Waste Management and Water
As a service business, Allstate is not an extensive user of water, nor does it generate significant amounts of waste. However, we are committed to recycling and conservation programs to minimize the impact we have on the environment. In 2013, our home office recycled 8,955 pounds of PET plastic bottles, 4,385 pounds of aluminum cans and more than 4.4 million pounds of paper.
Toward a paperless office
Insurance has always been a paper-intensive business, with many states still mandating that consumers receive key documents on paper and by mail. In 2013, we continued to reduce paper use—while making policies more convenient for customers—through three initiatives: eSignature, ePolicy and eBill.
Our eSignature program was launched in April 2013, giving customers the capability to sign and upload a variety of documents with the simple click of a mouse. eSignature saves time and effort for our customers, agents and employees. Because policy documents don’t have to be printed out, it also saves a significant amount of paper. By late 2014, 99 percent of all policy-related documents in Allstate’s system are expected to be enabled with eSignature.
Allstate ePolicy provides another opportunity for significant paper reduction. Our research shows that many of our customers would prefer to be able to access their policies and other insurance documents electronically, when they need them, rather than receiving and storing paper policies. Yet, in many states, insurance regulation requires that a paper document be mailed to consumers. Our Government Relations team is currently advocating for change in these laws, working state by state to enable electronic policy distribution. In 2013, 20 state legislatures made changes to enable insurance industry e-commerce.
We now handle approximately 40 percent of our customer billing electronically, helping to suppress or eliminate some 4.8 million paper documents per year.
Finally, through our eBill program, more and more customers are receiving and paying their bills online. We now suppress or electronically send 40 percent of our bill documents. In 2013, we eliminated some 4.8 million paper bill documents.
Water stations reduce solid waste
There are at least two million tons of plastic water bottles in landfills across the United States, according to recent studies, and it can take up to a thousand years for these materials to biodegrade. At Allstate, we encourage employees, agents and guests who visit our facilities to eliminate this kind of pollution at the source—by using reusable containers to drink water that we filter through our 168 water stations.
With 168 water stations across Allstate facilities, we saved more than 1 million plastic water bottles from going to a landfill.
In 2013, we added 20 water-filtering stations in our home office facility, bringing the total to 168. Altogether, Allstaters drank 137,427 gallons of the filtered water, or enough to fill more than 1 million plastic bottles. We are currently working on developing an electronic monitoring system that will connect these water stations to our IT network to let us know when they need new filters or other maintenance. We currently inspect them manually to determine filter replacement and maintenance needs.