Allstate Is Now A Data And Technology Company - My CES Interview With CEO Tom Wilson
(Source: forbes.com)

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(Original link: forbes.com)

I propose we change the name of the “Consumer Electronics Show” because what you find there is far beyond electronics. We could simply call it “The Everything Show,” because there is no person or company that is not impacted by technology in some way today. And whether you are B2B or B2C, it’s likely something at CES is relevant for you personally or professionally. This is the event where companies go to see and be seen. If you want to participate in today’s conversation about technology and everything that touches it, you attend CES. Every industry in the last few years has been forced to reexamine its offerings, as the world changes and technology continues to be impacted by Moore’s Law, and exponential growth. We’ve advanced more in the last one hundred years than in the entirety of earth’s existence. While CES has toys for grownups on display, and companies bring out their most shiny and shocking objects.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Allstate Tom Wilson, and as I walked up to the Allstate booth in the North Hall of CES I walked by futuristic helicopters, self-driving cars, and even one yacht. I arrived at the Allstate booth to meet with Wilson who was extremely personable, down to earth, and surprisingly neighborly for someone with the responsibility of managing an almost forty billion-dollar company. Interestingly enough Allstate was originally founded in 1931 when it was spun out of Sears, Roebuck and Co., a company that is now headed for bankruptcy with the demise of its retail stores. It’s been a tough few years for the insurance industry, with so many natural disasters, and facing a few years of loss. Allstate’s revenue and stock have both been up the last five years. What surprised me about my meeting with Wilson was his own humility about the business. He’s a problem solver, and someone who is thinking not only about the revenue of his business but about the future, about the wellbeing of society. He was talking about his frustration about major leaders’ inability to get anything done in the way of taking action to face global warming and start fixing it. I felt like this was someone I could ask anything or say anything to, and he would not be bothered or flinch. An insurance CEO? Yes this is Tom Wilson.
One of the first things Wilson said was he believes he is not running an insurance company per say, but a data and technology company. Allstate has been expanding beyond just traditional home and auto insurance to include digital services that meet the needs of modern customers. From cell phone insurance to retirement planning and driving telematics, Allstate aims to extend the customer relationship beyond one where customers only call when they’ve been in a car accident. Today, protecting customers is about more than just keeping their cars and houses safe. Reinventing protection means finding new solutions to evolving problems and challenges.
Empowering Customers To Control Their Digital Identities
This year something horrifying happened to me. My identity was stolen and used to scam customers. One day I received an email from a person who said he had been scammed out of money by a company that advertised me on their website. I typed in the URL and there I was, smiling at my computer, looking eager and ready on www.365expertoption.com. My photo was used on a website that offered trading and bitcoin. The company said it had four employees, and one of those employees was me. I was very angry and felt there was little I could do. Did I get a lawyer? Did I contact the employees through their chat service? To my horror, this company out of India had taken a photo from my Instagram, posted it to their website but they did not stop there. My husband, through a quick Facebook search, found an entire Facebook page about me with photos from my Instagram and fake quotes, an entire life I did not lead. It took months for me to get this dealt with. When I reported it to Facebook I got no response – it took an employee at Facebook who I knew personally, to create a ticket for them to take action and remove the page. The website was difficult to deal with as well, I had to contact the host provider who was based in the U.S., who eventually was able to take the website down. A long time ago I stopped sharing personal photos of my family online because I realized that your data is not your own. And many people feel out of control about their data. There is no way to keep track of it all. After this experience I had a new outlook on data, and data privacy, and how sensitive this subject can be for the individual. It is scary what can happen.
According to Allstate CEO Tom Wilson, customer data is the new currency. People care about the safety of their identity as much as they care about their cars and homes. But they often feel like there is nothing they can personally do to get a handle on it. It’s like trying to boil the ocean. Allstate’s new Digital Footprint offering allows customers to ...

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