Independent insurance agents represent approximately one-third of the personal insurance lines market in the United States and $45 billion in premiums. In late 1999, insurance titan Allstate, who traditionally only sells through Allstate agents, acquired CNA Personal Insurance (a division of CNA Insurance); CNA Personal has existing relationships with 3,700 independent agents, cultivated over 20 years of selling through this channel.

In September 2000, Allstate rebranded their new acquisition as Encompass, a company that would sell exclusively through independent agents. "We have pledged to sell only through independent insurance agents," Ernest A. Lausier, president of Encompass, said at the time of the brand launch. "We help independent agents do what they do best—recommend the coverage that best fits their customers' needs. We want to be the market leader, the carrier of choice among independent agents."

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