Strong group life, group dental and group disability results helped profits at MetLife Inc. during the first quarter.

MetLife, New York, is reporting $1 billion in net income for the latest quarter on $13 billion in revenue, up from $747 million in net income on $12 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Group life earnings increased 18%, to $107 million, and earnings at the segment that includes the dental and disability operations increased 23%, to $79 million. Profits were up at those operations partly because of growth in business and partly because of solid underwriting results, MetLife says.

In other earnings news:

- Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., is reporting $1.1 billion in net income for the first quarter on $8.8 billion in revenue, up from $733 million in net income on $7.9 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

A change in mortality experience cut individual life operating income to $101 million, from $133 million, but an increase in portfolio yields and in fees based on full-service retirement account values helped increase investment division operating income to $428 million, from $240 million, Prudential says.

Excluding corporate-owned life insurance, sales of universal life held steady, sales of term life increased to $49 million, from $31 million, and sales of variable life increased to $48 million, from $21 million, Prudential says.

Net annuity sales fell to $409 million, from $503 million, but total account value stood at $79 billion at the end of the first quarter, up from $57 billion a year earlier, Prudential says.

- Lincoln National Corp., Philadelphia, is reporting $396 million in net income for the first quarter on $2.7 billion in revenue, up from $221 million in net income on $1.4 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Lincoln individual annuities attracted $754 million more cash than they lost, and asset growth and successful hedge program performance increased individual annuities operating income to $121 million, from $66 million for the first quarter of 2006.

Customers paid for guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit options for 43% of first-quarter variable annuity deposits, Lincoln estimates.

At the individual life business, operating income increased to $167 million, from $69 million, as sales climbed 70%, to $203 million.

Sales of most individual life products were strong, Lincoln says.

Lincoln says one step it will be taking is to freeze its defined benefit pension plan and replace the plan with an enhanced defined contribution retirement plan.

- Principal Financial Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $237 million in net income for the first quarter on $2.7 billion in revenue, compared with $240 million in net income on $2.4 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Profits at the company’s asset management and accumulation operations were up, but operating income at the life and health insurance operations fell to $46 million, from $70 million.

Insurance profits fell in part because of life insurance death claim costs and high claims costs for high-deductible health insurance plans, Principal says.

- Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is reporting $203 million in net income for the first quarter on $1.1 billion in revenue, up from $142 million in net income on $1.1 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Most divisions did well, but total first-year sales of individual life insurance and other protection products fell to $90 million, from $144 million.

Nationwide will be updating its life insurance product portfolio, “restructuring affiliated distribution and extending the reach of non-affiliated distribution,” the company says.

- Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford, is reporting $51 million in net income for the first quarter on $663 million in revenue, up from $1.7 million in net income on $638 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Total private placement life and annuity deposits increased to $66 million, from $12 million, Phoenix says.

- American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, West Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $9.9 million in net income for the first quarter on $173 million in revenue, compared with $4 million in net income on $228 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Revenue at American Equity, a major seller of indexed annuities, fell because of a drop in the fair value of derivatives used in the annuity program, the company says.

Operating profits fell to $15 million for the quarter, from $18 million, because the spread between the yield on American Equity’s invested assets and the cost of money on the company’s indexed annuity liabilities narrowed to 2.63%, from 2.71% for the first quarter of 2006.

The decline in the index annuity spreads was due to the effects of market volatility on hedging results and an increase in the cost of option amortization, American Equity says.

The problems with hedging results and option amortization costs were the result of the increasing cost of options used to support American Equity indexed annuities’ “monthly point-to-point” crediting strategy.

The options are very expensive, and an increasing percentage of policyholders have been choosing the monthly point-to-point strategy, American Equity says.

In January, the company tried to hold down options costs by reducing caps on the monthly point-to-point strategy, the company says.

“Further reductions are likely,” American Equity says.

An increase in annuity persistency also hurt results, but, over the long run, higher retention rates should be good for profits, American Equity says.

- Great American Financial Resources Inc., Cincinnati, is reporting $20 million in net income for the first quarter on $292 million in revenue, up from $19 million in net income on $249 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Great American, the parent of companies such as Great American Life Insurance Company and Central Reserve Life Insurance Company, says supplemental insurance results were strong and fixed annuity results were weak.

Palm Beach County, Fla., paid Great American $3.2 million to compensate it for restricting the company’s right to develop a marina in the county.

- Unum, Chattanooga, Tenn., is reporting $178 million in net income for the first quarter on $2.6 billion in revenue, up from $73 million in net income on $2.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Sales of fully insured group long-term disability insurance fell 41%, to $26 million, because of what Unum calls its “disciplined approach to pricing,” but group LTD profits increased to $29 million, from a group LTD loss of $72 million for the first quarter of 2006.

Sales of group life products fell 39%, to $20 million, but sales of insured group short-term disability insurance rose 27%, to $15 million.

- Assurant Inc., New York, is reporting $179 million in net income for the first quarter on $2.1 billion in revenue, up from $162 million in net income on $1.9 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Group disability and group life loss experience was good, and the employee benefits arm enjoyed strong real estate investment income, Assurant says.

- Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky., is reporting $71 million in net income for the first quarter on $6.2 billion in revenue, compared with $84 million in net income on $4.7 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 11 million individuals, up from 9.3 million individuals a year earlier.

- CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, is reporting $289 million in net income for the first quarter on $4.4 billion in revenue, compared with $352 million in net income on $4.1 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

Net income was down because CIGNA realized less income from investments.

The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 11 million individuals, up from 9.3 million individuals a year earlier.

- Health Net Inc., Los Angeles, is reporting $89 million in net income for the first quarter on $3.4 billion in revenue, compared with $77 million in net income on $3.2 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 3.3 million individuals, down from 3.4 million individuals a year earlier.

Enrollment fell because of lapsation of large, unprofitable group accounts, Health Net says.

- National Financial Partners Corp., New York, is reporting $8.5 million in net income for the first quarter on $244 million in revenue, compared with $9.5 million in net income on $238 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

NFP has been growing rapidly through acquisitions.

Profits fell at the financial services distribution firm partly because a “challenging senior life insurance market” caused “same store” revenue to drop 13%, NFP says.

First-quarter expenses include $100,000 in expenses for legal fees related to the New York attorney general’s investigation of the life settlements industry, NFP says.

“The company continues to cooperate with the attorney general’s office and expects additional costs will be incurred in 2007,” NFP says.

- EHealth Inc., Mountain View, Calif., a Web health insurance broker, is reporting $2.3 million in net income for the first quarter on $19 million in revenue, up from $1.1 million in net income on $13 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2006.

The number of individual and family product applications submitted through the site increased to 91,800, from 74,500, and the number of approved applications increased to 82,300, from 57,800.