Allstate beats expectations, ready for Sandy claims

Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:21pm EDT

(Reuters) - Home and auto insurer Allstate Corp (ALL.N) 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 the company's overall financial condition.

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.

"It's too early to estimate the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Allstate's fourth quarter earnings," 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, giving them extra leeway.

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.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz and Aman Shah; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Andrew Hay and Edwina Gibbs)

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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