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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Memory of the Month: Winter wonderland

SnowyHQEach month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to exercise your caption-writing skills.


GEICO was the first auto insurance company in the nation to offer around-the-clock telephone service, which we pioneered in 1981. Ever since then, you can call us at any time of the day or night, weekends and holidays, and you’ll be able to talk to a real live human about buying a policy, adding or removing a vehicle from your policy, or reporting a claim.


Of course, that means we need our associates to get to the office regardless of the weather if they can do so safely. Here’s a typical winter scene from a couple of decades ago at the corporate headquarters; associates trekking toward the building from the snowy parking lot so we can provide the service we promise.


I’ve always rather enjoyed that challenge, even though I wound up spending the night at the office a couple of years ago when I got my car stuck in the snow while trying to go home after work. My wife wasn’t too happy about that, but I had the best commuting story in the office the next day!


So let it snow! We’ll be here if you need us!


Share your snow stories with us in the comments.






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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Camels return to the spotlight in GEICO’s latest “It’s What You Do” commercial

Camels around the country have become busy celebrities since GEICO’s “Hump Day” commercial aired more than a year ago, but they’ve had to put up with a lot of tomfoolery in the process. In the latest “It’s What You Do” commercial, meet a couple of camels who have found that there’s a price to pay for their stardom.


These days, if you’re a camel, you have to be patient and tolerant. It’s what they do …







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Monday, December 22, 2014

From GEICO to you: a feast for your ears

It’s that wonderful time of year where seasonal music starts taking over the radio airwaves. I joined in all the reindeer games and compiled a very eclectic mix of holiday joy for your ears. Enjoy!







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Friday, December 19, 2014

Spread holiday cheer without draining your bank account

Homemade GiftsThe holidays are upon us – time to spread our joy…and open our wallets. Thinking of the amount of money that will be coming out of my bank account gives me some anxiety. But not much, because I am fabulous on a budget and ‘tis the season to save. Read on for some glad tidings of savings and more.


I am girl who loves technology, so I stay on top of the latest and greatest apps, websites and toys. When I found out about the Christmas Gift List app and Honey (Google Chrome extension), I was jumping with holiday joy.


Christmas Gift List helps me stay organized and on budget as I contemplate holiday gifts. Set a gift budget for each person and mark the gift as purchased as you do your shopping! This app is Android-based, but there are similar apps for all mobile operating systems.


Calling all online shoppers! Have you heard of Honey? Install this extension to your chrome browser and it will automatically apply coupon codes to your shopping cart. This service is a holiday miracle. I could spend a lot of time trying to find coupon codes on various sites, but Honey saves me that time! #SAVING


My favorite way to save money, though, is to get my craft on! Sites like Pinterest and Buzzfeed will help bring your inner elf out. (Warning: It can be a challenge to tear yourself away from these sites/apps and actually do the work.) If you can make the same gift for several people, you can save a little more. You can buy your material in bulk at your local wholesaler (i.e., Costco). Here are some of my favorite crafting gift ideas:



  • Personalized CDs for your friends.

  • I love to make my own “best of” edible items: Everyone loves some yummy holiday snacks or sweets, so whip up your favorite batch of cookies or snack mix, and share with your friends and family.

  • Goodness in a jar: Mason jars are quite popular right now, and using a mason jar to hold the ingredients to cookies, drinks or a family recipe. You can decorate the jar and include the recipe for the goodie inside for a wonderful and inexpensive gift.

  • Gift kits: These can be inexpensive and witty. Select a theme and two or three items that go with it. Decorate the package and add a printable label to give it your personal touch.

  • Homemade decorative mug/cup: Bring out your inner artist and make a custom print coffee mug. Buy a plain mug in a single color and decorate it with porcelain paint pens. Simply bake the mug and, just like that, you have a unique gift for someone special.

  • Homemade candles: Candles are a simple gift that everyone uses; choose from the many scents available, or you can even make your own unique fragrance.

  • Candleholder: If you want a gift that will last longer that a wick, you can make a decorative candleholder. You can decorate a holder using a process similar to the one for a ceramic mug or make your candle in a mason jar.

