) earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2013 reached 42
cents, up from 41 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. The
result matched the Zacks Consensus Estimate exactly. Net income
improved 20% from the fourth quarter of 2012 to $299.8 million in
the reported quarter.
ACE LIMITED (ACE): Free Stock Analysis Report
ASPEN INS HLDGS (AHL): Free Stock Analysis
ENDURANCE SPLTY (ENH): Free Stock Analysis
PROGRESSIVE COR (PGR): Free Stock Analysis
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Progressive recorded net premiums of $4.05 billion in the quarter
under review, up 5% from $3.84 billion in the year-ago quarter.
Net premiums earned were $4.34 billion, up 6% from $4.11 billion
in the year-ago quarter.
Net realized gains on securities in the quarter were $77 million,
up 24% from $62.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Combined ratio
− the percentage of premiums paid out as claims and expenses −
improved 80 basis points (bps) from the prior-year quarter to
Numbers in December
Progressive publishes monthly financial reports. In the month of
December, policies in force remained healthy, with the Personal
Auto segment increasing 3% year over year to 9.066 million.
Special Lines increased 1% year over year to 3.99 million.
In Progressive's Personal Auto segment, Direct Auto grew 6% year
over year to 4.22 million. Agency Auto increased only 1% year
over year to 4.84 million. Progressive's Commercial Auto segment
declined 1% on a year-over-year basis.
Total expense for the reported month increased 10.2% to $1.32
billion from $1.2 billion in Dec 2012. The major components
contributing to the increase in total expense were 9.6% increase
in losses and loss adjustment expenses; 22% surge in other
underwriting expenses and 3.4% hike in policy acquisition costs.
Progressive reported book value per share of $10.39, down from
$11.85 as of Nov 30, 2013.
Return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis was 19.0%, compared
with 19.3% in Nov 2013. The debt-to-total capital ratio was 23.1%
as of Dec 31, 2013, up from 20.8% as of Nov 30, 2013.
During the fourth quarter, the board of Progressive approved a
special dividend of $1.00 per share. This special dividend will
be paid in addition to the company's annual variable dividend.
The special dividend will allow Progressive to return about $603
million to shareholders, supported by its sturdy balance sheet
position and healthy cash flows.
Both the special and the annual dividends will be paid on Feb 7,
2014, to the shareholders of record as of Jan 29, 2014.
Progressive carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked
insurers worth considering include
Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd.
Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd.
). All these sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
(We are reissuing this article to correct a mistake. The
original article, issued yesterday, Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014, is
no longer to be relied upon.)