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FBL Financial (FFG) Beats Q1 Earnings & Revenue Estimates

FBL Financial Group, Inc. FFG reported first-quarter operating earnings of $1.05 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 98 cents by 7%. Earnings increased 10.5% from the prior-year quarter on lower death benefits in the Life Insurance segment and bond prepayments benefiting investment fee income. The quarter also benefit from its growing profitable businesses.

Shares price of FBL Financial gained about 3% in yesterday’s trading session largely reflecting the outperformance.

Revenues of $180 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $177 million by 1.75%. Revenues inched up 1.1% year on year on higher life insurance and annuity premiums collected which rose 1% and 12%, respectively.

Behind the Headlines

FBL Financial’s total premiums collected were $173.2 million, up 4.2% year on year. Premiums and product charges increased 3.9% to $78.2 million in the first quarter. Interest sensitive product charges remained flat year on year at $28.1 million, while traditional life insurance premiums rose 6% year on year to $50.1 million.  

Investment income declined marginally to $98.4 million in the first quarter compared with $98.8 million in the prior-year quarter due to lower investment yield. As of Mar 31, 2016, around 96% of fixed maturity securities in the company’s portfolio were investment grade debt securities.

Net realized capital gains were $1.6 million. The company had recorded net realized capital loss of $0.3 million in the first quarter of 2015. The company also incurred a $2.2 million impairment loss this quarter.

Other income declined 16.3% to $3.6 million.

Total benefits and expenses for the first quarter declined by 0.3% to $145.3 million.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2016, book value per share, including other comprehensive income (OCI), was $47.08 as against $45.61 as of Dec 31, 2015. Excluding OCI, book value per share was $39.60 compared with $40.99 in the prior-year quarter.

The company exited the quarter with total assets of $9.2 billion, up 1% year on year. Debt level declined 13% to $97 million.

Total investments increased 2.6% to $7.9 billion in the first quarter.

Share Repurchases and Dividends Update

The company purchased 720 shares of Class A common stock. The insurer also announced the authorization of a new stock repurchase program worth $50 million in Mar 2016.

The company paid a special dividend of $2 per share to shareholders in Mar 2016.

Zacks Rank and Performance of Other Insurance Stocks

FBL Financial currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Among other insurance stocks Aflac Incorporated AFL, First American Financial Corporation FAF and RLI Corp. RLI beat their respective Zacks Consensus Estimate in the first quarter.

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