Allstate Insurance Co. has received nothing but kudos from analysts for the boldness and vision of its Good Hands Network-the name the Northbrook, Ill.-based carrier gave its integrated call center, Internet and agent sales strategy.But some agents don't like Allstate's multichannel strategy-especially the part that cost them their jobs. On August 1, 27 current and former agents filed a class-action lawsuit in federal district court in Philadelphia, charging Allstate with nine violations, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional age discrimination and retaliation in violation of federal laws.

Allstate's reorganization plan-announced in November 1999-included terminating 6,400 employee agents and offering them enhanced severance packages and the option of converting to independent contractors.

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