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Conseco reports $15.4 million profit in third quarter

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Conseco Inc. swung to a third-quarter profit that exceeded the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

The Carmel-based life and health insurer said Wednesday afternoon that it earned $15.4 million, or 8 cents per common share, compared with a loss of $183.3 million, or 99 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

However, Conseco’s investment losses were far greater a year ago. Excluding those and other special items, the company would have earned 31 cents per share a year ago but only 29 cents per share this year.

Still, on that basis, analysts were only expecting 22 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson/First Call.

“We have continued to make progress,” Conseco CEO Jim Prieur said in a statement, noting that it was Conseco’s third-straight profitable quarter.

Revenue for the quarter rose 9.5 percent to $1.1 billion, largely because of smaller investment losses.

Profits at Conseco’s Bankers Life and Colinial Penn subsidiaries surged 26 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The Carmel-based Conseco Insurance Group unit saw its profit tumble 37 percent due to losses on its life insurance products and a $3 million expense to settle lawsuits.

Sales of new products rose at both the Conseco Insurance and Colonial Penn, but fell at Bankers Life as Medicare private fee-for-service policies fell out of favor.

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