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Insurers start seeing profit, continue rate hikes

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Announcements | Insurance | Market Trends
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Progressive netted $1.9 billion in Q4 2023, a 141% increase from the $826.4 million the company netted in Q4 2022, according to the company’s December earnings release

The company’s net income for 2023 is $3.9 billion, more than a 400% increase from 2022. The company recorded $721.4 million of net income earned in 2022. The 2023 annual amount is unaudited. 

Progressive scheduled its Q4 earnings call for Feb. 14. 

Last year, the company announced a plan for “aggressive” rate increases, increasing by 4% companywide during the first quarter. It raised rates by 13% in 2022. 

Progressive and other insurers have seen their stock values rise as the companies report profits in the past month. 

The Travelers Companies saw its stock jump more than 4% to an all-time high earlier this month, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article

“The jump came after the company reported a record profit for its fourth quarter, boosted by double-digit rate increases in its businesses and personal insurance units,” the Wall Street Journal said. 

Allstate, which hasn’t reported its Q4 financials yet, also is seeing a stock jump, up 50% since its lows last summer, the WSJ says.  

Last month, Allstate received double-digit rate increases in New York, New Jersey, and California after CEO and President Tom Wilson threatened to leave the states if the increases weren’t approved. 

Insurers claim pandemic losses from part delays, rising labor costs, and used car values are why they’ve hiked rates in recent years. The rate hikes continually receive criticism from consumer advocacy groups who’ve claimed insurers are overstating needs and overburdening the consumer. 

Travelers plans to continue increasing renewal premiums in the mid-teens for the first half of 2024, Michael Klein, Travelers executive vice president and president of personal insurance, recently said during the company’s Q4 earnings call. He said the company will decide what increases are needed state by state. 

It’s unknown if Progressive or Allstate will plan more rate increases in 2024, but a recent Value Penguin and Lending Tree study suggests the insurance industry will hike its premiums by 12.6% in 2024. It said the industry increased 11.2% in 2023 and 29% since 2018. 

The WSJ article explores insurers’ delay when asking state governing bodies for premium increases. The increases often come years after the losses happen, the article says. 

For example, losses could happen during times of high inflation. By the time insurers receive approval for rate increases and implement the changes on policyholders’ premiums, the inflation could stabilize. 

California Department of Insurance Deputy Commissioner Tony Cignarale was recently asked about the rising insurance rates while speaking at an open board meeting of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). The audience member noted repair shops are noticing an increase in consumer responsibility for out-of-pocket expenses due to short payments while the billpayers are simultaneously increasing their premiums.

Cignarale noted that DOIs tend to see more claim disputes as insurers look for ways to reduce costs while waiting for rate increase approvals. He said those disputes tend to slow down after premiums are increased. However, he said insurers could continue doing some cost-cutting practices they learned worked.


Photo courtesy of Juststock/iStock

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