NU Online News Service, Feb. 11, 2004, 12:05 p.m. EST – Higher margins on equity-indexed annuities helped boost fourth-quarter 2003 profits at AmerUs Group Company Inc., Des Moines, Iowa.[@@]

The insurer is reporting $40.8 million in net income for the latest quarter on $441.4 million in revenue, up from $7.2 million in net income on $364.3 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2002.

AmerUs gets much of its revenue from selling fixed annuities, and sales of equity-indexed annuities accounted for about 75% of the company’s new fixed annuity sales in 2003. The company’s fixed annuity sales fell to $414 million in the fourth quarter, down from $514 million in the comparable quarter in 2002.

But the stock market rebound helped improve the overall profitability of the AmerUs equity-indexed annuities that were already in place, AmerUs says.