American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (NYSE: AEL), a leading underwriter of index and fixed rate annuities, today reported first quarter 2012 operating income 1 of $29.8 million, or $0.46 per diluted common share, compared to first quarter 2011 operating income of $30.6 million, or $0.47 per diluted common share.
Performance highlights for the first quarter of 2012 include:
- Annuity sales for the first quarter of 2012 were $979 million (before coinsurance) compared to first quarter 2011 annuity sales of $1.3 billion (before coinsurance). First quarter 2011 benefited from sales in advance of a rate decrease implemented during that period.
- Total invested assets grew 15% to $24.0 billion at March 31, 2012 compared to total invested assets of $20.8 billion at March 31, 2011.
- Investment spread margin over the cost of money on annuity deposits remained steady at 2.93% for the first quarter of 2012 compared to 2.97% for the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Estimated risk-based capital (“RBC”) ratio at March 31, 2012 remained above target at 343%.
- Book value per outstanding common share (excluding Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income) grew to $16.24 at March 31, 2012 compared to $16.09 at December 31, 2011.
CONSISTENT SPREAD MANAGEMENT
American Equity earned an investment spread margin over the cost of money on annuity deposits of 2.93% for the first quarter of 2012 compared to a spread of 2.97% for the fourth quarter of 2011. The spread remained relatively consistent despite a reduction in the average yield on invested assets to 5.61% for the first quarter of 2012 compared to 5.76% in the fourth quarter of 2011. This decrease was offset by a reduction in the aggregate cost of money on annuity liabilities to 2.68% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 2.79% in the fourth quarter of 2011. The reduction in the cost of money reflects management actions to maintain spreads despite falling bond yields by adjusting new money and renewal crediting rates to policyholders.