Allstate is now a data and technology company – My interview with CEO Tom Wilson: • forbes.com

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Tom Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Allstate Corp., represents a photo at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg© 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP

I propose to change the name of the "Consumer Electronics Show" because what you find there far exceeds the field of electronics. We could just call it "The Everything Show" because no one or company is affected by the technology in any way today. And whether you're B2B or B2C, it's likely that something at CES is for you personally or professionally.

This is the event where companies will see and be seen. If you would like to participate in today's debate on technology and all that concerns it, attend the CES conference. In recent years, all sectors have been forced to re-examine their offerings as the world changes and technology continues to be affected by Moore's law and its exponential growth. We have progressed more in the last hundred years than in the Earth's entire existence. While CES presents adult toys, companies are releasing their brightest and most shocking objects.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Allstate CEO Tom Wilson, and approaching the Allstate booth in the north hall of the CES, I walked around in front of futuristic helicopters, autonomous cars and even a yacht. I arrived on the Allstate booth to meet Wilson who was extremely friendly, down-to-earth and surprisingly close to someone with the responsibility of running a business worth nearly forty billion dollars. It is interesting to note that Allstate was founded in 1931, after the split of Sears, Roebuck and Co., a company that is now on the verge of going bankrupt with the demise of its retail stores. The year was tough for the insurance industry, with so many natural disasters and a few years of losses. Allstate sales and inventory have both increased over the past five years. What surprised me when I met with Wilson, is his own humility in the face of the company. He is a problem solver, and someone who thinks not only of the income of his business, but also of the future, the well-being of society. He spoke of his frustration at the inability of key leaders to do anything to take action to deal with global warming and start fixing it. I had the impression that it was someone to whom I could ask or say anything, and he would not be bothered or flinched. An insurance CEO? Yes it is Tom Wilson.

One of the first things Wilson said was to believe that he was not running an insurance company strictly speaking, but a data and technology company. Allstate goes beyond traditional home and auto insurance to include digital services that meet the needs of today's customers. From mobile phone insurance to retirement planning, to telematics while driving, Allstate aims to extend customer relationships beyond a relationship where customers call after a car accident. Today, protecting customers is not just about keeping their cars and homes safe. Reinventing protection means finding new solutions to evolving problems and challenges.

Give customers the means to control their digital identity

This year, something horrible happened. My identity was stolen and used to scam customers. One day, I received an email from someone who said he had been a victim of a financial scam by a company that had advertised me on his website. I typed the URL and I was there, smiling at my computer, eager and ready on www.365expertoption.com. My photo was used on a website offering exchanges and bitcoins. The company said it had four employees and that one of those employees was me. I was very angry and felt that there was little I could do. Did I have a lawyer? Have I contacted employees via their chat service? To my horror, this Indian company took a picture of my Instagram account, posted it on its website, but it did not stop there. My husband, through a quick search on Facebook, found a whole Facebook page about me with photos from my Instagram account and fake quotes, a whole life that I did not conduct. It took me months to get it fixed. When I reported it to Facebook, I did not get an answer. It took a Facebook employee I knew personally to create a ticket for him to take action and delete the page. The website was also difficult to manage, so I had to contact the US-based hosting provider, who was finally able to delete it. A long time ago, I stopped sharing personal photos of my family online because I realized that your data did not belong to you. And many people feel out of control of their data. There is no way to keep track of all this. After this experience, I had a new vision of the data, the privacy of the data and the sensitivity of this topic for the individual. It's scary what can happen.

According to Allstate CEO Tom Wilson, customer data is the new currency. People care as much about the security of their identity as their car and their home. But they often feel they can not do anything personally to fix the problem. It's like trying to boil the ocean. Allstate's new Digital Footprint offering allows customers to view their digital profile, including every site containing their personal information. The goal is to empower customers to take their digital lives into their own hands.

At CES, this idea is at the base of the thousands of technologies exhibited during this massive event. Almost every business that a customer does business with, whether it's a VR headset, a phone or an autonomous car of the future, has customer data. Most customers have no idea how much data each company has.

As consumers go online, they create profiles, register on websites and provide personal data to access information. Most customers never read confidentiality agreements about who controls their information and what it is used for. Over time, they probably forget to share their data or think it will be harmless. This is often the case, until the information falls into the wrong hands or becomes a liability.

Today, major security breaches are announced almost daily. Scams and identity theft occur on a smaller scale every minute. Most consumers think that data breaches and identity theft are inevitable, but this is not necessarily the case. Before you can control your digital identity and security, you need to know your digital footprint. Wilson says that every account is like a door in your house. You take prudent steps to protect and lock the physical doors of your home, but people can go through digital doors that you did not even know existed.

