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Progressive Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: PGR

Unknown Analyst

Okay. That's good news. And then just for the second, a follow-up. I'm kind of asking you to predict the future here, but should we expect maybe some modest retention slippage in the back half of 2012 from the rate increases on auto? Or at this point, do you feel that enough of your competitors are taking rate that your own rate increases, even though they're warranted, shouldn't inhibit your competitive positioning at all?

Glenn M. Renwick

You're on the right track. And frankly, I think we just have to let the numbers do the talking. And I don't mean to sidestep it in any way, shape or form. The fact is if you take rates come up, conversion likely comes down to some degree. Retention gets some pressure on it. I think the key thing to remember, however, when we discuss rates -- and hopefully, I've discussed that in a fairly open and forthright way, is rate increases -- it always depends from when you're coming. So we have a very competitive position in the marketplace. Even a rate increase may not necessarily take us out of that competitive position in certain circumstances. And we have other tools that allow people to actually manage their rate, even at renewal, if they choose to. So it's a really a tough thing to sort of speculate on. Clearly, we've worked so hard, as you all know, on retention, and we don't want to lose that. But if you had to put down a bet when you take rates up, generally, you're going to be fighting against conversion and retention. We hope rate, even though I've expressed disappointment -- and that's the way I am. I'm just -- we have a target, and we don't hit it, we call it that. We have caught rate change from what I would call sort of lower single-digit severity changes to mid single-digit reasonably quickly, reasonably quickly, not as quickly as I would have liked. And hopefully, those rate changes are not the kind of rate changes that force consumers to say, "What really is going on here?" And while this may not be able to jog consumers' memories for a long time, it actually had some rate levels for quite some time now. So maybe 2%, 3%, 4% changes, whatever they might see, are something that they are perfectly wanting to tolerate and recognize that's cost of doing business.

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