UPDATE 2-Allstate beats expectations, ready for Sandy claims
* Q3 oper EPS $1.46 vs consensus $1.13
* Margins up, disaster losses down
* CEO says Sandy not material this quarter
Oct 31 (Reuters) - Home and auto insurer Allstate Corp reported a larger profit for the third quarter on a decline in disaster losses and improving margins, as its chief executive said storm Sandy would not materially affect results this quarter.
Allstate, one of the biggest insurers in the northeastern United States, is considered one of the most exposed companies to insured losses from Sandy, which some estimate to be as much as $15 billion.
The impact of Sandy should be "significant but not material" this quarter, CEO Tom Wilson said in a CNBC interview. He estimated that Sandy should end up among the five-worst U.S. hurricanes of all time by losses but said it "will not be meaningful in terms of our stability".
Analysts expect that most insurers will be easily able to handle claims from Sandy because disaster losses are down sharply this year, leaving them extra capacity.
Allstate reported a net profit of $723 million, or $1.48 per share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $175 million or 34 cents per share.
On an operating basis, Allstate earned $1.46 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S on average expected earnings per share of $1.13.
Disaster losses were down more than $800 million from a year earlier, when the company faced claims for Hurricane Irene.