Progressive's 1Q Aided by Lower Claim Payments

Progressive’s (NYSE:PGR) profit for the first quarter climbed 20% to $308.6 million, as the insurer paid out less for claims.

The company, known for its online auto insurance, said on Wednesday its earnings checked in at 51 cents a share versus $257.6 million, or 42 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Progressive benefited from $80.61 million in investment gains, up from $77.5 million.

Revenue rose 7.5% to $4.44 billion, meeting analysts’ projections. Wall Street was expecting per-share earnings of 45 cents.

Net premiums written increased 6.9% to $4.45 billion.

Progressive’s combined ratio, the amount of premiums returned to policyholders in claim payments, narrowed to 92.4% from 94.1%.

Shares of Progressive were down nearly 3.5% at $24.88 in early morning trading.