Two pieces of news provide a flicker of hope amid the doom and gloom.
Feb. 07--Allstate Corp. is raising rates for motorcycle coverage in Illinois by an average of 7 percent, according to a state filing.
The hike takes effect March 14 for both new business and renewals.
The increase in monthly bills will amount to $1 or $2 a month, said Kate Nack, spokeswoman for the Northbrook-based home and auto insurer. The change is due to a rise in the number of claims that Allstate is seeing, she said.
At the same time, Allstate will boost its "transfer discount" from 2 percent to 5 percent. That's a price break given to consumers who switch their motorcycle policies to Allstate from another insurer.
Separately, on a day when the stock market was down slightly, Allstate stock finished higher due to better-than-expected financial results in the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, its total net premiums were $6.64 billion, up 3.3 percent from the same period a year ago. That was due partly to higher average premiums.
Total policies on its books fell to 32.8 million at the end of 2012, from 33.2 million at the end of 2011.
Allstate had four priorities for 2012, including maintaining its profits in auto insurance and boosting its premiums. For 2013, it has added a fifth priority: cutting costs.
"We always work hard on keeping our expenses down," Chief Executive Tom Wilson said in an earnings call with analysts on Thursday morning. "But given the difficult economic climate our customers are facing, we're adding this priority to heighten our focus on what customers are really willing to pay for."
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