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Allstate Auto Insurance

Allstate is the second largest car insurer in the United States. Founded in 1931, as part of Sears Roebuck, the company quickly grew from strength to strength. In 1993, the company became a completely separate entity.

Like other auto insurance giants, Allstate has a widespread advertising campaign featuring actor Dennis Haysbert - official spokesman for the company. The company has two catch lines, "That's Allstate's stand" and "Are you in good hands?", either or both of which, usually, close their commercials. Similar to, competitor, GEICO, their advertisements tend to be rather creative and entertaining. In contrast, up until recently, their ads were more to-the point and fact based - though often clever, and catchy, in some way. Arguably the most popular of recent commercials features a song called "Breaking up is Hard to Do", by singer Neil Sedaka, and is used to make reference to the difficulty experienced in switching auto insurance companies. The ad corrects the initial message with the assurance that an Allstate agent will help with "break-up' process, leading to the final statement of the commercial, "Breaking up is easy to do" followed by the usual, "Are you in good hands?". The musical background, from the actual song, along with a scene of a couple breaking up, blends nicely with the taglines to make the ad rather catchy.

Allstate has been around for a long time and has en excellent financial picture, along with a friendly ad campaign.

There is a flip side to this story, however. A book entitled, "From Good Hands, to Boxing Gloves", tells of Allstate's dealings with McKinsley and Company, a consulting firm, which led to recommendations, by the latter, of strategically "settling" with desperate customers and saving a significant amount of money in claims payment. The principle was, a customer in a terrible financial state, after an accident, would take much less than the coverage they deserved, simply to get themselves out of their poor situation - at great savings to the company. If the customer filing the claim declined such an offer, the "boxing gloves" would come out. Other articles, in magazines such as Business Week, make these claims as well. In addition quite a few television shows have done "exposes" on this story. Customer interviews were done and many customers claim that Allstate agents lied to them, outright, about their policies, using clever wording to make things sound better than they really were. In addition, rumours abound that Allstate drags out court cases, concerning claims, and uses delay tactics to prolong litigation, with the goal of frustrating the customer into giving up. It should be noted that Allstate vigorously denies these allegations. They also have an alleged policy of denying insurance, and refusing to renew insurance, to people in areas newly deemed to be too much of a risk, particularly hurricane prone Florida. Outside of the insurance arena, the company is pro-active in sponsoring many events and sports. They sponsor NASCAR and even feature such personalities in a few of their advertisements.

All in all, Allstate has a good financial picture but a lot of negative press surrounding it. While none of the claims have been proven, it still seems wise to advise persons to be cautious in dealings with the company. Perhaps some of their agents are to blame but in any case, it's always good to look around before selecting a company. As most companies these days, Allstate offers everyone with a free auto insurance quote, which eliminates the hassle and the risk of dealing with an agent alltogether. Plus, because the internet saves these companies money in the form of employees and other overhead, you're savings might be double!

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