The Allstate Corporation is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. A Fortune 100 company, with $130 billion in total assets, Allstate sells 13 major lines of insurance, including auto, property, life and commercial. Allstate also offers retirement and investment products and banking services. Allstate is widely known through its "You're In Good Hands With Allstate" slogan.

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Address1819 Electric Rd. S.W.
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Variable annuity sales in the United States continue to decline in the wake of the financial crisis and capital market turmoil.

First quarter sales of variable annuities totaled $30.4 billion.  This represents a 26% decrease from the same period a year ago.

Total variable annuity sales for 2008 totaled $154.8 billion, a drop of 15.1% from 2007.

The top 5 variable annuity companies in terms of revenue were lead by MetLife:

By individual companies, MetLife re-captured the No. 1 spot, with $3.7 billion in sales for the first quarter, according to Morningstar. In second place was TIAA-CREF, with sales of $3.5 billion; Axa/MONY ranked third with nearly $2.9 billion in sales, while Prudential Financial/American Skandia/Allstate took fourth place, with sales of $2.1 billion. Rounding out the top five was John Hancock Life Insurance Co., with $2 billion in first-quarter sales, according to Morningstar.

Source: Trading Markets

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Insurance Company rating agency A.M. Best released a report on the state of the industry for life and annuity insurance companies.

The report is somewhat optimistic given the carnage the industry has experienced over the past year or so.

The industry as a whole managed to eke out a small amount of net income--$91.5 million--for 2008.  However, capital losses for 2008 reached $19.6 billion.

Companies such as Allstate Corporation and The Hartford Financial Services have been hit hardest. 

However, not all insurers have suffered during the downturn.  For example, MetLife generated $3.21 billion in net income in 2008.

Certain lines of business such as variable annuities and asset management have been hit hard while many other lines of business remain solid.

Insurance companies have more access to capital in the current environment and they appear to be more focused on their core product lines.

Source: Investment News

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Barrons--a weekly trade publication for the investment community--has written favorably on parts of the U.S. life insurance sector over the past several months.  

In particular, Barrons had singled-out perceived opportunities with shares of Hartford Financial Services Group and Prudential Financial.  

The publication remains bullish on several of the companies that were recently approved for TARP funds. 

In addition to Hartford and Prudential, Barrons has favorable views of Allstate and the Principal Financial Group.

Barrons believes that the TARP funding is a big positive for the sector in general.

Source: Barrons (subscription required)

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