The Progressive Corporation’s PGR fourth-quarter 2020 earnings per share of $1.83 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.68. Moreover, the bottom line increased 1.1% from the year-ago quarter.
Behind the Headlines
Net premiums written were $9.5 billion in the quarter, down 1% from $9.6 billion a year ago. Net premiums earned grew 3% to nearly $10.2 billion.
Net realized gains on securities were $760.2 million, which more than doubled year over year.
Combined ratio — percentage of premiums paid out as claims and expenses — improved 400 basis points (bps) from the prior-year quarter to 88.
The Progressive Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
The Progressive Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | The Progressive Corporation Quote
Revenues and Expenses Down In December
Operating revenues in December were $3.3 million, down 10.7% year over year. The decline can be attributed to a 10.7% decrease in premiums, 8.1% decline in fees and other revenues, 4.3% lower service revenues and 14.6% lower investment income.
Total expenses decreased 17.9% year over year to $2.8 billion in December due to 21.6% lower losses and loss adjustment expenses, 9.3% lower other underwriting expenses, and 6.8% decrease in policy acquisition costs. Expenses also include $10.4 million in policyholder credit costs.
In December, policies in force were impressive at the Personal Auto segment, having improved 11% from the year-ago month to 16.5 million. Special Lines improved 8% to 4.9 million.
In Progressive’s Personal Auto segment, Direct Auto grew 9% year over year to 7.6 million while Agency Auto improved 13% to 8.9 million.
Progressive’s Commercial Auto segment rose 9% year over year to 0.8 million. The Property business had about 2.5 million policies in force in September, up 13%.
Progressive’s book value per share was $28.27 as of Dec 31, 2020, up 24.5% from $22.54 on Dec 31, 2019.
Return-on-equity in December 2020 was 39.3%, up 430 bps year over year. Debt-to-total capital ratio improved 30 bps to 24.1%.
Progressive currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Performance of Some Other Insurers
Of the insurance industry players that have reported fourth-quarter results so far, The Travelers Companies TRV, W.R. Berkley Corporation WRB and Brown & Brown BRO beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings.
Just Released: Zacks’ 7 Best Stocks for Today
Experts extracted 7 stocks from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys that has beaten the market more than 2X over with a stunning average gain of +24.4% per year.
These 7 were selected because of their superior potential for immediate breakout.
See these time-sensitive tickers now >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
W.R. Berkley Corporation (WRB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
The Progressive Corporation (PGR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Zacks Investment Research