* First-quarter operating EPS $1.35 vs est. $1.30
* Net premiums written up 2.5 pct
* Expects relatively modest rate increases in auto insurance
By Aman Shah
May 1 Home and auto insurer Allstate Corp's
quarterly profit beat analysts' estimates after it
earned more from premiums following rate hikes, and the company
said it was comfortable with the current growth in insurance
The largest publicly traded home and auto insurer in the
United States has been raising rates in its homeowners business
at an average of 8 percent over the last two years to offset
higher catastrophe losses.
"We have got our pricing to the position where we are closer
to where we want to be," Chief Executive Thomas Wilson told
Wilson said the average price increase was about 4.9 percent
in the first quarter.
Allstate continues to expect "relatively modest increases in
average premiums" of around 2 percent in its auto business.
The company's first-quarter net income fell 7 percent to
$709 million, or $1.47 cents per share, hurt by higher
It earned $1.35 per share on an operating basis in the first
quarter. Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.30 per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said earlier this month its first-quarter
disaster losses were $359 million, higher than the $259 million
it reported in the same quarter a year earlier.
"The reported number is higher this year because last year
we had some reductions to catastrophe losses (as) we had
overestimated in 2011," Wilson said.
Premiums written during the quarter rose 2.5 percent to
Underlying combined ratio, the percentage of premium revenue
an insurer has to pay out in claims, was down slightly at 87.7
Allstate shares were slightly up at $48.62 in extended
trading after closing at $48.40 on the New York Stock Exchange