Clark Inc. is trying to improve per-share returns for its investors by buying back shares of its own stock.[@@]

Clark, Barrington, Ill., an executive benefits firm, says its board has agreed to spend an extra $20 million to buy back company stock and to set up a 10b5-1 stock trading plan.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b5-1 lets companies set up written, prearranged stock buyback programs.

Clark already has spent about $7.8 million on buying back stock through a $15 million repurchase program started in August 2004. The company now has a total of about $27 million in spending authority available to buy back stock, the company says.

The average price of shares purchased since August 2004 is $15.05 per share, Clark says.