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CNO quarterly earnings jump on stronger sales

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CNO Financial Group Inc. on Monday reported first-quarter earnings of $59.1 million, a 30-percent increase from the $45.1 million it earned in the same quarter last year.

The Carmel-based company is parent of insurers Bankers Life, Colonial Penn and Washington National.

Earnings per share of 21 cents a share were in line with analyst estimates and compare with 16 cents for the quarter a year ago.

Sales rose 12 percent, to $96.2 million.

Premiums for Bankers Life, CNO’s biggest unit, were dinged by a $10 million settlement with state securities regulators involving sales practices and totaled $59.5 million in the first quarter.

The settlement with four states came after allegations that Bankers had acted as an investment advisor and as a broker-dealer without the proper licensing.

Starting in January, CNO adopted new accounting standards that modify the types of acquisition costs that can be deferred by insurance companies. The accounting change had the effect of decreasing first quarter net income by $10.4 million and by $8.5 million in the first quarter of last year, for comparison purposes.

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