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Dec. 1, 2020, 4:50 p.m. EST

Root reports loss in first post-IPO quarter

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By Micah Maidenberg

Root Inc. reported a loss for the third quarter, the first since the insurance company focused on digital operations completed a public offering.

Columbus, Ohio-based Root on Tuesday said it lost $85.1 million, or $2.20 a share, for the third quarter, compared with a loss of $100.1 million, or $2.88 a share, for the year-earlier period.

Net premiums earned fell to $44.9 million from $75.8 million, the company said. Costs for sales and marketing, as well as technology, rose, and a benefit tied to insurance helped results compared with last year.

In October, Root sold shares to the public, valuing its stock at $27 a share for the offering. The insurer describes its insurance products as driven by customers using mobile devices and said it taps data and technology to price rates for auto policies primarily on how people drive instead of "who they are," according to its website.

In November, the company acquired a shell insurance company with property and casualty licenses in all states, plus the District of Columbia.

The company also sells insurance for renters and homeowners.

Auto policies in force rose to $322.4 million for the latest quarter from $242.6 million, Root said.

"Growth is our top priority as it fuels our flywheel with more data," the company said in a letter to shareholders Tuesday.

Write to Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

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