Executives from Ameriprise Financial Inc., Torchmark Corp., Anthem Inc. and Centene Corp. have released results for the second quarter that look, overall, pretty good.
Jim Cracchiolo, the chief executive officer of Ameriprise, a life and annuity issuer, started his company’s quarterly conference call with securities analysts by pointing out that the stock market seems to have recovered from the turmoil at the end of 2018, and that the economy looks as if it’s improving.
“I feel good about our results and the ability to grow,” Cracchiolo said during his company’s call, which, like other publicly traded companies earnings calls, was streamed live on the web.
Reporters, securities analysts and credit analysts have tried to find some drama by wondering how prolonged low interest rates might affect life insurers, but Gary Coleman, the CEO of Torchmark, a company that writes and distributes life and health products, shrugged off the idea that low rates might have much of an effect on Torchmark.
“While we would like to see higher interest rates going forward, we can thrive at a lower-for-longer interest rate environment,” Coleman said.
Torchmark has focused on selling protection insurance products that are not especially sensitive to changes in interest rates, Coleman said.
Michael Neidorff, the CEO of Centene, and Gail Boudreaux, the CEO of Anthem, mostly sounded equally happy about their companies’ recent performance.
Centene sells some individual major medical insurance and is a major player in the Medicaid managed care plan market.
Centene is expanding its Medicaid plan business in North Carolina and Oregon, and it’s entering the Medicaid plan market in Iowa, and it’s pleased with its individual major medical performance, Neidorff said.
In some ways, he said, profit margins at the individual major medical business are falling a bit simply because the company is holding on to the insureds longer and, in some cases, reaching their annual out-of-pocket spending maximums
The margin normalization in the individual major medical line “shows that this business is really growing and performing as we expected it to,” Neidorff said. “The longer we retain a member, the better it is, because over time, we have demonstrated we’re keeping for a long period of time, we’re bringing the cost down for that person.”
At Anthem, Boudreaux and other company executives expressed happiness about the performance of its commercial plans and Medicare plans, but some consternation about the performance of Medicaid plan programs in some states.
One securities analyst asked Anthem executives whether the company is planning to exit from some states.
Boudreaux assured the analyst that Anthem’s Medicaid program is still performing within the expected range, even though it’s at the low end of that range.
“Overall, we still believe that the Medicaid is very good business,” Boudreaux said.
Here’s a look at the four insurers’ earnings details. The stock symbol link leads to the company’s filings page on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing website. The companies post their earnings releases and, in some cases, earnings supplements there.
Information about listening to the earnings call webcasts is usually available in the companies’ earnings press releases.
Ameriprise Financial Inc., Minneapolis (Stock symbol: AMP)