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Progressive to end variable dividend policy, announces exec departure

Progressive Corp. will end its annual variable dividend policy beginning in 2019 and replace the payouts with regular quarterly dividends on common shares.

The board is targeting quarterly dividends of 10 cents per share, the company said in a regulatory filing. It will also consider at least once a year paying an additional dividend, but will determine the level "based on relevant facts and circumstances and not solely ... on a specific formula," the company said.

The change will be effective after payment of the 2018 annual variable dividend based on its full-year 2018 financial results.

The insurer also announced that Chief Investment Officer William Cody will be stepping down in January 2020. The company will search for a successor in the interim.

For its November financial results, Progressive disclosed a year-over-year climb in net income attributable to the company to $242.4 million, or 41 cents per share, from $154.9 million, or 26 cents per share, in November 2017. Net premiums written grew 15% to $2.33 billion, from $2.02 billion in November 2017, while net premiums earned increased 20% to $2.53 billion.

The company's combined ratio edged up to 91.3%, compared with 90.9% in November 2017.

Personal auto policies in force increased 15% to 13.3 million from 11.6 million the previous November. Personal lines policies in force saw an 11% increase to 17.7 million from 16.0 million, and property business policies increased 33% to 1.9 million.