NU Online News Service, March 11, 10:55 a.m. – National Western Life Insurance Company, Austin, Texas, is reporting $16 million in net income for the fourth quarter of 2001 on $71 million in revenue, up from a $392,000 net loss on $62 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2000.

Net results for the latest quarter include $10 million in losses on bonds from Enron Corp., Houston, and other investments. Operating income, which excludes investment losses, increased to $26 million, from $7.9 million.

National Western sells life insurance and annuities.

The life insurance business improved because the number of reported death claims was lower, and the performance of the annuity business improved because the percentage of customers who kept their annuity contracts increased, National Western says.

A decrease in annuity lapse rates cuts revenue from surrender charges, but it allows an issuer to amortize deferred policy acquisition costs over a longer period of time, the company says.