Gary Bhojwani Gary Bhojwani (Photo: CNO)

The head of CNO Financial Group Inc. says he would eventually like to see about 20% of the company’s agents be licensed to sell securities.

Gary Bhojwani, CNO’s chief executive officer, talked about that goal Tuesday, during a conference call the company held to go over its first-quarter earnings with securities analysts.

About one in seven agents is an advisor with a securities license today, up from one in eight a few years ago, Bhojwani said.

“So, we see no reason to change our goal,” Bhojwani said during the call, which was streamed live on the web.

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Bhojwani said he thinks the captive distribution force at CNO’s Bankers Life unit is the fifth or sixth largest in the life insurance industry.

“If we can take that and have roughly 20% have a securities license, that really has a lot of power to it,” Bhojwani said.

Bankers Life agents’ annuity sales have been growing steadily, and the agents with securities licenses have been getting into younger and, generally, wealthier homes, Bhojwani said.

“They’re developing deeper relationships,” Bhojwani said. “I think that has the potential for a lot of benefits down the line.”

Bhojwani said that CNO needs to work at rebuilding its agent force in rural areas, and that sales in rural areas have been suffering lately, because of concerns such as flooding and the effects of trade wars.

“There’s been a lot of pressure on that population,” Bhojwani said.

Earnings

CNO is reporting $52 million in net income for the first quarter on $1 billion in revenue, compared with $84 million in net income on $1 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2018.

Here’s what happened to sales, expressed in terms of first-year collected premiums, for some types of products CNO sells, between the first quarter of 2018 and the latest quarter:

  • Indexed Annuities: $300 million (up from $235 million).
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance: $14 million (down from $15 million).
  • Supplemental Health Products: $1.1 million (unchanged).
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: $4.4 million (up from $3.7 million).
  • Traditional Life: $16 million (down from $18 million).
  • Interest-Sensitive Life: $9.6 million (down from $11.7 million).

Agent Counts

Here’s what happened to the average number of three different types of producers that CNO had during the latest quarter, when compared with the year-earlier quarter:

  • Bankers Life Agents: 4,125 (up 3.2%).
  • Bankers Life Financial Advisors: 583 (up 21%).
  • Washington National Agents: 682 (up 2.1%).

Resources

Links to CNO’s latest earnings documents are available here.

A link to a recording of CNO’s conference call with analysts is available here.

— Read Anthem’s CEO Refers to ‘Brokers’ 4 Times, on ThinkAdvisor.

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