Our key metrics of risk-based capital and debt-to-total-capital improved further during the quarter. Fred will touch on these in more detail later in the presentation.
And finally, we continued to emphasize and focus on profitable organic growth in our three core segments. Reported net operating EPS in the quarter was $.20 per share, up from $.15 per share in the prior year. To enhance the understanding of our operating results, slide seven shows our operating EPS adjusted for one notable item occurring in both this quarter and another in the year-ago. Our second quarter operating earnings and operating EPS were the highest achieved in the last two and half years.
Slide eight shows our trailing four quarters consolidated operating return on equity. Trailing four quarters’ earnings, we’re up 6%, but this is outpaced by the increase in average common shareholders equity of 10%, resulting in ROE being down slightly from the prior year. Our statutory results, free cash flow and excess capital generation provide meaningful insights on CNO’s enterprise value. As we have discussed before, our levers to improve ROE continue to be layering on profitable new business at a minimum 12% unlevered after-tax return, effectively deploying our excess capital, improving OCB margins and continuing to improve efficiencies across the enterprise. While we have made progress in growing earnings, and as important, earnings stability, we have made even more progress in restoring the balance sheet and deleveraging. Having now achieved capital ratios consistent with upgrades, we expect continued earnings growth in capital management to contribute more to increasing our ROE. It’s also worth noting the ROE convention of reporting on a trailing 12-month basis somewhat masks the run rate progress we have been making in advancing ROE. This, of course, will eventually come through as we post continued strong quarters.
Check Out Our Best Services for Investors
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Model portfolio
- Stocks trading below $10
- Intraday trade alerts