With that, I would like to turn the call over to John McCallion, Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.
All right. Thank you, Brad, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to MetLife's Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. We will be discussing certain financial measures not based on generally accepted accounting principles, so-called non-GAAP measures. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures may be found on the Investor Relations portion of metlife.com in our earnings press release, our quarterly financial supplements and in the Other Financial Information section.
A reconciliation of forward-looking information to the most directly comparable GAAP measure is not accessible because MetLife believes it's not possible to provide a reliable forecast of net investment and net derivative gains and losses, which can fluctuate from period-to-period and may have a significant impact on GAAP net income.
Now joining me this morning on the call are Steve Kandarian, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Eric Steigerwalt, Interim Chief Financial Officer. After their prepared remarks, we will take your questions. Also here with us today to participate in the discussion are other members of management, including Bill Wheeler, President of Americas; Steve Goulart, Chief Investment Officer; Michel Khalaf, President of EMEA; and Bill Hogan, Executive Vice President and Head of our Japan operations.
With that, I would like to turn the call over to Steve.
Steven A. Kandarian
Thank you, John, and good morning, everyone. MetLife continued to perform well in the second quarter, particularly in light of the current environment. We delivered operating earnings of $1.4 billion, or $1.33 per share, up 18% year-over-year. Book value per share, excluding AOCI, rose to $48.60, a 12% gain year-over-year.
MetLife's story in the second quarter is one of sound execution on the fundamentals. Our underwriting results remain solid with strong performance in dental and improving results in disability. MetLife's commitment to underwriting discipline demonstrates that we will not chase sales at the expense of margins, which has proved over time to be a competitive strength. Consistent with our strategy of balancing growth and risk, we have reduced variable annuity sales in the quarter by 34% year-over-year and by 6% sequentially.