Thomas Wilson’s multi-year transformation of Allstate was not only about doing the right things, such as investing in cutting-edge innovation, improving efficiency and productivity, and shedding non-core assets, but also about doing them in the right way—optimizing the pace of change, restructuring for the long-term rather than short-term, honoring commitments to employees, agency owners, customers and communities, and investing in the people of Allstate.
Allstate Corp., under Wilson’s leadership, gives consumers a choice in how they want to buy insurance—on their own or with the assistance of an agent, choosing either “brand-neutral” or “brand-sensitive” products and services.
Consumers can choose to work with a local Allstate agent who offers consultation on the carrier’s auto, home, life and retirement products, or they can be self-directed using Esurance’s online platform of proprietary product lines. Independent agencies provide the carrier’s Encompass brand auto, home and umbrella insurance products, and Answer Financial serves self-directed, brand-neutral consumers who want a choice between insurance carriers.
The Northbrook, Ill.-based firm also continues to develop innovative products, including Drive Wise, a telematics offering that gives customers discounts based on their actual driving behaviors; Good Hands Roadside, the first pay-as-you-use roadside service; and the new Claim Satisfaction Guarantee for auto insurance.
Wilson’s strategy is about keeping up with shifting consumer perceptions and expectations of corporations, Wilson told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in June after he was elected chairman of the group.
“Fifty years ago, the focus was on shareholders, and that was a good thing because it forced accountability,” Wilson says. “When we got better at that, the focus shifted to consumers and we saw tremendous improvements in innovation and the customer experience. And now the focus is shifting to communities.”
In addition to the efforts of the Allstate Foundation and community volunteer programs, Wilson has led the company to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in socially responsible causes ranging from safe driving for teens to domestic violence prevention to youth empowerment. Allstate also has built catastrophe response vehicles that deliver water, food, and even teddy bears in the wake of natural disasters.
Under Wilson, Allstate also has raised the company’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, and tripled spending on corporate social responsibility.
“Companies must do more than just make money,” Wilson says. “Our role is to create prosperity for society—and the best way to create prosperity is through purpose.”
Wilson has held a number of senior executive positions at Allstate since 1995, and has been CEO since 2007 and chairman since 2008. In late February, he will re-assume the role of president after Matt Winter retires. Wilson previously served as president from 2005 to 2015.
Thomas Wilson II
Headquarters: Northbrook, IL
# of Employees: 43,050
Additional Titles: Chairman
Company Start Date: 1995
CEO start date: 2007
CEO Tenure: 10 years
First Position at Allstate: CFO
Undergraduate Degree: BSBA, University of Michigan
Graduate Degree: Northwestern University