Growing sales of group disability insurance contributed to an increase in first quarter profits at Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.[@@]

The Hartford insurer is reporting $293 million in net income for the latest quarter on $6 billion in revenue, up from $264 million in net income on $5.7 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2004.

Hartford completed the acquisition of a large group insurance operation from CNA Financial Corp., Chicago, Jan. 1, 2004.

New group life sales fell to $132 million in the latest quarter, from $152 million in the first quarter of 2004, but new group disability sales have risen to $198 million, from $139 million, Hartford says.

New sales of variable annuities fell to $3.1 billion, from $4.6 billion, and new sales of fixed annuities fell to $197 million, from $232 million, Hartford says.

- Genworth Financial Inc., Richmond, Va., is reporting $322 million in net income for the first quarter on $2.6 billion in revenue, compared with $272 million in net income on $3 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2004.

Genworth, a company that split off from General Electric Company, Fairfield, Conn., in May 2004, emphasizes that its post-spin-off financial statements are not comparable to earlier financial statements because of a restructuring of operations that took place around the time of the spin-off. The company says its “pro forma” results for the first quarter of 2004 were $254 million in net earnings from continuing operations before accounting change on $2.5 billion in revenue.

One closely watched Genworth division, the company’s long term care insurance business, is reporting $42 million in operating earnings for the latest quarter on $566 million in revenue, compared with $39 million in operating earnings on $605 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2004. New LTC sales held steady at $41 million.

- StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Portland, Ore., is reporting $44 million in net income for the first quarter on $574 million in revenue, compared with $44 million in net income on $525 million for the first quarter of 2004. New sales at the company’s employee benefits unit increased 29%, to $42 million.

- Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is reporting $328 million in net income for the first quarter on $3.6 billion in revenue, compared with $304 million in net income on $3.3 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2004.

Aflac, which was once known as the creator of the Japanese cancer insurance market and now is best known for the Aflac Duck, has been trying to beef up its U.S. distribution force. Recruitment of new sales associates increased 10% between the latest quarter and the comparable quarter in 2004, to about 6,400, Aflac says.

In Japan, an ongoing effort by the government to shift more responsibility for medical bills to citizens helped increase sales of Aflac’s medical insurance products.

- AmerUs Group Company, Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $61 million in net income for the latest quarter on $354 million in revenue, compared with $33 million in net income on $388 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2004.

Equity indexed annuities accounted for 88% of the company’s first-quarter annuity sales, up from 78% during the comparable quarter in 2004.

- UICI, North Richland Hills, Texas, a niche life and health insurer, is reporting $52 million in net income for the first quarter on $536 million in revenue, up from $38 million in net income on $495 million in revenue.

- WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, is reporting $612 million in net income for the first quarter on $11 billion in revenue, up from $296 million in net income on $4.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2004. The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 29 million people, up from 13 million people a year earlier.

- Aetna Inc., Hartford, is reporting $424 million in net income for the first quarter on $5.4 billion in revenue, up from $366 million in net income on $4.8 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2004. The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 14.4 million people, up from 13.7 million people a year earlier.

- PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Cypress, Calif., is reporting $86 million in net income for the first quarter on $3.4 billion in revenue, up from $67 million in net income on $3 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2004. The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 3.2 million people, up from 3 million people a year earlier.

- Sierra Health Services Inc., Las Vegas, is reporting $29 million in net income for the first quarter on $336 million in revenue, up from $26 million in net income on $408 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2004.

Sierra Health, a managed care company, ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for only 572,100 people, down from 1.2 million earlier, because it lost a large TriCare military health coverage contract. But membership in the company’s insured commercial health plans increased to 241,300, from 212,000, and enrollment in all other Sierra Health health insurance programs except for the company’s Medicare supplement program also increased.