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CNO Financial profits surge 20 percent, beating expectations

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Profits at CNO Financial Group Inc. grew 20 percent in the second quarter and beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts, the company announced Tuesday afternoon.

The Carmel-based life and health insurer, formerly known as Conseco Inc., earned $33.1 million in the three months ended June 30, or 12 cents per diluted share. Excluding losses on investments and debt retirement, the company would have earned 16 cents per share.

On that basis, analysts were expecting 14 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

A year ago, CNO earned 15 cents per share, but in the past year it issued new stock, which diluted its earnings by 5 cents per share.

CNO’s revenue dove 13 percent in the quarter to $953.2 million, falling below analysts’ forecasts of $972.4 million.

But sales of new policies rose 5 percent to $95.3 million, with contributions from each of CNO’s three business units: Chicago-based Bankers Life, Carmel-based Washington National and Philadelphia-based Colonial Penn.

"Sales across all three of our segments continued to be strong during the second quarter," CEO Jim Prieur said in a statement.

The financial results were released after the markets closed Tuesday. CNO’s shares ended the day down 6 percent, at a price of $5.30 apiece.

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