Allstate saw its profit more than double thanks to increased premiums, strong investment results and lower auto insurance claims frequency. Net income was $550 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared to $242 million in the same period last year.
Operating income was $510 million for the quarter. The recorded combined ratio was 97.2 and underwriting results were good for auto, homeowners and other personal lines despite $993 million of catastrophe losses.
Net investment income was up 17.7 percent. Property/liability premiums were up 2.6 percent in the quarter.
“The strategy to leverage consumer insurance platforms to build a broader consumer focused business also progressed,” said Tom Wilson, chairman and chief executive officer, who also touted a growth in the customer base to 75 million policies.
On a call with analysts, Wilson highlighted the success of Allstate’s digital claims processing initiatives that he said have benefitted customers, repair shops and the insurer. “Everyone’s happy,” he said. Because of the technology, customers are getting their payments faster and their repaired cars back sooner. An auto claims process that could take five to seven days has been reduced to hours in many cases. As a result, the insurer has saved money by closing some claims centers and reducing its use of field adjusters.
Allstate also saw its first quarter profit take a big jump this year to $666 million, up from the $217 million reported for the first quarter of 2016.
Q2 2017 Property/Liability Highlights:
Property/liability underwriting income of $227 million was $293 million above the prior year quarter, due to increased auto insurance underwriting income reflecting higher average premiums, lower claims frequency and favorable prior year reserve re-estimates. This was partially offset by an increased expense ratio which included $52 million of restructuring expenses, a majority of which are related to Allstate brand claims process changes and office closures due to the expansion of the virtual auto claim estimating capabilities.
Allstate brand auto net written premium grew 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2017, reflecting a 5.4 percent increase in average premium compared to the prior year quarter, which was partially offset by a 2.6 percent decline in policies in force. The recorded combined ratio of 95.8 in the second quarter of 2017 was 5.4 points better than the prior year quarter and was favorably impacted by increased premiums earned, lower claim frequency, and favorable prior year reserve re-estimates primarily related to injury coverages.
Allstate brand homeowners net written premium increased 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the prior year quarter, reflecting a 1.8 percent increase in average premium that was partially offset by a 1.3 percent decline in policies in force. The insurers said that homeowners business growth has been hurt by actions taken to improve auto margins, but new issued applications grew by 1.0 percent in the second quarter over the prior year quarter, and the renewal ratio of 87.0 was comparable to the first quarter of 2017. The recorded combined ratio of 97.2 in the second quarter of 2017 increased by 0.2 points compared to the prior year quarter.
Allstate brand other personal lines net written premium of $441 million increased 3.0 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the second quarter 2016. The recorded combined ratio of 90.8 in the second quarter of 2017 improved by 0.4 points compared to the prior year quarter, driven by an improved loss ratio, partially offset by a higher expense ratio.
Online seller Esurance’s net written premium growth of 4.1 percent compared to the prior year quarter reflects increased average premium in auto and homeowners. Policy growth was 0.3 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the second quarter of 2016, as an increase in homeowners more than offset a slight decline in auto policies. The recorded combined ratio of 106.1 was 2.8 points better in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the second quarter of 2016.
Encompass net written premium declined by 9.5 percent and policies in force were 14.9 percent lower in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the prior year quarter, as the insurer exit unprofitable markets and raised prices. The recorded combined ratio of 104.4 in the second quarter of 2017 was 0.5 points below the second quarter of 2016.
Allstate paid $1.4 billion in November 2016 to acquire SquareTrade, which offers protection plans for smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, home appliances, cameras and other devices. SquareTrade net written premium was $85 million in the second quarter of 2017 and generated an underwriting loss of $22 million. Policies in force were 31.3 million, an increase of 1.4 million policies in this quarter, due to continued growth in the U.S retail channel. Operating income of $1 million excludes the $23 million ($15 million, after-tax) impact of the amortization of purchased intangible assets related to the acquisition. During the second quarter, Allstate Insurance Co. executed a 100 percent quota share reinsurance agreement with SquareTrade’s largest third-party insurer which should result in higher underwriting and investment income.
In Allstate brand commercial lines, net premiums written fell from $135 million last year in the second quarter to $124 million this past quarter. This second quarter the commercial lines combined ratio fell to 101.7 from 133.9 in the second quarter of 2016.
*This story appeared previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.