Allstate Insurance opens first offices in Massachusetts in 25 years

Allstate Insurance Co. is opening its first offices in Massachusetts since pulling out of the market 25 years ago because of the state’s then strict regulation of auto insurance rates.

On Monday, Allstate opened an office in North Andover and said it plans to open two more offices elsewhere in the state by the end of the year. Allstate also hopes to add an unspecified number of locations in 2013, said Allstate spokesman Chris Conner.

“We haven’t had a brick and mortar office in Massachusetts since 1987, so this is a significant day,” Conner said.

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The return of Allstate offices is another sign that the partial deregulation of auto insurance in Massachusetts four years ago is bringing competition to the market. More than a dozen other insurers, including big national firms like Geico and Progressive Insurance, have also started selling auto insurance in Massachusetts.

Allstate began selling auto insurance in Massachusetts again in three years ago after the state gave insurers more freedom to set their own rates. But until now, Allstate had relied on agents based in other states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, to market the products here.

Allstate’s offices will be run by independent contractors operating under the company’s brand. In addition to auto policies, they will also sell life insurance and other financial products.

The Northbrook, Ill. company is one of the largest US insurance companies, covering 16 million households. But it remains a small player in Massachusetts. It had about 1 percent of the market in 2010, according to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.

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