Photo credit: <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=851">Danilo Rizzuti</a>

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, posted an operating profit of $428 million for its 2011 financial year. The result is a decline of 9% from the $472 million in operating profit the company reported for all of 2010.

However, Allianz Life says its improved its capital position, reporting regulatory risked-based capital ratio growth from 294% to 361%, an increase of 67 percentage points from 2010. The company additional reported total premium (new sales and recurring premiums) of $10.8 billion for 2011, which was unchanged from the prior year.

Fixed annuity sales declined by 8% to $6.5 billion in 2011, compared to $7.1 billion of premium in 2010. Variable sales increased 19% to $3.8 billion of premium. As a result, assets under management increased 9% to $95.3 billion at year end.

In other financial news:

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, West Des Moines, Iowa (NYSE: AEL), an underwriter of index and fixed rate annuities, reported operating income for the year 2011 of $133.7 million, or $2.12 per diluted common share, an increase of 23% over 2010 operating income of $108.9 million or $1.70 per diluted common share.

The company’s fourth quarter 2011 operating income was $32.6 million, or $0.52 per diluted common share, an increase of 24% compared to 2010 fourth quarter operating income of $26.4 million or $0.41 per diluted common share.

CNO Financial Group, Inc., Carmel, Ind. (NYSE: CNO), reported fourth quarter 2011 net income of $73.1 million, compared to $168.2 million in 4Q10. The company’s net income per diluted share was 26 cents, compared to 56 cents in 4Q10 (which included 31 cents from the decrease to the valuation allowance for deferred taxes)

The company’s net operating income totaled $60.1 million, up 16% compared to $51.7 million in 4Q10. Net operating income per diluted share was 22 cents, compared to 18 cents in 4Q10.For all of 2011, CNO reported net income of $382.5 million, compared to $284.6 million in 2010. Net income per diluted share was $1.31, compared to 99 cents in 2010

A holding company, CNO’s insurance subsidiaries include Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Washington National Insurance Company and Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company.

The Board of Directors of global insurance provider ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE), Zurich, Switzerland, will recommend to shareholders at the company’s 2012 Annual General Meeting a 4.25% increase in its quarterly dividend. The proposal calls for a $1.96 annual dividend, payable in four installments of $0.49 per quarter, beginning with the second quarter.

The Board of Directors also declared a quarterly dividend equal to $0.47 payable on April 20, 2012, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 30, 2012. The company says the dividend payment, a fourth installment approved in 2011, will be made in U.S. dollars.