Allstate profit beats estimate as disaster losses decline

Wed Feb 5, 2014 4:41pm EST

(Reuters) - Allstate Corp's (ALL.N) fourth-quarter profit handily beat average Wall Street estimate as disaster losses fell and premiums rose across all businesses.

The largest publicly traded home and auto insurer in the United States has been aggressively raising home insurance rates to make up for catastrophe losses and low interest rates on its investments.

Losses from natural disasters fell almost 90 percent to $117 million in the quarter ended December 31. The year-earlier quarter included $1.12 billion in losses from superstorm Sandy.

Net income more than doubled to $810 million, or $1.76 per share, from $394 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an operating basis, Allstate earned $1.70 per share.

Analysts on average expected the company to earn $1.38 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's shares were up 1 percent in extended trading. They closed at $49.55 on the New York stock exchange.

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Robin Paxton and Don Sebastian)