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CNO Financial earnings fall on recapitalization charge

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Carmel-based CNO Financial Group on Monday reported a third-quarter loss of $5 million, or 2 cents a share, compared to a $179.5 million, or 61 cent-per-share, profit in the third quarter of 2011.

Earnings were hurt mostly by a $176.4 million after-tax charge related to refinancing of debt earlier this year.

Revenue rose to nearly $1.1 billion, up from $992.3 million in last year's third quarter.

“Our recently completed recapitalization further strengthened our balance sheet, while increasing financial flexibility and lowering our ongoing costs,” said CEO Ed Bonach in a prepared statement.

CNO, the parent of insurers Bankers Life, Washington National and Colonial Penn, had sales of $94 million, as measured in new annualized premiums, in the most recent quarter, an increase of 1 percent from the same time last year.

CNO’s biggest unit, Chicago-based Bankers Life, posted sales of $80.6 million versus $79.4 million in the quarter a year ago. Sales at Washington National grew to $33.9 million, from $21.2 million. Losses widened at Colonial Penn, to a loss of $2.6 million from a $1.3 million loss a year earlier.

Revenue from other CNO business lines, including several being phased out, were down $53.6 million in the third quarter.

CNO posted an after-tax charge of $13.4 million relating to previously settled legal cases.

Earlier this year, CNO recorded a charge of $20 million from the tentative settlement of a legal dispute involving changes made late last year to certain life policies sold by CNO subsidiary Conseco Life Insurance Co.

Under the tentative settlement, the cost-of-insurance increase implemented by Conseco Life beginning in November will be reduced for certain policyholders. Holders whose policies terminated after November can reinstate their policies with the cost reduction or elect to take a cash-settlement option.

Also this year, the company said it agreed to pay $9.9 million to settle allegations by regulators in four states that its Bankers Life subsidiary acted as an investment adviser and broker-dealer without proper licensing. Those states are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Missouri.

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