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Thursday October 25

Progressive Profits Triple in Third Quarter

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Oh. -- Progressive Corp. announced that third-quarter profits more than tripled from a year earlier, as the No. 4 U.S. car insurer sold more policies and avoided claims from storms or the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The Mayfield Village, Ohio-based firm, which mostly insures cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles and boats, said operating profit, excluding realized investment losses, rose to $150.5 million, or $2.01 per share, in the third quarter. That compares with $37.9 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier.

The results beat analysts' average forecast of $1.50 per share profit, out of a range of $1.35 to $1.73 per share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

Progressive's shares outperformed rivals in the first nine months of the year, rising 29 percent, compared with a 15 percent fall in the S&P Insurance index in the same period.

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