Mercury General Corp. reported on Monday that net income in the first quarter rose to $73.4 million from $58.2 million during the same time last year due to lower loss expenses and gains on investments.
Income rose to $1.34 per diluted share from $1.06 per share last year. Analysts had an average estimate of 68 cents per share.
The Los Angeles, Calif.-based company’s combined accident period ratio was 97.6 percent compared with 98.2 percent in 2011.
Mercury reported net premiums written of $658,287 compared with $658,217 million last year. Net realized investment gains rose to $52,663 million from $28,690 million last year. Total expenses fell from $628,632 in 2011 to $620,681 in the first quarter of the year.
The board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of 61 cents per share to be paid on June 28, to shareholders of record on June 14.
Shares of Mercury (MCY) were down 19 cents to $45.31, near its 52-week high on the New York Stock Exchange in afternoon trading.
Mercury writes personal automobile insurance products, homeowners, commercial auto and property.