An increase in benefits expenses hurt net earnings at AmerUs Group Company during the second quarter, but sales of the company’s core indexed annuities remained strong.[@@]

AmerUs, Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $36 million in net income for the latest quarter on $410 million, compared with $49 million in net income on $337 million in revenue for the second quarter of 2004.

Net investment income increased to $277 million, from $251 million, and AmerUs recorded $6.3 million in capital gains. During the second quarter of 2004, AmerUs lost $44 million on investments sold, written down or written off.

But policyowner benefits expenses increased to $244 million in the second quarter, from $168 million.

Sales of fixed annuities increased to $713 million, from $427 million. Indexed annuities accounted for 90% of those FA sales, up from 82%.

On the life side, total fixed life sales fell to $31 million, from $33 million. Indexed life policies accounted for 78% of fixed life sales, up from 58%.