NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Progressive

's

(PGR) - Get Report

third-quarter earnings slid three percent due to investment earnings, but the insurer still beat analyst estimates.

The auto insurer earned $261.6 million, or 40 cents per share, in the third quarter compared with the $269.9 million during the same period last year.

Thomson Reuters

had forecasted analyst expectations at 36 cents per share.

Despite sales being down this quarter, the company is on track to beat its full year net income for last year. Year-to-date net income is $769.1 million, while net income was $752.5 million at this time in 2009.

Premiums in the third quarter were up 5 percent from last year. Direct auto insurance policies-in-force were up 14 percent in September over last year amd agency auto was up 3 percent.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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