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Progressive 3Q profit falls, but tops Street

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio (AP) -- The Progressive Corp. said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income declined 16 percent as it had a much lower gain on securities. But the performance still beat analysts' expectations.

The insurer earned $232.4 million, or 39 cents per share, for the period. That's down from $277 million, or 46 cents, per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 36 cents per share.

Progressive reported its pretax gain on securities fell to $27.9 million from $171.9 million.

Net premiums written — a measure of the value of all new and renewal policies sold during the period — climbed 5 percent to $4.45 billion. Net premiums earned — the portion of the premiums it earns when policies expire — increased 6 percent to $4.3 billion.

Its combined ratio was 94.2 percent for the quarter. A ratio above 100 means that for every premium dollar taken in, more than a dollar went to cover claims and expenses. A figure below 100 means the company made a profit on its insurance operations.

Shares of the Mayfield Village, Ohio, company shed 26 cents to $26.34 in afternoon trading.