  • Hand-warmers: To warm a person’s heart, start with their hands. This craft does require a little sewing, but that lets you have fun with the shape of the warmer. You take two pieces of fabric, such as flannel, and sew them together with a gap so you can add flax seed, rice, barley or hulled corn inside and then finish stitching the warmer up.

  • Homemade ornaments: These can be made by people of all ages and for anyone, so they make a great family project. Simple and priceless, and any number of designs can work.


The possibilities of homemade gifts are endless. You can find these ideas and many more, as well as other holiday saving tips and free printable labels, on the ‘Tis the season to save Pinterest board: http://ift.tt/1r7XnNn


Enjoy the season!






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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Protecting your identity: the holiday gift that keeps on giving

identity protectionMost of us will go about our annual routine this holiday season, looking to buy that perfect gift for our loved ones, oblivious to some of the potential threats we face. For example, did you know that each time you use your credit, debit or store card, you leave behind a trail of information for companies (let’s call them Big Brother) looking to capture, warehouse and sell consumers’ personal information to the highest bidder?


Big Brother collects and sells your personal information for a profit without your consent. Sounds fishy, but it’s definitely legal and it’s not stealing by any means – and it’s a big business. And as your precious personal information is passed along from point A to point B (and C and D), all without your knowledge, it is susceptible to data breaches, as we have seen happen on so many occasions in recent years. Once that happens, your information has been compromised, and you don’t have a clue who has access to it.


How do companies get your information? Remember when you signed up for the store credit card to receive 10 percent off your purchase? You thought it was a good deal at the time, didn’t you? Companies also use clever in-store marketing promotions to gather information on customers.


Every purchase you make with a credit, debit or store card provides valuable data that information brokers can use like pieces of a puzzle to build a profile of you. Once they think they have you tabbed as a member of a specific demographic, they will then try to sell you products and services based on your past purchases. So the next time you receive an email promotion saving you 25 percent off of those skinny jeans that you like so much, now you know why.


You can’t always avoid using a card for big purchases, but if you want to minimize Big Brother’s opportunities, use cash when you can. And you might not want to sign up for any in-store promotions where they ask you to share your personal information.


Big Brother’s tactics may be legal, but crooks are also on the lookout for opportunities to take advantage of you. That’s not a strictly a seasonal phenomenon, but the more shopping you do, the more care you need to take when using credit cards.


You can’t eliminate all of these risks, but you don’t have to face them alone, either. Consider identity theft protection services, which can help monitor your financial accounts, credit reports and personal information, and restore your identity if you do become a victim.






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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Allstate Announces New Leadership Structure to Enhance Customer-Focused Strategy

This release contains: 1 Photo, 1 Related Document

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) today announced organizational and leadership changes to align with its customer-focused strategy, improve operational effectiveness and leverage management talent.


"These changes will help us build the next-generation corporation which delivers strong business results as a purpose-driven organization that improves the lives of people and communities," said Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Allstate Corporation. "We will better serve customers, accelerate innovation and continue to set the pace of change for the competition."


The following changes are effective January 5, 2015:


Matt Winter Named Allstate President


Matt Winter is being promoted to president of The Allstate Corporation and chief executive officer of Allstate Life Insurance Company, from his current role as president, Allstate Personal Lines. Winter retains responsibility for the Allstate branded property-casualty business and will integrate Allstate’s life insurance operations into Allstate Personal Lines. He will continue to report to Wilson, who remains chairman and chief executive officer. Winter joined Allstate in 2009 as president and CEO of Allstate Financial and has held senior leadership positions with American International Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life and Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company.


"Matt is an exceptional leader. He has been a key to our success in positioning Allstate agencies for profitable growth," Wilson said. "I’m excited about the opportunity to continue working together to further improve our competitive position."


To better serve customers, Allstate brand distribution will be organized to enhance the trusted advisor role of Allstate agencies. Western Territory President James A. Haskins will be promoted to executive vice president, Allstate Brand Distribution. Haskins has more than two decades of transformational leadership in the insurance industry. To modernize the operating model, a number of operating activities will be consolidated into one unit, which will be led by Jim DeVries as executive vice president, Allstate Brand Operations. DeVries has successfully led many organizational changes and is currently Allstate’s chief administrative officer.


