Allstate Settles Suit Over Agents: The insurer would terminate its 1,600 California agents and make them independent contractors under the tentative accord reached in a class-action lawsuit. The settlement stems from a 1992 suit by a group of former employees who claimed the company refused to pay major expenses, such as computers and rent on buildings, in violation of California law. Allstate Insurance Co. said the shift would free it from a 1930s-era state law requiring businesses to pay all expenses incurred by employees. A group of agents vowed to challenge the deal. A final court hearing is scheduled Feb. 29 in Alameda County.