Allstate Insurance is looking to hire more than 600 people in New York by the end of the year. The company says it needs to keep pace with growing consumer demand for insurance and financial products and services in the state.

ROCHESTER — Allstate Insurance is looking to hire more than 600 people in New York by the end of the year. The company says it needs to keep pace with growing consumer demand for insurance and financial products and services in the state.

About a decade ago, there was a shift to internet-based insurance but after a wave of natural disasters that led many to learn they were underinsured, more people are back to buying insurance through registered agents.

Enzo Scollo built his Allstate business in the Rochester-area from the ground-up. "My customers are my neighbors. We are in the middle of Fairport, Perinton, East Rochester, Pittsford, Penfield and that's where our customers are. I go to Wegmans for a quick 10-minute shop and I end up there for an hour because I’m talking with everyone,” he tells News10NBC. That local connection people rely on when issues arise. "We had the big huge wind storm back in March and believe me, we were right there with the customers, our cell phones are on everybody's speed dial…They really want to do business with people they know,” Scollo added.

But the people they know, are starting to age out. "In the industry, about 50 percent of the knowledge base is set to retire in the next five years so there's not enough young people coming into this business,” says Josh Chapman, the Allstate Territory Sales Leader for Upstate NY. That’s why Allstate is willing to front some of the costs to get people going. "We'll help them get the license, get the education necessary to pass the state exams and become a full-fledge insurance agent,” Chapman adds.

The hope is that many of those new agents will want to build a local business of their own, like Scollo, but if they’re not ready. "Many of the support staff that have come through his organization are now agents themselves so there's career pathing for someone who maybe doesn't have the entrepreneurial foresight or the revenue to invest in their own business today, they can grow with us,” Chapman says.

Entry level positions pay up to $15/hour, agent commissions are limitless. Of the 600+ sales professionals, Allstate is looking for in New York, 67 will be agency owners and 33 will be financial specialists, the remaining will be hired by those small business owners as sales professionals. To recruit more agency owners, Allstate is offering a $2,500 award to any member of the general public who refers an eligible candidate to Allstate. The referral award is payable after the candidate has completed 90 days of Allstate agency ownership.

Interested candidates can learn more about becoming an Allstate agency owner by logging onto www.allstateagent.com or by calling 877-771-1015. Those interested in the sales professional opportunity can apply by clicking here.