Allstate Income Up 5%; Sets Additional Share Buyback

Allstate, the largest publicly traded car and home insurer in the U.S., said on Wednesday that net income rose 5% in the first quarter, helped by an increase in auto policies.

Allstate, which insures 17 million households, said net income rose to $1.49 billion, or $2.39 a share, from $1.42 billion, or $2.19 a share in the year earlier quarter.

Allstate said operating earnings, which analysts use to measure performance because they exclude investments, were $1.2 billion or $1.93 a share. Analysts on average had expected the insurer to earn $1.86 a share on that basis, according to Reuters estimates.

CEO Thomas Wilson told CNBC the firm "overcame difficult winter weather" and said that this past weekend's storms "won't impact" earnings going forward. He said the one area where Allstate is "getting smaller" is in its homeowner business; the insurer plans to build its auto segment further.

In the year ago quarter, the company, based in Northbrook, Ill., earned $1.3 billion or $2.01 a share from operations.

Allstate's revenue rose to $9.33 billion from $9.08 billion a year ago.

The insurer said its board had authorized issuing up to $1 billion of securities and that the proceeds would be used to purchase $1 billion of stock by the end of the first quarter of next year -- in addition to its current $3 billion authorization.