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The story behind the good hands

The tagline "You're in good hands®" has been at the heart of our identity for 70 years. Today we are as passionate as ever about creating a society where customers feel protected from life's uncertainties.

Early milestones in Allstate's history

Allstate launched on April 17, 1931, as the Great Depression intensified and Americans struggled with financial insecurity. The first policy insured a 1930 Studebaker at $41.60 for the year. The first claim was paid when a customer walked into Allstate's one-room headquarters holding a door handle that had been pried off by a would-be car thief.

By the end of 1931, Allstate had 4,217 active car insurance policies. There were 113,427 customers at the end of that decade.

Even in those early days, Allstate helped customers no matter where they lived or what kind of car they drove. Allstate was initially a mail-order company, like its parent, Sears, with its famous catalogs. The first Allstate agent debuted with a card table in the Sears Roebuck booth at the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago. A year later, agents began working out of the rapidly growing number of Sears department stores across the United States.

Allstate employee Davis Ellis in 1957.

Davis Ellis, vice president and general sales manager, 1957
Davis Ellis helped develop Allstate's slogan, "You're in good hands."

Allstate ad in a 1932 Sears catalog.

Mail-order auto insurance, Sears catalog, 1932
Allstate's first ads appeared in Sears catalogs with "fill out and mail now" coupons.

The Good Hands® promise

In 1950, 18-year-old Joan Ellis got sick and was hospitalized just before her high school graduation. The doctor told her parents not to worry. "You're in good hands," he told them. Sure enough, Joan recovered soon after.

Her father, Davis Ellis, a vice president and general sales manager at Allstate, was on a committee to create a new marketing slogan for the company.

As the team brainstormed, Davis recalled how that doctor's words helped relieve his family's stress. He decided that was how Allstate customers should feel after a car accident or house fire – like an expert had arrived to make things OK.

Ever since, the Good Hands promise has been at the heart of Allstate's advertising. Employees and agents still use that phrase as a reminder of their commitment to keeping customers well protected from life's uncertainties.

Early innovation in corporate giving

By the 1950s, Allstate was nearly doubling in size every two years and thinking about how to use its growing influence to create a safer world. This led to the creation of The Allstate Foundation in 1952.

The focus on building a better society would define Allstate's commitment to corporate responsibility. The 1954 annual report said, "Leadership in business carries with it a basic obligation to exemplify good citizenship."

Throughout the 1950s and '60s, The Allstate Foundation – one of the first corporate foundations in the country – offered driver training course scholarships for high school and college students.

Community-based giving became a hallmark of The Allstate Foundation – and it still is. In the 1970s, the Foundation provided scholarships for disadvantaged residents to train as nurses. In the '80s, the Foundation started funding Neighborhood Housing Services to offer financial assistance to people living in worn-down neighborhoods across the United States.

"Allstate's activities in the area of corporate social responsibility and change must be intensified," Chairman of the Board Arch Boe said in 1977.

"As a company and as an industry, we have accomplished much. But in the future, society will expect substantially more."

Milestones in
Allstate's history


Allstate Insurance Company launches on April 17.

Sears headquarters in Chicago, 1931.

Sears headquarters in Chicago, 1931


Allstate is the first to tailor auto rates by age, mileage and use of the car. The rest of the industry soon follows.

A description of Allstate's Merit Rating Plan from 1939.

Merit Rating Plan, 1939


The company's Illustrator Policy debuts, using plain English and illustrations to help customers understand their coverages.

A copy of Allstate's Illustrator Policy from 1947.

Illustrator Policy, 1947


Allstate launches a catastrophe response plan to send in a large number of claim specialists to help customers immediately after a disaster.


The Good Driver Discount Plan launches in many states, offering good drivers the lowest rates on car insurance.

Two men shaking hands in front of a car.

Discounts for good drivers and compact cars, 1959-60


The Allstate Research and Planning Center opens in Menlo Park, California, to help with market research.

Illustration of Allstate's Judson Branch Research Center.

Judson Branch Research Center in Menlo Park, California, 1966


Allstate moves its headquarters to a new 122-acre, six-building complex in Northbrook, Illinois.

Cows graze in front of Allstate' offices in Northbrook, IL.

Allstate headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, 1967


After more than a decade of advocating for seat belt use, Allstate works with legislators and automakers to make installation of seat belts in all cars mandatory.

Three men at an Allstate Safety Seat Belt Drawing.

Seat belt safety promotional event, 1968


Allstate lobbies automakers to produce "tougher cars," including sturdier, uniform bumpers. The company's advocacy work for safer vehicles continues throughout the '70s and '80s.

Crash test dummies Vince and Larry at a safety demonstration in Cleveland.

Air bag safety demonstration, 1990s


The Sears Financial Network launches, offering one-stop financial services with Allstate, Coldwell Banker and Dean Witter together at Sears stores. Customers can shop for a new home, insurance and financial services at once.

Woman and man behind a desk at an Allstate office.

Sears Financial Network, 1982


Allstate introduces the Neighborhood Office Agent (NOA) program to make agents more accessible to customers. By the end of the year, there were 1,582 agents at 944 NOA locations.

An Allstate agent stands in front of an agency.

Allstate agency, 1984


Allstate becomes a publicly traded company with the largest IPO to date in U.S. history when Sears sells 19.8% of its ownership. Two years later, Sears spins off its remaining shares, making Allstate an independent, 100% publicly held corporation.

Men on the floor of the NYSE during Allstate's IPO.

New York Stock Exchange initial public offering, 1993


The Good Hands Network® goes live in Oregon. Customers can now purchase auto insurance on the internet, over the phone or through an agent.


The Supplier Diversity Program launches to increase procurement of goods and services from minority-owned businesses.


Following Hurricane Katrina, Allstate creates, a coalition seeking to better prepare and protect Americans from natural disasters. The Allstate Foundation donates more than $6 million to help hurricane victims recover.


Allstate begins offering Drivewise®, which monitors driving behavior through a small telematics device. Customers who install Drivewise devices in their cars are rewarded for low mileage and safe driving. In 2014, Allstate introduces Drivewise Mobile, the industry's first mobile telematics app.

Hand installing Allstate’s Drivewise device in a car's port.

Drivewise device, 2010


When the COVID-19 pandemic strikes, Allstate delivers on its "You're in good hands®" motto through the Shelter-in-Place Payback, which gave almost $1 billion back to auto customers over three months.

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