NU Online News Service, April 29, 2004, 6:02 p.m. EDT – Rising policy benefits payments and operating expenses ate up benefits revenue gains at Jefferson-Pilot Corp., Greensboro, N.C., during the first quarter.[@@]

The life insurer and broadcasting company is reporting $128.3 million in net income for the quarter on $984.8 million in revenue, up from $109.1 million in net income on $867.7 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

Most of the increase in profits came from a drop in realized investment losses and increased earnings at the broadcasting and corporate units.

Some companies have pulled back from the fixed annuity market in recent quarters because of concerns about interest rate volatility, but Jefferson-Pilot let premium revenue from its new fixed annuity sales increase to $310.1 million, up from $115.3 million.

The benefits unit is reporting $11.5 million in operating income for the latest quarter on $250.9 million in revenue, compared with $11.9 million in operating income on $197.7 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

Benefits unit claims expenses and operating expenses rose to $233.3 million, from $179.3 million.