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Progressive (PGR) Misses on Q1 Earnings, Revenues Beat

Progressive Corp.’s PGR first-quarter 2016 earnings per share of 42 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 16%. Earnings were down 9% year over year due to higher expenses.

Including net realized losses, net income per share was 44 cents, down 12% year over year.

Progressive recorded net premiums written of $5.8 billion in the quarter under review, up 15% from $5.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net premiums earned were about $5.3 billion, up 14% year over year from $4.7 billion.

Net realized gains on securities in the quarter were $17.4 million, down 47% year over year. Combined ratio − the percentage of premiums paid out as claims and expenses − deteriorated 190 basis points (bps) from the prior-year quarter to 94.6%.

Total revenue came in at $5.5 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.4 billion. Revenues improved 14% year over year on 45% higher service income, 14% higher premiums, a 13% increase in investment income and a 7% increase in fees and other revenues.

Total expense increased 16% to $5.2 billion. The major contributors to the rise in expense were policy acquisition costs, losses and loss adjustment expenses, and other underwriting expenses each of which increased 16%.

Numbers in March

In Mar 2016, policies in force were healthy with the Personal Auto segment increasing 6% from Mar 2015 to 10 million. Special Lines increased 2% from the prior-year month to 4.1 million.

In Progressive's Personal Auto segment, Direct Auto grew 11% year over year to 5.2 million. Agency Auto increased 2% from the comparable year-ago month to 4.9 million.

Progressive’s Commercial Auto segment increased 10% year over year to 0.6 million. The Property business had about 1.1 million policies in force in the reported month.

Progressive reported book value per share of $12.97 on Mar 31, 2016, up 6% from $12.26 on Mar 31, 2015.

Return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis was 14.1%, which deteriorated 550 bps from 19.7% in Sep 2015 The debt-to-total capital ratio also deteriorated 10 bps year over year to 26.3% as of Mar 31, 2016.

Zacks Rank and Other Stocks to Consider

Progressive carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked property and casualty insurers are Hallmark Financial Services Inc. HALL, Alleghany Corporation Y and White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. WTM. Each of these stocks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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PROGRESSIVE COR (PGR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HALLMARK FINL (HALL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ALLEGHANY CORP (Y): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WHITE MTN INS (WTM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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