As a reminder, effective January 1st, 2012, we adopted ASU 2010-26, which modified the definition of the types of acquisition costs that can be deferred by insurance companies. We elected to adopt a new guidance on a retrospective basis, and accordingly, all prior periods presented have been retrospectively adjusted. The new guidance impacts the timing of the recognition of profits on our business, but has no impact on cash flows, statutory financial results or the ultimate profitability of the business.
Throughout this presentation, we will be making performance comparisons and, unless otherwise specified, any comparisons made will be referring to the changes between Q2 2011 as we stated for the DAC renouncement, and Q2 2012. And now, I’d like to turn the call over to our CEO, Ed Bonach. Ed?
Thanks, Scott, and good afternoon. CNO’s core businesses continued their positive momentum and performed well during the second quarter. Investments we are making in distribution and business growth continue to yield solid sales and earnings results. We reported net operating income of $54.2 million, which was up 22% over last year. Sales grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, and were up 6% from the prior year, primarily due to the increases in the sales of life and supplemental health products. These increases were partially offset by lower annuity sales as a result of the low interest rate environment and the product adjustments that we made during the year.
Scott Perry will touch on the sales details later in the presentation. Statutory earnings for the quarter were $97 million, up 23% from the prior year. Our strong financial position and our continued generation of cash and excess capital allowed ups to continue to buy back stock at an accelerated rate. As previously announced, the board of directors approved an additional $100 million for share repurchases, removed the combined repurchase authority outstanding to $172 million as of the end of the second quarter. Also during the quarter, the board approved initiation of a dividend program, and our first dividend payment was made during the quarter. This was a significant milestone for CNO, marking the tremendous progress the company has made through some of the most challenging economic conditions in our history, and also demonstrating confidence in our current and future cash flow and financial strength.
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