The biggest U.S. disability insurer says sales of disability insurance to core small and midsize employers were strong during the first quarter.

UnumProvident Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., is reporting $73 million in net income for the latest quarter on $2.6 billion in revenue, compared with $152 million in net income on $2.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2005.

Net earnings rose even though they included $66 million in charges related to state efforts to change the company’s procedures for evaluating and administering disability insurance claims.

Although sales of short-term disability insurance coverage to large employers fell and sales of long-term disability coverage to large employers increased only modestly, STD sales to small and midsize employers were up slightly and LTD sales to small and midsize employers rose about 22%, UnumProvident says.

Group life sales increased 5%, to $33 million.

In other earnings news:

- Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., is reporting $733 million in consolidated net income for the first quarter on $7.9 billion in revenue, compared with $929 million in net income on $7.7 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2005.

Consolidated results include results for a large closed block of business. Prudential prefers to focus on results for its ongoing financial services business.

The financial services business is reporting $675 million in net income for the latest quarter on $6.1 billion in revenue, compared with $766 million in net income on $5.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2005.

Net results fell partly because Prudential recognized $236 million in investment gains in the first quarter of 2005 and only $51 million in investment gains in the latest quarter.

- Assurant Inc., New York, is reporting $162 million in net income for the first quarter on $1.9 billion in revenue, up from $115 million in net income on $1.9 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2005.

Net operating income was up at the benefits unit but down at the health insurance unit.

Profits were down at the health insurance unit partly because Assurant is investing heavily in efforts to expand sales of health coverage to individuals, Assurant says.