Expirations of annuities with high minimum return guarantees pushed up profits at American Equity Investment Life Holding Company during the second quarter.[@@]

American Equity, West Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $12 million in net income for the latest quarter on $142 million in revenue, up from $10 million in net income on $110 million in revenue for the second quarter of 2004.

American Equity is best known for sales of annuities with crediting rates linked to the performance of the stock market indices and other investment indices.

Sales of the company’s indexed annuities increased to $1.3 billion during the latest quarter, up from $708 million for the comparable quarter in 2004.

Sales of conventional fixed annuities fell to $130 million, from $181 million.

The spread between the average rate American Equity earns on the investments backing annuities and the rates it has promised annuity holders narrowed to just 0.68% during the second quarter, from 0.81%.

But the average spread on all American Equity annuities fattened to 2.51%, from 2.39%, because many annuities sold in 2001 that came with high 3-year rate guarantees expired, the company says.

Annuity market experts say most annuity issuers shoot for an average spread of 2%.