(Image: Thinkstock)http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2017/08/19/aflac-turns-to-kkr-as-kirsch-diversifies-120-billi

Executives at Aflac Inc. say they believe investments in realigning distribution and setting up the Everwell private exchange system are starting to help U.S. sales.

Executives talked about U.S. sales Thursday, during a conference call with securities analysts.

Teresa White, the president of Aflac’s U.S. operations, taked about growth in both career agent distribution and broker distribution.

Aflac has been trying to give veteran agents the tools they need to increase sales, and it’s been trying to convert more sales associates into sales producers, White said.

The company is also trying to work more with brokers, to go after bigger cases, and to have the career agents court smaller employers, White side.

(Related: Aflac Courts Group Life Benefits Brokers)

“We continue to believe that the small-case market is a growing opportunity for Aflac, because our career agents are best-positioned within the industry to reach these smaller employers,” White said.

Aflac as a whole, which gets much of its business in Japan, is reporting $2.4 billion in net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 on $5.4 billion in revenue, compared with $751 million in net income on $6 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Net income includes a $1.7 billion gain related to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Excluding the effects of income taxes, earnings fell to $999 million, from $1.1 million, partly because of the effects of yen-dollar exchange rate fluctuations.

Aflac U.S. is reporting $288 million in pretax earnings for the latest quarter on $1.4 billion in premium revenue.

U.S. pretax earnings were up 9.9%, and U.S. revenue was up 2.2%.

U.S. sales increased 6.7%, to $515 million.

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