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Allstate Reports Sharp Decline In Exclusive Agencies

By Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune

Feb. 20--The number of exclusive agencies at Allstate Corp. is down, and the number of independent agents selling Allstate products has plummeted.

In a document filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Allstate said it has about 9,300 exclusive agencies. That's down from about 10,000 in 2011.

It also said that it sold Allstate-branded products through 1,800 independent agencies, down from 4,400 in last year's annual report.

Bleeding of Allstate market share, however, has slowed even as Geico makes gains.

In 2011, the latest period for which market share was given in the 2012 annual report, State Farm, Allstate and Geico had car insurance shares of 18.1, 10.5 and 9.2 percent, respectively. In 2010, Allstate's share, based on premiums written, was a slightly lower 10.4 percent.

The company filing also said that State Farm, Allstate and Farmers had 20.4 percent, 9.1 percent and 6 percent of the home insurers' market. In 2010, Allstate had 9.3 percent.

Allstate has long had dicey relationships with its agents. Beginning in 2013, all Allstate-brand customers who purchased their policies directly through call centers and the Internet will be assigned an Allstate exclusive agency relationship, the proxy said.

"We are planning to grow the number of exclusive agencies following several years of decline primarily resulting from agency consolidations and mergers," the company said.

Allstate had auto-rate changes in 39 states. Nationwide, Allstate had auto rate hikes averaging 3.1 percent.

It had no immediate explanation for the drop in independent agencies.

byerak@tribune.com -- Twitter: @beckyyerak

___

(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune

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Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Wordcount: 266


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