Strong sales in Japan helped a Columbus, Ga., insurer quintuple profits in the fourth quarter of 2004 despite sluggish U.S. sales.[@@]
The voluntary benefits company, Aflac Inc., is reporting $418 million in net income for the latest quarter on $3.5 billion in revenue, up from $73 million in net income on $2.8 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2003.
An improvement in investment performance and release of a $128 million deferred tax asset valuation allowance helped results in the latest quarter. But Aflac, which is best known for selling cancer insurance in Japan, says strong sales of medical insurance and ordinary life insurance in Japan also contributed to the improvement.
Although Aflac is the parent of the famous Aflac Duck, U.S. sales fell 0.5% in the fourth quarter, to $343 million in annualized new premiums.
Aflac hopes to improve U.S. sales this year by recruiting more agents and improving their training, the company says.