Allstate Corp., the largest U.S. publicly traded seller of auto and home insurance, said first-quarter profit rose 13 percent as margins improved at the property- liability business and catastrophe losses fell.
Net income climbed to $677 million, or $1.53 a share, from $600 million, or $1.30, a year earlier, the Northbrook, Illinois-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Operating income was $1.46 a share, beating the $1.44 average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Allstate’s property-liability combined ratio hit 93.7 during the quarter, including factors such as catastrophes and prior year reserve re-estimates. That compares to 88.4 in the 2014 first quarter.
Property-liability premiums written for Q1 are booked at $7.3 billion, versus more than $6.9 billion in the 2014 first quarter. Premiums earned came in at $7.4 billion, up from $7 billion in the same period a year ago.
Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson has been investing in technology that can track driver behavior to improve underwriting. Allstate said it spent 93.7 cents for every premium dollar in its property-and-liability unit in the first quarter, compared with 94.7 cents a year earlier. Catastrophe costs fell to $294 million from $445 million.
“There was no news on the catastrophes. That’s news,” Cliff Gallant, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc., in an interview before results were released. “The weather was good for Allstate. They’re much more sensitive than anyone else” because of their homeowners exposure, he said.
Allstate rose less than 1 percent to $70 in New York on Tuesday, and is little changed this year. The insurer released results after the close of regular trading.
Progressive Corp., which competes with Allstate in auto coverage, has boosted its presence in home insurance through an acquisition announced in December. Progressive’s margins improved in the first quarter.
*Carrier Management added additional data from Allastate’s Q1 results to this story.