In addition to showing consumers who have their information, the Allstate program also teaches them to remove this information. In some cases, just click on a link to delete the information or unsubscribe. Allstate's goal is to give people the choice between who has access to their data and what they do with it.

Improving financial well-being by transforming the future of transport

Allstate also hopes to empower its customers by taking control of the future of transportation. Consumers focus mainly on autonomous cars, but according to Wilson, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The most urgent problem is the high cost of personal transportation.

Personal transportation costs $ 4 trillion a year. If the cost were reduced to a more reasonable amount and improved by only 20%, it would add $ 3,000 to the pocket of each US household each year. According to Wilson, the biggest opportunity to improve personal financial well-being in America is to reduce personal transportation costs. It is so serious that Wilson says that if the auto industry were a factory, any manager would have shut it down because of inefficiency.

But how can we improve transportation and reduce costs? It's about tapping into the sharing economy. The vast majority of cars on the road count only one person. If you think about it, it's an extreme waste. If you've ever been in traffic in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, you've probably spent a minute thinking there should be a better way to get around.

Sharing cars and using transportation only when you need it could revolutionize the industry. This brings new challenges, such as shared vehicle insurance, but solving them is worth it.

Reducing the number of cars on the road could actually hurt Allstate's business because the number of drivers to be insured would be reduced. But Allstate and other insurance companies want to change the relationship between the United States and their cars because they are better for customers and the economy in general. Reducing the cost of personal transportation could open the door to consumers and give them more financial freedom, which is worth losing a few drivers on the roads. When Tom Wilson spoke about his vision of car sharing, I asked him all the questions: "Why would you do it if it would hurt your business?" He told me that if you do what is best for the customer, you will know how to make money later.

Consumers are now at the forefront of major concerns, including data security, financial well-being and climate change. According to Wilson, the first step is to look for new ways to protect customers instead of arguing for themselves. Allstate gives the example by reinventing the protection to meet the needs of modern customers. As more and more companies join its mission, customers will continue to be empowered and take control of their information and finances.

Blake Morgan is a guest speaker, futurist and author of "More Is More". Sign up for his weekly customer experience newsletter right here.

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Tom Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Allstate Corp., presents a photograph at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg © 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

I propose to change the name of the "Consumer Electronics Show" because what you find there far exceeds the field of electronics. We could just call it "The Everything Show" because no one or company is affected by the technology in any way today. And whether you're B2B or B2C, it's likely that something at CES is for you personally or professionally.

This is the event where companies will see and be seen. If you would like to participate in today's debate on technology and all that concerns it, attend the CES conference. In recent years, all sectors have been forced to re-examine their offerings as the world changes and technology continues to be affected by Moore's law and its exponential growth. We have progressed more in the last hundred years than in the Earth's entire existence. While CES presents adult toys, companies are releasing their brightest and most shocking objects.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Allstate CEO Tom Wilson, and approaching the Allstate booth in the north hall of the CES, I walked around in front of futuristic helicopters, autonomous cars and even a yacht. I arrived on the Allstate booth to meet Wilson who was extremely friendly, down-to-earth and surprisingly close to someone with the responsibility of running a business worth nearly forty billion dollars. It is interesting to note that Allstate was founded in 1931, after the split of Sears, Roebuck and Co., a company that is now on the verge of going bankrupt with the demise of its retail stores. The year was tough for the insurance industry, with so many natural disasters and a few years of losses. Allstate sales and inventory have both increased over the past five years. What surprised me when I met with Wilson, is his own humility in the face of the company. He is a problem solver, and someone who thinks not only of the income of his business, but also of the future, the well-being of society. He spoke of his frustration at the inability of key leaders to do anything to take action to deal with global warming and start fixing it. I had the impression that it was someone to whom I could ask or say anything, and he would not be bothered or flinched. An insurance CEO? Yes it is Tom Wilson.

One of the first things Wilson said was to believe that he was not running an insurance company strictly speaking, but a data and technology company. Allstate goes beyond traditional home and auto insurance to include digital services that meet the needs of today's customers. From mobile phone insurance to retirement planning, to telematics while driving, Allstate aims to extend customer relationships beyond a relationship where customers call after a car accident. Today, protecting customers is not just about keeping their cars and homes safe. Reinventing protection means finding new solutions to evolving problems and challenges.

