Just as Wood recognized the need to open retail stores
in outlying areas, so too did he recognize the average
family's need for an automobile and for low-cost
insurance. Allstate Insurance Co. was launched as a wholly
owned Sears subsidiary in 1931, and Wood became the first
employee-policyholder. Its name was taken from Sears line
of automobile tires.
At first, Allstate operated only by mail. However, by
1933 management discovered that most sales were being made
in smaller towns where the catalog business was big, while
the large metropolitan markets were not responding. As a
result, Allstate pioneered a bold idea - the installation
of sales locations in Sears stores.