NU Online News Service, Feb. 10, 2004, 12:10 p.m. EST – Juvenile life insurance and limited-benefit health insurance sold well at Torchmark Corp., Birmingham, Ala., during the fourth quarter of 2003.[@@]

The company is reporting $112 million in net income for the latest quarter on $747.5 million in revenue, up from $105.2 million in net income on $704.9 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2002.

A high lapse rate for many products and losses on a closed block of cancer policies held profits down, but the company’s direct response marketing unit generated particularly strong sales. Its health sales increased 158% during the quarter, to $1.1 million, and its life sales increased 47%, to $46.7 million.

A push to sell juvenile policies through direct response programs ended up boosting sales of policies that insure the parents as well as policies that insure the children, Torchmark says.

The company’s health insurance sales increased 20%, to $62.2 million.

Some Torchmark units sell limited-benefit health plans to people under age 65. The products are “increasingly in demand as some employers have eliminated or reduced their major-medical type group coverage for employees, and as individually written major-medical plans have become less available,” Torchmark reports.