Weather Claims Hurt Progressive Insurance 2d Quarter

July 10, 2008

Auto insurer Progressive Corp. reported Thursday a drop in second-quarter net income as it absorbed higher claims from natural catastrophes and wrote off $40.8 million in investments.

Progressive’s combined ratio, which reflects how much it made on premiums earned before losses and expenses, was 93.6, up from 92.3 a year ago.

Progressive said the increase in its combined ratio was largely due to weather-related catastrophe losses, which were nearly three times greater than the same period a year ago.

The third-largest auto insurer in the United States said net income declined by 24 percent to $215.5 million, or 32 cents a share, from $283.7 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier.

Net written premiums in the quarter fell 1 percent to $3.51 billion.

Progressive, based in Mayfield Village, Ohio, said that as of the end of June, its policies in force had risen 1 percent in personal auto and 8 percent in its special lines.

The insurer said it wrote down the value of some investments because of declines in market value, and uncertainty as to whether it would hold the securities long enough for them to recover in value.

(Reporting by Lilla Zuill; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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