NU Online News Service, April 23, 10:11 a.m. – The Hartford Financial Services Inc., Hartford, is reporting $292 million in net income for the first quarter on $3.9 billion in revenue, up from $240 million in net income on $3.7 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2001.

The company’s Hartford Life unit is reporting $170 million in net income for the latest quarter on $1.7 billion in revenue, up from $138 million in net income on $1.6 billion in revenue.

The life unit benefited from the recent acquisition of Fortis Financial Group from Fortis, Brussels; a 22% increase in group benefits earnings; a 35% increase in earnings on mutual funds and other investment products; and growth in fixed annuity sales.

Variable annuity sales fell 6%, to $2.2 billion. But Hartford says the downturn in variable annuity sales might be bottoming out. It reports its first-quarter VA sales were up 6% from the previous quarter.

In Japan, variable annuity sales increased 65% from the first quarter of 2001, to $140 million.