Give customers the means to control their digital identity

This year, something horrible happened. My identity was stolen and used to scam customers. One day, I received an email from someone who said he had been a victim of a financial scam by a company that had advertised me on his website. I typed the URL and I was there, smiling at my computer, eager and ready on www.365expertoption.com. My photo was used on a website offering exchanges and bitcoins. The company said it had four employees and that one of those employees was me. I was very angry and felt that there was little I could do. Did I have a lawyer? Have I contacted employees via their chat service? To my horror, this Indian company took a picture of my Instagram account, posted it on its website, but it did not stop there. My husband, through a quick search on Facebook, found a whole Facebook page about me with photos from my Instagram account and fake quotes, a whole life that I did not conduct. It took me months to get it fixed. When I reported this to Facebook, I did not get an answer. It took a Facebook employee whom I knew personally to create a ticket to be able to act and delete the page. The website was also difficult to manage, so I had to contact the US-based hosting provider, who was finally able to delete it. A long time ago, I stopped sharing personal photos of my family online because I realized that your data did not belong to you. And many people feel out of control of their data. There is no way to keep track of all this. After this experience, I had a new vision of the data, the privacy of the data and the sensitivity of this topic for the individual. It's scary what can happen.

According to Allstate CEO Tom Wilson, customer data is the new currency. People care as much about the security of their identity as their car and their home. But they often feel they can not do anything personally to fix the problem. It's like trying to boil the ocean. Allstate's new Digital Footprint offering allows customers to view their digital profile, including every site containing their personal information. The goal is to empower customers to take their digital lives into their own hands.

At CES, this idea is at the base of the thousands of technologies exhibited during this massive event. Almost every business that a customer does business with, whether it's a VR headset, a phone or an autonomous car of the future, has customer data. Most customers have no idea how much data each company has.

As consumers go online, they create profiles, register on websites and provide personal data to access information. Most customers never read confidentiality agreements about who controls their information and what it is used for. Over time, they probably forget to share their data or think it will be harmless. This is often the case, until the information falls into the wrong hands or becomes a liability.

Today, major security breaches are announced almost daily. Scams and identity theft occur on a smaller scale every minute. Most consumers think that data breaches and identity theft are inevitable, but this is not necessarily the case. Before you can control your digital identity and security, you need to know your digital footprint. Wilson says that every account is like a door in your house. You take prudent steps to protect and lock the physical doors of your home, but people can go through digital doors that you did not even know existed.

In addition to showing consumers who have their information, the Allstate program also teaches them to remove this information. In some cases, just click on a link to delete the information or unsubscribe. Allstate's goal is to give people the choice between who has access to their data and what they do with it.

Improving financial well-being by transforming the future of transport

Allstate also hopes to empower its customers by taking control of the future of transportation. Consumers focus mainly on autonomous cars, but according to Wilson, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The most urgent problem is the high cost of personal transportation.

Personal transportation costs $ 4 trillion a year. If the cost were reduced to a more reasonable amount and improved by only 20%, it would add $ 3,000 to the pocket of each US household each year. According to Wilson, the biggest opportunity to improve personal financial well-being in America is to reduce personal transportation costs. It is so serious that Wilson says that if the auto industry were a factory, any manager would have shut it down because of inefficiency.

But how can we improve transportation and reduce costs? It's about tapping into the sharing economy. The vast majority of cars on the road count only one person. If you think about it, it's an extreme waste. If you've ever been in traffic in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, you've probably spent a minute thinking there should be a better way to get around.

Sharing cars and using transportation only when you need it could revolutionize the industry. This brings new challenges, such as shared vehicle insurance, but solving them is worth it.

Reducing the number of cars on the road could actually hurt Allstate's business because the number of drivers to be insured would be reduced. But Allstate and other insurance companies want to change the relationship between the United States and their cars because they are better for customers and the economy in general. Reducing the cost of personal transportation could open the door to consumers and give them more financial freedom, which is worth losing a few drivers on the roads. When Tom Wilson spoke about his vision of car sharing, I asked him all the questions: "Why would you do it if it would hurt your business?" He told me that if you do what is best for the customer, you will know how to make money later.

Consumers are now at the forefront of major concerns, including data security, financial well-being and climate change. According to Wilson, the first step is to look for new ways to protect customers instead of arguing for themselves. Allstate gives the example by reinventing the protection to meet the needs of modern customers. As more and more companies join its mission, customers will continue to be empowered and take control of their information and finances.

Blake Morgan is a guest speaker, futurist and author of "More Is More". Sign up for his weekly customer experience newsletter right here.