Allstate didn't hand the reins of its direct sales initiative to some Internet whiz-kid. Instead, the carrier selected a seasoned insurance executive to lead its ambitious Web strategy.When Allstate made its bold move to direct sales, the Northbrook, Ill.-based carrier handed responsibility for the endeavor to one of its most-experienced executives. Steven Groot, an actuary and a lawyer, has been rising through the ranks of Allstate for more than three decades.

Groot has been sporting his most recent title, president for direct distribution and e-commerce, for several months. His mission is to lead the nation's largest publicly held personal lines carrier as it extends its foray into direct sales-selling and servicing policies on the Internet and through call centers.

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