Allstate is an insurer, right? Nope, says CEO Tom Wilson: “We’re a customer-focused data company.”
While Allstate does, of course, offer insurance (in fact, it’s one of the biggest insurance companies in the U.S.), its massive trove of customer information is what keeps the company one step ahead of its competitors, Wilson said Monday at Fortune Brainstorm Reinvent in Chicago, noting that Allstate pulls data from 1.2 million people every day. Fintech upstarts have tried to enter the market, but if they don’t have enough data. “They can’t make their business model work,” Wilson says.
One big provider of that kind of data is Allstate’s Drivewise app, which monitors users’ driving habits. Customers who opt-in to the program allow the insurer to capture real-time info, which lets Allstate better assess what type of driver they are.
But should people be concerned about giving up so much of their personal data? The reality, says Wilson, is that “you’re all giving up your information for free every single day.” He argues that unlike the user data collected by many tech companies, customers actually get a concrete benefit from opting to give the insurer their information. According to Wilson, 60% of Drivewise users actually end up paying less for insurance—i.e. they turn out to be safer behind the wheel that the company previously thought.
Indeed, Wilson says he’s interested in changing the way people are compensated for their data. Previously, he says, “we gave up all our data without knowing what it’s worth.” The CEO didn’t get into specifics, but he did make his ultimate goal clear: “I’d like to change the data marketplace and turn it on its head.”