Insurance giant Allstate ( ALL), crediting strength in its auto insurance business, posted a 5% rise in second-quarter earnings and again lifted its earnings forecast for 2006. The Northbrook, Ill.-based company posted a net profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.89 a share, up from $1.15 billion, or $1.71 a share, a year earlier. Operating earnings, which exclude realized capital gains and losses, rose to $1.27 billion, or $2 a share, from $1.12 billion, or $1.66 a share, a year earlier. The results topped Thomson First Call's mean analyst estimate of $1.61 a share. Revenue rose 1% to $8.88 billion from $8.79 billion. Allstate's property-liability premiums written grew 1.2% in the quarter, helped by a 3.7% rise in auto insurance premiums. "Underwriting income for Allstate Protection was outstanding at $1.2 billion, an increase of 18.4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2005. Automobile accident frequency continues to be favorable. Claim severities were in line with our expectations and general inflation trends," said Chairman and Chief Executive Edward Liddy in a statement. "The company also had excellent profitability results from the Allstate brand homeowners line, which were driven by favorable claim frequency." Allstate increased its 2006 operating earnings forecast to $6.70 to $7 a share. The company's previous target -- given in April and raised from an earlier projection -- called for operating earnings of $6 to $6.40 a share. Analysts predict earnings per share of $6.57, according to First Call.