Progressive's August Earnings Rise on Stronger Revenues

The Progressive CorporationPGR reported earnings per share of 35 cents for August 2018, rebounding from the year-ago loss of 2 cents. The figure was driven by an improved top line.

Year to date, shares of Progressive have rallied 22.1%, outperforming the industry 's 9.5% increase. This rise was courtesy of the company's consistent strong results.

Numbers in August

Progressive recorded net premiums written of $2.6 billion in the month, up 17% from $2.2 billion in the year-earlier period. Net premiums earned were about $2.5 billion, up 21% from $2 billion recorded last August.

Net realized income on securities in the quarter was $76.4 million against the prior-year loss of 11.7 million.

Combined ratio - percentage of premiums paid out as claims and expenses - improved 1150 basis points (bps) year over year to 92.3%.

Total operating revenues came in at $2.6 billion. The top line improved 22.4% year over year owing to a 21.5% increase in premiums, a 51.2% surge in investment income, 33% growth in fees and other revenues plus a 28.3% rise in service revenues.

Total expenses shot up 8.5% to $2.3 billion. This increase can be primarily attributed to 3.7% higher losses and loss adjustment expenses, 23.2% rise in policy acquisition costs and a 28.3% jump in other underwriting expenses.

In August, policies in force were impressive in both Vehicle and Property businesses. In its vehicle business, Personal Auto segment improved 15% year over year to nearly 13 million. Special Lines inched up 1% from the year-earlier month to 4.4 million policies.

In Progressive's Personal Auto segment, Agency Auto expanded 14% to 6.2 million while Direct Auto increased 17% to nearly 6.8 million.

Progressive's Commercial Auto segment rose 9% year over year to 0.7 million. The Property business had about 1.8 million policies in force in the reported month, up 36% year over year.

Progressive's book value per share was $19.17 as of Aug 31, 2018, up 20.6% from $15.9 as of Aug 31, 2017.

Return on equity in the trailing 12 months was 26.1%, up 700 bps from 19.1% in August 2017. Debt-to-total-capital ratio improved 180 bps year over year to 24.9% as of Aug 31, 2018.

Zacks Rank and Other Key Insurers

Progressive sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Investors interested in property and casualty insurance space might also consider some other top-ranked stocks like Alleghany Corporation Y , NMI Holdings, Inc. NMIH and The Navigators Group, Inc. NAVG , each sharing the solid Zacks Rank with Progressive. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Alleghany provides property and casualty reinsurance and insurance products in the United States and internationally. The company's average four-quarter positive surprise is 17.61%.

NMI Holdings provides private mortgage guaranty insurance services in the United States. The company delivered an average four-quarter beat of 29.85%.

Navigators Group underwrites marine, property and casualty plus professional liability insurance products and services in the United States as well as internationally. The company pulled off positive surprises in the trailing four quarters with an average earnings surprise of 19.54%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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