While cheap gas and a healthier economy has been good for consumers, it has been bad for Allstate. The largest publicly held personal lines insurer in the U.S. has had to cover the damage in an increasing number of car collisions as consumers hit the road more often. While the trend has hurt property and casualty insurance companies across the spectrum—more economic activity generally leads to higher claims—it has particularly impacted Allstate. Though annual revenue increased 2.5% to $36.5 billion in 2016, profits dropped 14.3% to $1.77 billion. (The company’s profits plunged nearly 25% in 2015.) But shares of the Northbrook, lll. insurer are looking up again in 2017 after favorable winter weather reduced its outlays and it closed its acquisition of SquareTrade, an extended warranty provider for electronics and appliances.
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