NU Online News Service, Jan. 21, 2004, 5:57 p.m. EST – The life insurance and annuities unit was a star at Citigroup Inc., New York, during the fourth quarter of 2003.[@@]

Citigroup executives cited the unit during their earnings review as a business that did much better than expected. Citigroup was hoping the unit would manage to hold its income steady. Instead, the unit increased its income 22%. Now Citigroup is hoping for strong growth in sales volume this year, along with a single-digit increase in income.

The life and annuities unit is reporting a total of $998 million in pretax income for the latest quarter on $4.9 billion in revenue, up from $849 million in pretax income on $4.1 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2002.

The net written premiums and deposits total fell 58% for fixed annuities, to $544 million, but the total fell only 2% for variable annuities, to $4 billion.

Net written premiums and deposits increased 18% for group annuities, to $7.4 billion, and 16% for life insurance, to $1.1 billion. Results for single-premium life products were particularly strong, Citigroup says.