U.S. life and health insurers are starting to report just how hard the recession affected their finances in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Here is a look at the latest earnings reports:

Ameriprise Financial Inc., Minneapolis

4 Q 2008 Results

NET INCOME: $369 million loss

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $420 million loss

PREMIUMS: $282 million

REVENUE: $1.4 billion

4 Q 2007 Results

NET INCOME: $255 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $18 million gain

PREMIUMS: $271 million

REVENUE: $2.3 billion

- Ameriprise “recorded $63 million in expenses for variable annuity death and income benefits, as the decline in equity markets lowered underlying client account values below the guarantee level,” the company says. “The company also had $25 million in pretax expenses related to hedged variable annuity living benefits….

- “Clients’ decreased risk tolerances and preference to hold cash reduced variable annuity sales and drove net inflows in fixed annuities,” Ameriprise reports.

- Ameriprise says its variable annuity hedging program was 95% effective in 2008.

- Total financial advisors increased 6%, to 12,486, due in part to acquisitions.

- Life insurance in-force grew 3%, to $192 billion.

Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill.

4 Q 2008 Results

NET INCOME: $1.1 billion loss

REVENUE: $6.6 billion

ALLSTATE FINANCIAL NET INCOME: $1 billion loss

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $125 million loss

ALLSTATE FINANCIAL PREMIUMS AND DEPOSITS: $1.8 billion

4 Q 2007 Results

NET INCOME: $760 million

REVENUE: $9 billion

ALLSTATE FINANCIAL NET INCOME: $31 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $736 million loss

ALLSTATE FINANCIAL PREMIUMS AND DEPOSITS: $1.6 billion

- “Liquidity was substantially increased to ensure cash was available to meet customers’ needs,” Allstate says.

- Allstate Financial reduced fixed annuity sales in the second half because of the difficulty of earning attractive returns.

- Life insurance mortality was favorable.

Reinsurance Group of America Inc., Chesterfield, Mo.

4 Q 2008 Results

NET INCOME: $9.4 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $244 million loss

REVENUE: $1.4 billion

4 Q 2007 Results

NET INCOME: $64 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $97 million loss

REVENUE: $1.5 billion

- Mortality was up in the United States but favorable in Canada and the Asia Pacific region.

StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Portland, Ore.

4 Q 2008 Results

NET INCOME: $24 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $54 million loss

REVENUE: $639 million

SHORT-TERM GROUP DISABILITY SALES: $11 million

LONG-TERM GROUP DISABILITY SALES: $34 million

GROUP LIFE AND AD&D SALES: $40 million

INDIVIDUAL DISABILITY SALES: $7.7 million

4 Q 2007 Results

NET INCOME: $61 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $1.8 million loss

REVENUE: $705 million

SHORT-TERM GROUP DISABILITY SALES: $13 million

LONG-TERM GROUP DISABILITY SALES: $40 million

GROUP LIFE AND AD&D SALES: $46 million

INDIVIDUAL DISABILITY SALES: $6.6 million

- Disability premium revenue held steadier than sales. Individual disability premiums increased to $39 million, from $36 million.

- Conventional wisdom holds that disability claims ratios rise during recessions. So far, StanCorp “has not experienced an increase in claims incidence in its group long-term or group short-term disability business during the current economic downturn,” the company says.

WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis

4 Q 2008 Results

NET INCOME: $331 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $543 million loss

REVENUE: $15 billion

HEALTH PLAN ENROLLMENT: 35 million

4 Q 2007 Results

NET INCOME: $859 million

NET REALIZED INVESTMENT CHANGE: $600,000 gain

REVENUE: $16 billion

HEALTH PLAN ENROLLMENT: 35 million

- “While the company’s group retention rate remained above 90%, commercial in-group enrollment declines totaled 148,000 in the fourth quarter as employers reduced workforces,” WellPoint says in a discussion of its results. “The decline in membership was most pronounced in the national business and was experienced across a number of industries.”