Solid employee benefits claims experience and a big increase in retirement plan assets helped third-quarter earnings at StanCorp Financial Group Inc.[@@]

StanCorp, Portland, Ore., is reporting $56 million in net income for the latest quarter on $590 million in revenue, up from $52 million in net income on $541 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2004.

Retirement plan assets soared to $4 billion Sept. 30, from $3 billion a year earlier, and the overall level of employee benefits claims was relatively low, StanCorp says.

But the ratio of individual disability claims to individual disability premiums was up, and StanCorp says it established $2.5 million in reserves to prepare for employee benefit plan claims that might come in as a result of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.