The insurer’s sales force views this move as an expensive burden despite promised benefits.
Allstate insurance agents have been expressing their discontent with the insurer’s decision to create customer call centers.
The agents say it is an expensive burden but the insurer calls it an improvement in efficiency.
Tom Wilson, Allstate CEO, explained that the insurance company is currently shifting service tasks from its agents into a centralized system. This is “because we can do it cheaper, better, faster.”
This level of discontent among Allstate insurance agents is a rare event, where there has been peace and pride for many years. In fact, the insurer has won many consecutive awards for being a great place to work. As a result, this recent restlessness stands out.
The grief stems from the insurer’s intentions to construct three large call centers in the United States. Employees of those centers will handle routine customer inquiries. At the moment, the company’s agents provide service to policyholders and prospective customers with those inquiries.
“We’re building an integrated service operation to pull about 75 percent of the service work out of those local agents and put it into centralized things because we can do it cheaper, better, faster,” said Wilson last week at a Barclays-hosted event.
Allstate insurance agents stand to lose the equivalent to 2 percent of their commissions on policies.
Moreover, agents also risk losing 22 percent from their base 9 percent commission as well. This makes it easy to understand why they are vocally objecting to the call center plans.
At first launch of the program, it is voluntary for agents. That said, by the time of the writing of this article, the insurer has had very few volunteers. However, as of yet there has been no official confirmation that the program won’t become mandatory in the future.
Should the insurance company force its agents to participate in this program, the company would enjoy substantial savings. Two percent of the $30.5 billion agent-sold premiums written under the Allstate brand in 2018 represents $612 million in savings. That equates to 8 percent of last year’s $8.1 billion in expenses connected to the insurer’s offerings.