NU Online News Service, May 13, 2004, 4:52 p.m. EDT – Hedging and improvements in the claim review process helped Penn Treat American Corp., Allentown, Pa., increase its first-quarter earnings.[@@]

The long term care insurer is reporting $23.4 million in net income for the latest quarter on $129.9 million in revenue, up from $3.1 million in net income on $100.5 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003.

Penn Treaty benefited from a $35.6 million gain on a special account that kicks in when low interest rates hurt the yields on the company’s investments, but the company also benefited from a reduction in claims costs. Premium revenue fell only slightly, to $82.3 million, from $83.6 million, while the costs of paying benefits to policyholders dropped to $59.2 million, from $64.2 million.