For Allstate, the bid to make its online auto and home insurance provider Esurance a profitable endeavor remains a long-term goal. But the 2015 second quarter showed some moderate progress.
Esurance generated a 9.1 percent increase in net written premium compared to the 2014 second quarter. That comes from higher average auto premiums and a reduction in policy growth to 6.4 percent over the same period last year that’s part of Allstate’s “profit improvement actions.”
Allstate Chairman and CEO Thomas Wilson, speaking during the insurer’s Q2 earnings call on Aug. 4, elaborated that the smaller, 6.4 percent hike reflected “tightened underwriting standards, reduced discounts, raised auto prices and reduced advertising expenses.”
“These actions were necessary to ensure that the doubling of the size of the business had appropriate pricing, particularly for preferred auto customers” Wilson said during the call.
In the 2015 first quarter, Esurance grew net written premiums by 8.6 percent and policies in force grew by nearly 9 percent over the same period in 2014.
Progress was more incremental in other areas. The combined ratio did decline by 2.1 points in Q2, reflecting reduced expenses, though the number still landed at 110.2, well above the below-100 number considered healthy.
At the same time, Wilson touted Esurance’s advance into homeowners insurance. The product is now offered in 19 states, he said, which “will enable us to both better serve customers, while lowering acquisition cost per policy.”
Allstate bought Esurance in 2011 in a $1 billion deal.
Esurance became Major League Baseball’s exclusive auto insurance partner this year in a multiyear agreement that includes title sponsorship of the sport’s new all-digital All-Star balloting. Financial terms were not disclosed.