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Progressive Corp.’s (PGR - Analyst Report) earnings per share for November 2012 came in at 13 cents, plummeting nearly 37% from 20 cents in November 2011. Net income dipped 38% from September 2011 to $77.7 million.

Numbers in November

The company recorded net premiums of $1.13 billion in November 2012, up 5% from $1.07 billion in the year-ago period. Net premiums earned were $1.26 billion, up 9% from $1.16 billion in November 2011.

Net realized gains on securities in the quarter were $10.2 million, dropping 76% from $42.1 million in November 2011. The combined ratio − the percentage of premiums paid out as claims and expenses − deteriorated 350 basis points from the prior-year quarter to 93.6% in November 2012.

During November, policies in force remained healthy, with the Personal Auto segment increasing 4% year over year but down 0.4% sequentially. Special Lines followed the same trend, increasing 4% year over year and declining 0.4% from the preceding month.

In Personal Auto, Direct Auto policies in force increased 4% year over year but inched down 0.3% from the preceding month. Agency Auto was up 3% year over year but down 0.5% from last month. Progressive’s Commercial Auto segment reported an increase of 2.1% year over year.

Total expenses for the reported month escalated 12.6% to $1.19 billion from $1.06 billion in November 2011. The major components contributing to the increase in total expenses were a 17.4% increase in losses and loss adjustment expenses, and a slight rise of 0.2% in policy acquisition costs. However, a 3% decline in other underwriting expenses was a partial offset.

Progressive reported book value per share of $10.08, up from $9.71 as of Nov 30, 2011 and $9.93 as of Oct 31, 2012.

Return on equity on a trailing 12-month basis was 17.9%, improving from 17.0% in November 2011 and 17.8% in November 2012. The debt-to-total-capital ratio was 25.3% as of Nov 30, 2012, down from 29.1% as of Nov 30, 2011 and from 25.6% as of Oct 31, 2012.

The quantitative Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating) for the company indicates no clear directional pressure on the shares over the near term. Allstate Corporation (ALL - Analyst Report), which closely competes with Progressive, shares the same Zacks Rank.

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