NU Online News Service, May 4, 2004, 2:08 p.m. EDT – Special charges cut first-quarter earnings at AmerUs Group Company Inc., Des Moines, Iowa.[@@]

The life insurer is reporting $26.4 million in net income for the latest quarter on $396.7 million in revenue, down from $35.8 million in net income on $408 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

Sales of the company’s equity-indexed life insurance and annuity products were strong, but AmerUs is recognizing a $7.9 million loss on the sale of an office building in Indianapolis. AmerUs acquired the building in 2001 when it bought Indianapolis Life Insurance Company.

AmerUs also is taking a $7.3 million charge to increase policy reserve liabilities as a result of a change in accounting rules.

The change, required by Statement of Position 03-1 from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York, affects the way insurers account for financial exposure to the guarantees built into policyholders’ separate accounts.