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 from $600 million, the Northbrook, Illinois-based company said Tuesday in a statement.
Allstate’s premium revenue in the property and liability business advanced to $7.43 billion from $7.06 billion a year earlier.
Net investment income fell 11 percent to $850 million from a year ago. Insurers’ bond portfolios have been pressured by low interest rates, and for Allstate, the decline was also tied to the sale of the Lincoln Benefit life insurer, the insuer said.
The property-liability combined ratio of 93.7 in the first quarter was 1.0 point favorable to the prior year quarter, and resulted in underwriting income of $467 million, an increase of 25.5 percent compared with the prior year 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.
In Allstate brand homeowners the first quarter 2015 recorded combined ratio was 78.7, resulting in $348 million in underwriting income.
While profit improved at Allstate’s namesake homeowners unit, underwriting income from auto coverage fell 48 percent to $144 million. Allstate brand auto had a first quarter combined ratio of 96.8.
Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson has been investing in technology that can track driver behavior to improve underwriting.
“There are more accidents now over the last couple of years than there have been because economic activity has gone up” and more people are driving, Wilson said in an interview. “We and other people have been raising our rates to account for that.”
The company said auto insurance price increases in auto insurance originally planned for later in 2015 have been accelerated due to increased non-weather related loss trends.
Geico, the auto insurer owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in a filing on Friday that it will charge drivers more after margins declined due to a higher frequency of claims for collisions and injuries.
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