WellPoint (WLP)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 28, 2010 7:30 am ET


Michael Kleinman - Staff Vice President of Investor Relations

Brian Sassi - Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Business Unit and President of Consumer Business Unit

Ken Goulet - Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Business Unit and President of Commercial Business Unit

Angela Braly - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of Executive Committee

Wayne Deveydt - Chief Financial Officer, Head of Investor Relations and Executive Vice President


Joshua Raskin - Barclays Capital

Justin Lake - UBS Investment Bank

Carl McDonald - Citigroup Inc

Scott Fidel - Deutsche Bank AG

Matthew Borsch - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Thomas Carroll - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.

John Rex - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Doug Simpson - Morgan Stanley



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the WellPoint Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to the company's management.

Michael Kleinman

Good morning, and welcome to WellPoint's Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. I'm Michael Kleinman, Vice President of Investor Relations. With me this morning are Angela Braly, our Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Wayne Deveydt, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Angela will begin this morning's call with an overview of our second quarter results, actions and accomplishments. Wayne will then offer a detailed review of our second quarter financial performance and current guidance which will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Ken Goulet, Executive Vice President and President of our Commercial Business; and Brian Sassi, Executive Vice President and President of our Consumer Business, are available to participate in the Q&A session.

During this call, we will reference certain non-GAAP measures. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable measures calculated in accordance with GAAP is available in our press release and on the Investor Information page of our company website at www.wellpoint.com. We will also be making some forward-looking statements on this call. Listeners are cautioned that these statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of WellPoint. These risks and uncertainties can cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. We advise listeners to review the risk factors discussed in our press release this morning and in our quarterly and annual filings with the SEC.

I will now turn the call over to Angela.

Angela Braly

Thank you, Michael, and good morning. Today, we're pleased to report a strong second quarter of 2010, with earnings per share of $1.71 including $0.04 per share of net investment gains. Earnings per share in the second quarter of 2009 totaled $1.43 and included $0.07 per share of net investment losses. Excluding the net investment gains and losses in each period, our adjusted EPS was $1.67 for the second quarter of 2010, which represents an increase of 11% over adjusted EPS of $1.50 in the same period of last year.

Our quarterly results exceeded our expectations, primarily due to higher than anticipated favorable reserve development and continued strong performance in our capital management areas. We're also seeing positive results in our core operations from many of the strategic initiatives we put in place over the last two years. Based on our results through the first six months of the year, we've increased our full year 2010 EPS guidance to at least $6.30 per share, including $0.08 per share of net investment gain, partially offset by an impairment charge of $0.03 per share.

Medical enrollment totaled 33.5 million members at June 30, 2010, a decline of 343,000 members or 1% from March 31, 2010, which is in line with our expectations. Enrollment in the non-Blue business decreased by 85,000 members reflecting our exit from certain markets in our UniCare business, while the remaining decline was driven by in-group attrition in the National and Local Group businesses and included a sequential reduction of 103,000 in our BlueCard enrollment.

The unemployment rate in our Blue states is down slightly from the first quarter to 10%, but we expect that it will remain elevated through at least the end of 2010.

We continue to generate solid sales, with group sales running 5% better than our 2010 plan and our group retention rates remain above 90%. While most of our business units are managing well through this difficult economy, in-group attrition remains high. Once the employment situation begins to improve meaningfully, we expect to benefit from in-group membership growth.

We also expect to continue gaining share in the national accounts marketplace due to our strong and distinct value proposition. We found that these large, national employers are increasingly attracted to our broad and cost-effective provider network and our care management and health improvement programs. We've achieved market-leading growth in the National Account segment of approximately 300,000 net new members in 2010, and we currently anticipate further growth in 2011. We already have several sizable wins for January 1, 2011, and we expect to finalize more in the next few months. The market is competitive again this year but has been generally rational, and we're pleased with our expectation for further growth.

Fully insured enrollment ended the second quarter slightly better than we expected at $14.1 million. As we've previously discussed, 873,000 member low-margin municipal account converted to a self-funding arrangement on April 1. After adjusting for this conversion, our fully insured enrollment fell modestly in the quarter. While down in total, a positive data point is that small group membership grew slightly in the month of June. This was the first month of positive membership growth for small group in over a year, and we believe it's one of several positive indicators reflecting the strength of our product offerings and suggesting that the current business environment may be improving.

Results in our Local Group business are running ahead of plan so far this year and have improved significantly from a year ago. Our state-sponsored programs are also performing better this year. We implemented a series of strategic and tactical changes over the past several quarters that have improved our results. Membership continues to grow as more people become eligible for public programs during periods of high unemployment.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

If you liked this article you might like

Towers Watson & Co. - Analyst/Investor Day

Towers Watson & Co. - Analyst/Investor Day

Cresud's CEO Discusses F2Q12 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Cresud's CEO Discusses F2Q12 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Ocean Power Technologies Management Discusses Q1 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Ocean Power Technologies Management Discusses Q1 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Microsemi Corporation - Analyst/Investor Day

Microsemi Corporation - Analyst/Investor Day

Lattice Semiconductor's CEO Presents At Deutsche Bank's DbAccess 2012 Technology Conference (Transcript)

Lattice Semiconductor's CEO Presents At Deutsche Bank's DbAccess 2012 Technology Conference (Transcript)