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Allstate Insurance Co. wins Industrial Grand Challenge Award from NCSA

Karen Green, public information, NCSA
(217) 265-0748;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign today (Monday) will present the 2000 Industrial Grand Challenge Award to Allstate Insurance Co.  The award will be given at an evening reception for the NCSA Private Sector Program at the Radisson Suite Hotel in Champaign.

The Industrial Grand Challenge Award was established in 1992 to recognize companies in the NCSA Private Sector Program that accomplish competitive breakthrough applications as a result of their partnerships with NCSA.  In partnership with NCSA, Allstate used knowledge-discovery techniques in conjunction with high-performance computing tools to analyze gigabytes of insurance-claim data from Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments claims.

As a result of this effort, Allstate was able to identify three categories or segments with distinct characteristics.  This allowed Allstate to look at their business differently and build processes to better meet the needs of their customers.  This insight has led to a redesign of Allstate’s claim-handling process and has resulted in higher customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is one of Allstate’s top priorities, and is a significant measurement in the insurance industry.

“This project has changed the way we do business.  It has allowed us to build specific processes to meet our customers’ specific needs,” said Jack Midgal, senior manager at Allstate and team leader for the project with NCSA.

“Working with NCSA and using these new technologies in our business has opened up a new world for us,” Midgal said.  “Our understanding of our own business is tremendously improved, and we will be better able to serve our customers and shareholders in the future.”

Jim Bottum, executive director of NCSA, said the center’s work with Allstate demonstrates how technologies developed at NCSA can have practical strategic value for the business community.

“In the past, we have seen companies use these knowledge-discovery and
data-mining techniques to improve sales and market position,” Bottum said.  “Now, we are seeing Allstate use them to make actual changes in the way they do business.  Knowledge discovery and high-end computing can be used in a variety of ways to benefit the private sector.”

This is Allstate’s first Industrial Grand Challenge Award.

NCSA’s Private Sector Program (PSP) provides the opportunity for industry to collaborate with NCSA and the National Computational Science Alliance in the development of advanced computing and information technologies for the 21st century.  Through this program, the private sector has access to state-of-the-art high-performance computing technologies and research that can be applied to the information technology challenges of the business world.

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance.  NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking, and information technologies.  The National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the UI, industrial partners and other federal agencies fund NCSA.

The National Computational Science Alliance is a partnership to prototype an advanced computational infrastructure for the 21st century and includes more than 50 academic, government and industry research partners from across the United States.

The alliance is one of two partnerships funded by the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure program, and receives cost-sharing at partner institutions.  NSF also supports the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

The Allstate Corporation is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurance company.  Its main business units include Allstate Personal Property and Casualty, which provides insurance for more than 14 million households and has approximately 15,500 agents in the United States and Canada, and Allstate Life and Savings, which markets a number of life insurance and savings products under a variety of brands through a number of channels and is the nation’s 17th largest life insurance business. Allstate maintains a Web site at