"I am grateful to be a part of Allstate’s longstanding tradition of providing customers the best overall value in the marketplace through the finest agency system in the industry," Winter said. "And I am excited to partner with Tom and the rest of our associates in that mission."


Emerging Businesses


Businesses that serve multiple customer segments and markets will make up the Emerging Businesses organization, which will be led by Don Civgin as president, Emerging Businesses, reporting to Wilson. This organization will include Business-to-Business, Esurance, Answer Financial, annuities and the company’s connected car initiatives. The Business-to-Business organization includes Encompass, Ivantage, Allstate Dealer Services, Allstate Business Insurance, Allstate Roadside Services and Allstate Benefits, and will continue to be successfully led by Kathy Mabe. Civgin is currently president and chief executive officer of Allstate Financial and oversees Esurance. He previously was Allstate’s chief financial officer.


"Allstate has a vast array of growth opportunities, in addition to those available through Allstate agencies. Leveraging their combined strength while maintaining highly focused independent operations will best meet the needs of customers and shareholders," said Wilson.


Enterprise Technology and Strategic Ventures


Suren Gupta, executive vice president, Allstate Technology & Operations, will take on the role of executive vice president, Enterprise Technology and Strategic Ventures. He will lead the global technology organization and oversee Allstate’s investments in companies that advance its technology-driven customer-focused strategy. Gupta will continue reporting to Wilson.


Harriet Harty to Lead Human Resources


Harriet Harty is being promoted to executive vice president, Human Resources, reporting to Tom Wilson. She has had great success in a wide range of responsibilities within Human Resources in nearly 20 years with Allstate.


The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” The Allstate brand’s network of small businesses offers auto, home, life and retirement products and services to customers in the United States and Canada. In 2013, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $29 million to support local communities. Allstate employees and agency owners donated 200,000 hours of service across the country.


# # #


Contact:


Brian Faith

(847) 402-5600






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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday sweaters, cookies and gingerbread houses keep us cozy

cookiesThe holidays are full of traditions and, here at GEICO headquarters in Washington, D.C., my corporate communications colleagues and I recently renewed ours: a cookie throwdown. With 18 different cookies to sample and vote on, everyone left with a sugar buzz, a smile and a bag full of cookies to take home.


Chocolate peppermint cookies, almond bars, peanut butter kiss cookies, shortbread and many more varieties covered the table with deliciousness! One crafty baker entered four different types of cookies to up his odds of capturing top honors – to no avail, as it turned out! Sorry, Willie!


Wasting no time trying out GEICO blogger Rachel’s cookie recipe, public relations director Chris took home the grand prize in the taste test with the chocolate snowball cookies!


Some of my colleagues even donned festive sweaters. Robin, Willie and Karen (pictured) really captured the holiday spirit, don’t you think! Which holiday sweater is your favorite?


Gingerbread HouseWe were pretty proud of ourselves until we heard about the pricing and product management department’s gingerbread house competition. The beautiful, intricate confections looked too good to eat. They weren’t, but the amazing gingerbread model of our office building you see here survived – so far!


What are your favorite holiday traditions?






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Commercial Insurance Chief Product Officer Tracy Ryan named among Business Insurance’s 2014 Women to Watch

Tracy Ryan, Liberty Mutual’s Chief Product Officer for its Commercial Insurance business unit, has been selected by Business Insurance magazine as one of its 2014 Women to Watch.



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Monday, December 15, 2014

Timothy Zepnick Named Regional VP for Liberty Mutual’s Upper Midwest Business Insurance Operation

Mr. Timothy Zepnick has been appointed Regional Vice President for Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Upper Midwest region within the company’s Business Insurance operation.



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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Giving Tuesday, GEICO style: Recycled Ride eases single mother’s hardships

By guest blogger Michael Young, public relations


RecycledRideI hope you all survived this year’s post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza. Maybe, like me, you even brought home a couple of sweet Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. But let’s toss aside the shopping for now and focus on what I call the crown jewel in this string of days: Giving Tuesday.


GEICO stepped up on Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday), providing a restored ride to a family in need in the Greater Seattle Area. This donation was made possible through our partnership with Recycled Rides, a program launched by the National Auto Body Council that completely restores totaled vehicles for families who are in dire need of reliable transportation.


