Founded in 1931, as part of Sears, Roebuck & Co., Allstate Insurance became its own public company in 1993, when it made history with the largest initial public offering ever in the country. Two years later, it became an independent company, and last year, it celebrated its 75th anniversary. Today, based in Northbrook, Illinois, the company has grown into one of the country’s leading personal insurers. More importantly, however, it has also become a model of community involvement and investment, demonstrating the possibilities and power of corporate social responsibility.
Today, the business that began as a suggestion by a fellow commuter to Sears, Roebuck & Co. President General Robert E. Wood in 1930 has become a Fortune 100 company with more than $35.8 billion in revenue. It has thirteen major lines of insurance, covering everything from auto to property to life that cover over seventeen million American households.
First and foremost, the company has demonstrated its commitment to diversity within its own corporate structure. It employs more than 70,000 people, of whom 29.4 percent are minorities and 58.9 percent are women. It also encourages diversity not only in its own employees, agents, and customers, but also in the businesses it uses as suppliers. For the fifth consecutive year, it has ranked on Fortune magazine’s list of the Best 50 Companies for Minorities. In its own internal survey, it received an employee satisfaction rate of 88 percent.
However, the commitment of Allstate Insurance to creating a healthy and equal environment goes beyond its office walls. Out in the communities in which it operates, the company has demonstrated its commitment to charitable and nonprofit causes. In 2005, the Allstate Foundation donated almost $16 million to nonprofit organizations, with over $400,000 in scholarships. That same year, the company itself, along with its employees donated $9.5 million to various nonprofit causes. The company also holds $27 billion in municipal bonds and over $250 million in community investments.
In 2005, a year of unprecedented hurricanes, this leading personal insurance company also took the unique step of deploying over 5,000 catastrophe specialists throughout the country, along with 24 mobile response units to help file more than 400,000 insurance claims. It also created a Recovery Fund, and matched its employees’ donations of $2.3 million to the Red Cross Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund.
Corporate social responsibility may be becoming one of the latest buzz words in the field, but this company is an example of putting words into action. In the past two years in which its corporate social responsibility report has been sent to shareholders, the company has made tremendous headway.
Allstate Insurance is an example of what is possible when a company commits itself to change for the better. With a focus on its own internal actions, and on the community at large, the company has improved both its employee relations and its wider reputation. The strategy is simple but genius. After all, when you’re deciding who to buy your insurance from, do you go to Company X, or Allstate, the one that just invested $10,000 into your child’s school?