NU Online News Service, July 22, 2004, 6:16 p.m. EDT

The decline of traditional comprehensive health benefits helped Torchmark Corp., Birmingham, Ala., increase second-quarter supplemental health sales.[@@]

The company is reporting $117 million in net income for the latest quarter on $764 million in revenue, up from $106 million in net income on $734 million in revenue for the second quarter of 2003.

First-year premium revenue for Torchmark’s biggest seller, life insurance, increased to $59 million, up 10% from the total for the comparable quarter in 2003.

Torchmark’s first-year health premium revenue increased 10%, to $61 million, and first-year premiums for Medicare supplement policies fell 12%, to $14 million. First-year premiums for limited benefit hospital and surgical supplemental plans aimed at consumers under age 65 soared 47%, to $28 million.

“The demand for limited benefit supplemental health plans sold to people under age 65 continues as some employers have eliminated or reduced their major-medical type group coverage for employees, and as individually written major-medical plans have become less available,” the company says in a discussion of the second-quarter results.