Alicia Stout, a single mother of three children with special needs, received a fully refurbished 2010 Ford Edge from Recycled Rides at GEICO’s office in Renton, Washington. Stout, who until recently was homeless, often had to take up to seven buses in a day to go to work, buy groceries and take her kids to appointments.


Stout said receiving the Ford Edge was the best early Christmas present ever. “It’s unspeakable; I don’t have words,” she said of the generosity. “I just say thank you to God and everybody involved who helped to make it happen.”


I’m a relatively new GEICO associate, and it’s inspiring to see my employer work alongside other companies to make a profound impact in somebody’s life. It also reminds me not to take it for granted that I can pick up the keys, hop in the car and drive off on my merry way.






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Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Basketball Legend Magic Johnson to Headline TD Ameritrade Institutional's National RIA Conference

TD Ameritrade Reports Monthly Metrics

Monday, December 8, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Delicious desserts make for a sweet holiday season

ChocSnowballsThe holidays are a wonderful time to spend with your family and friends, and if you’re like me, your favorite way to spend that time is beside a warm fire with hot cocoa in one hand and your favorite holiday dessert in the other. So, if you haven’t nailed down your holiday dessert list yet, here are a few of my favorites that you might want to add:


Pumpkin pie – This might be the first dessert that comes to mind when thinking about the holidays. Try this recipe during the holiday season, you’ll be sure to accumulate a few more fans of your baking.


Red velvet cupcakes – Cupcakes might not be a traditional dessert for the holidays, but they sure are delightful – especially red velvet cupcakes. These light and fluffy desserts are sure to be a winner at the family gathering, and I have found a wonderful recipe for you to use.


Chocolate snowball cookies – One of my all-time favorites to make during the holidays, these treats go well with the winter weather outside. These cookies please the eyes with their pretty crackled snowy tops and fudge peeking out from underneath – and they’re delicious! Check out this recipe; your guests will be awed by your baking skills.


No matter what desserts you choose to have during the holiday season, we hope you have a wonderful time enjoying them with family and friends. Happy holidays everyone!






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TD Ameritrade Institutional Technology Tops Financial Planning's Advisor Satisfaction Survey for Third Straight Year

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Allstate to Join Consortium Researching Benefits of Using Drones

Insurer hopes to use drones to improve customer experience with property claims, especially after catastrophes

This release contains: 1 Photo, 1 Related Document

In an effort to learn more about how unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, can improve the property claims process, Allstate Insurance Company will join a consortium dedicated to the research and development of drones.


Drones used for property insurance can potentially create much faster inspections of homes both for underwriting and claims adjustment. Ultimately, drones used in the claims process could provide faster payments to customers, especially in an area where widespread damage occurs quickly.


In the event of a catastrophe, for example, where physical access to a neighborhood might be restricted by local authorities, a drone could potentially help claims professionals serve customers in spite of those restrictions. Ongoing weather could also affect physical inspections of property where a drone might be able to work without any delay.


"We still have a lot of work to do before introducing drones into our property claims service, but the potential for their use could change the industry in a big way," says Allstate’s Claims Vice President Shawn Broadfield. "Continuing this research puts us on the leading edge of product and service innovation in our industry and beyond."


Allstate and several other companies, including commercial roofing groups, shingle manufacturers and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), were invited to join a property drone consortium by EagleView Technology Corporation, a leading technology provider of aerial imagery, data analytics and geographic information system solutions. EagleView will lead the group with a focus on property drone research and development.


In addition to research and development, Allstate expects to work with the consortium to gain regulatory approval for the use of drones in the insurance and construction industries as well as refine the way data is collected for property conditions and damage assessments.


Allstate has previously tested the use of drones to obtain information about battery life and picture resolution but the consortium promises a much wider scope of research with a larger, dedicated budget to enable it to find software and hardware solutions and gain regulatory approvals.


About Allstate Corporation

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as the web via www.allstate.com, http://ift.tt/KyeMtQ and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” In 2013, $29 million was given by The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners to support local communities. Allstate employees and agency owners donated 200,000 hours of service across the country.


# # #


Contact:


Justin Herndon

Justin.Herndon@allstate.com

727-512-8314






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