Allstate Insurance Co. said it wants to expand in Maine by opening five new agencies in the state and adding staff to existing agencies.

The Farmington, Conn.-based insurance provider said in a news release that it is seeking five qualified candidates in Maine to appoint as agency owners, along with 15 additional salespeople to work at current locations.

Allstate said it plans to complete the Maine expansion over the next year. The company has 20 agencies in the state, employing about 70 people.

“Maine’s strong economy is fueling this expansion plan,” Allstate Northeast Region Strategic Deployment Leader Ed Norcia said. “We (will) target cities and areas that show growth and increasing demand as a part of Allstate’s broader strategy to expand our presence in Maine.”

Norcia said Allstate is “aggressively targeting” qualified candidates to join the company, and that experience as an insurance agent is not required.

“If they don’t have an insurance background, we’ll provide them with comprehensive education and the resources to help them get off to a solid start,” he said.

In addition to new agents, Allstate is seeking agency owners who are mid-career, mid-level managers who want to own and operate their own business, the company said.

The addition of the new agencies will have a compounding effect on the Maine job market, it said, since each new agency usually opens with a minimum of two employees.

To help facilitate the expansion effort, Allstate is offering $5,000 to anyone who refers a qualified agency owner. The referral is payable upon appointment of the candidate as an owner, the company said.

Candidates interested in becoming an agency owner must have a minimum of $50,000 to invest in the business, Allstate said.

The money would ensure the agency can fund normal day-to-day costs associated with opening and running a business, it said.

Interested candidates for any of the positions can visit allstate.com or call 1-800-733-7010, ext. 3395.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

canderson@pressherald.com

Twitter: @jcraiganderson