NU Online News Service, April 29, 2004, 5:43 p.m. EDT – Improving bond quality and gains on derivatives helped FBL Financial Group Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa, overcome low interest rates in the first quarter.[@@]

The parent of Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company is reporting $13.2 million in net income for the quarter on $163.4 million in revenue, up from $11.9 million in net income on $143.3 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

The annualized yield fell to 6.34%, from 7.33% for the comparable quarter in 2003. But FBL realized $64,000 in gains on bonds and other investments sold, written down or written off during the quarter. During the first quarter of 2003, the company realized $5.6 million in investment losses.

FBL also invests in derivatives, to support its equity index annuity operations. The derivatives program lost $5.1 million in first quarter of 2003 but brought in $4.2 million in gains during the latest quarter.