An article about the new CEO of All State Insurance (Chicago Tribune), once part of Sears, includes this tidbit.
Before Allstate was spun off from Sears, Roebuck and Co., the insurance guys didn’t have to worry about real estate. “Sears did it for us,” he[Thomas Wilson ] said.
Earlier this year, Allstate filed for a patent on what it calls its “retail deployment models” to find locations. “They’re very cool,” he said. “You can zoom in, use satellite imagery, and see what kind of construction goes on in various places.”
I tried a quick patent search with no luck.