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CNO profit jumps 17 percent

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CNO Financial Group's profit rose 17 percent in the second quarter, partly on lower expenses and higher investment income.

The Carmel-based insurer and financial services company reported on Monday morning earnings of $77.1 million, or 34 cents a share, for its second quarter—compared with $65.7 million and 24 cents a share in the second quarter of 2012. On average, nine analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of 26 cents for the quarter.

Net operating income per share was 30 cents in the quarter, a 50-percent rise from 20 cents in the period last year.

Total revenue for CNO grew 1.5 percent to $1.08 billion.

“The vitality and stability of CNO’s business model continues to produce solid results, with sales momentum increasing, and consistent growth in core business premium income and profitability,” CEO Ed Bonach said in a statement. 

Sales, as defined by new annualized premium, rose 5 percent to $102.3 million. 

Bankers Life, CNO’s Chicago-based unit that sells insurance to consumers at or near retirement age, saw a gain of 6 percent in new annualized premium, totaling $63.2 million.

Bankers Life opened nine new sales offices in the first six months of this year, CNO reported.

By contrast, new premium at CNO's Colonial Penn unit rose 1 percent to $15.8 million, “in line with our expectations given our advertising spend this quarter,” the company said.

Colonial Penn life insurance products are heavily touted over television and sold direct to consumers.

CNO shares were up about 2 percent at midmorning amid a broader market decline.

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