest to date in U.S. history.


The Northridge, California, earthquake rocked the insurance industry with a $10 billion loss.

Claim Core Process Redesign was introduced to help better serve customers and manage losses.


Sears spun off its remaining ownership of Allstate to Sears shareholders, making Allstate an independent, 100 percent publicly held corporation.


Allstate launched its consumer website,

A single-claim service organization was created to serve all Allstate property-casualty business.

Allstate created a national CAT (catastrophe) Team comprised of specialists who arrive when a catastrophe strikes to help people get their lives back in order.


Allstate was recognized as one of the "50 Best Companies for Latinas to Work" by LATINA Style magazine.


The Allstate Federal Savings Bank was formed to help position Allstate competitively in the financial services arena.

Allstate made Fortune's list of "Best Companies for Asians, Blacks and Hispanics," and Forbes "World's Top 50 Companies."


Allstate expanded its market reach through the acquisition of CNA Personal Insurance (later renamed Encompass Insurance), American Heritage Life Investment Corporation (later renamed Allstate Workplace Division) and an alliance with Putnam Investments.

Property-liability written premium was $20.4 billion and the company provided insurance and financial products to more than 14 million households in the United States, with a workforce of about 40,000 employees and more than 15,500 agents.

Teens holding banner.

Allstate celebrated its 75th anniversary and the Allstate Foundation debuted programs to promote teen driving safety.


The Good HandsSM Network goes live for the first time in Oregon. Customers are able to purchase auto insurance on the Internet, over the phone or through an agent.

Allstate Life became Allstate Financial. The name reflected an expanded offering that included savings and investment products.

Allstate Life became Allstate Financial. The name reflected an expanded offering that included savings and investment products.

Working Woman named Allstate a top company for Executive Women.

The National Association of Female Executives recognized Allstate as a leading company for executive women to work.


Allstate acquired Sterling Collision Centers Inc., a leader in the auto body repair industry.

Allstate was recognized as a Top Company for Diversity by Diversity Inc.

Allstate announced that it would be the Official Home and Auto Insurance Sponsor of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and the 2002 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Teams.


Allstate continued to expand its financial services, ending the year with nearly 7,000 personal financial representatives and more than $1.6 billion in new premiums and deposits.


People cleaning up after storm.

Allstate established a Supplier Diversity Program to broaden procurement of goods and services with diverse suppliers.

The Allstate Foundation established the $1 million Emergency Response Fund to help devastated communities recover from natural disasters, with its first $1 million grant helping the people of Southern California recover from wildfires.


Allstate became the Official Home and Auto Insurance sponsor for USA Basketball and its Athens-bound 2004 U.S. men's and women's basketball teams.

Allstate and USA Basketball also announced plans to host a series of 10 youth basketball clinics at select Boys & Girls Clubs.

The United States Olympic Committee and Allstate announced the return of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Presented by Allstate, which had been inactive since 1992.


Allstate became an official insurance sponsor of NASCAR, with the "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" as its cornerstone.

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, becoming the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with estimated industry-wide, insured losses of nearly $40 billion. Allstate employees and agencies and The Allstate Foundation together contributed more than $6 million to help thousands of victims rebuild their lives.

InformationWeek named Allstate one of the nation's top 50 innovative users of information technology.

Allstate was ranked as the second most-admired company in the Property & Casualty industry by Fortune magazine.

Allstate introduced Your Choice Auto®, breaking the mold of traditional product offerings and providing more choices, innovative features and enhanced safe driving rewards.

The Allstate Foundation launched a program to address economic challenges of domestic violence survivors.

Hispanic Business magazine names Allstate one of the "Top 50 Companies for Hispanics."

Allstate initiated, a broad coalition that sought to better prepare and protect Americans from natural disasters.

The Allstate Foundation published a report on teen driving that included original research on teen attitudes and behaviors about driving. As one of the most comprehensive reports on the subject, it helped launch a program that addresses the number one killer of teens: motor vehicle crashes.


Institutional Investor ranked Allstate first in a survey rating the effectiveness of corporate investor relations among insurance companies in the property-casualty sector.

Allstate became the title sponsor of the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

On April 17, Allstate celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Allstate introduced Your Choice Home, offering unique features like Claim-Free Bonus, Claim RateGuardTM and Guaranteed Renewal for Claims.

The Allstate Foundation launched "Keep the Drive," a national teen-to-teen smart driving movement that addresses the number one killer of teens—car crashes.

Allstate was awarded U.S. Patent 7,080,032 on July 18, 2006, for the innovative methods behind the deferred fixed annuity products.

The Allstate Foundation introduced the Financial Empowerment Curriculum in more than 20 states and released the results of its first annual national poll on domestic violence and economic abuse.


The Teen Safe Driving Campaign introduces the Allstate parent-teen driving contract to help prevent teen driving deaths.

Allstate launched Beyond February, an initiative that supports programs that empower the African-American community throughout the year—not just during Black History Month.

Bumper-to-Bumper BasicsSM and Ballpark Estimator debuted on to help consumers better understand their insurance needs.

Allstate Green is introduced to help offset auto emissions by funding reforestation and clean energy projects in the United States.

The Allstate Foundation launched, a website that provides information and resources to support survivors of domestic violence.

The Allstate Good Hands® Field Goal Net program continued to grow with more than 350 college football games raising money for 57 scholarship funds.


The Allstate Foundation teen driving program won the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's U.S. Community Service Award for "exemplifying the highest ideals in corporate citizenship."

Allstate began working with Posit Science Corporation, a leader in clinically validated brain fitness programs, to provide customers and consumers with an innovative solution that can help improve their quality of life and driving performance.

InformationWeek 500 annual ranking named Allstate one of nation's top innovative users of technology and recognized Allstate's Next Generation Claim Systems and Consumer 2.0 technologies.

As primary sponsor of National Youth Traffic Safety Month, The Allstate Foundation helped 25,000 youth deliver safe driving messages in more than 250 communities.

Allstate celebrated the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony that featured a reunion of the members of the historic 1996 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team.

Allstate signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with Little League® Baseball and Softball.

The Allstate Foundation launched to raise funds for domestic violence survivors.


Newsweek recognized Allstate's commitment to environmental responsibility by including the company on its "100 Greenest Companies in America" list.

Allstate commissioned the inaugural Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, which gives a voice to middle-class Americans' concerns about the economy.

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