Lincoln National Corporation (LNC)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 29, 2010 11:00 am ET

Executives

Jim Sjoreen - VP, IR

Dennis Glass - President and CEO

Fred Crawford - CFO

Analysts

Ed Spehar - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Randy Binner - FBR Capital Markets

Nigel Dally - Morgan Stanley

Jimmy Bhullar - JP Morgan

Thomas Gallagher - Credit Suisse

Eric Berg - Barclays Capital

Mark Finkelstein - Macquarie

Colin Devine - Citi

Suneet Kamath - Sanford Bernstein

Presentation

Operator

Good morning and thank you for joining Lincoln Financial Group's Second Quarter 2010 Earnings Call. At this time all lines are in listen-only mode. Later we will announce the opportunity for questions and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator instructions)

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to the Vice President of Investor Relations, Jim Sjoreen. Please go ahead sir.

Jim Sjoreen

Good morning and welcome to Lincoln Financial's second quarter earnings call. Before we begin I have an important reminder. Any comments made during the call regarding future expectations, trends and market conditions, including comments about liquidity and capital resources, premiums, deposits, expenses, income from operations are forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. These risks and uncertainties are described in the cautionary statement disclosures in our earnings release issued yesterday, and our reports on Forms 8-K, 10-Q and 10-K filed with the SEC.

We appreciate your participation today and invite you to visit Lincoln's website www.lincolnfinancial.com, where you can find our press release and statistical supplement, which include a full reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures used in the call, including income from operations and return on equity, to their most comparable GAAP measures.

Presenting on today's call are Dennis Glass, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Fred Crawford, Chief Financial Officer. After their prepared remarks, we will move to the question-and-answer portion of the call.

We would appreciate in the interest of time, that people limit themselves to two questions in order to get as many people on the call today.

I would now like to turn the call over to Dennis.

Dennis Glass

We are very pleased with the quality and diversity of our earnings this quarter and particularly satisfied with the stability and consistency of our operating results, driven by productivity gains, and reach in our distribution organizations and our comprehensive product line up.

Continuing our momentum from recent quarters, our fundamentals were very good. Deposits were up year-over-year in each of our businesses and 10% overall, and total net flows of $2 billion were up 8% year-over-year extending our long and consistent trend of positive net flows in our insurance and retirement businesses.

A focus on distribution relationships and productivity is essential to achieving these performance levels. At Lincoln Financial Distributors, we continue to expand distribution shelf space, adding product at five new firms this quarter.

Each of our top 20 distribution partners offers at least three Lincoln products and half of those firms offer four or more products. Wholesaler productivity is up 13% year-to-date on top of impressive productivity gains made last year.

Lincoln Financial Network continues to attract and retain seasoned advisors, who value our multiple affiliation models. The number of LFN advisors has now reached more than 7,800 and retention of our most productive advisors remains extremely high.

We are enhancing distribution productivity in our defined contribution and group benefit businesses by marrying our high-touch service-oriented worksite models with more efficient enrollment and servicing platforms.

The combination of distribution heft and our comprehensive and innovative suite of products help generate solid sales in each of our businesses. Life insurance experienced modest year-over-year sales growth with high levels of sustainable sales in term life insurance and MoneyGuard are linked benefit UL long-term care product.

MoneyGuard is producing double-digit sales increases and the number of advisors recommending this product to their clients is up more than 50%. Lincoln created the market for these flexible, hybrid solutions more than 20 years ago, and we believe there are compelling option that will continue to gain traction with advisors and consumers. With this kind of advantage, we are confident that Lincoln will continue to lead this market even as competitors begin to enter the space.

We are pleased with progress and deposits inflows in our variable annuities this quarter, and with the strength of our fixed offerings. The individual annuity business continues to benefit from increased reach in the form of 25 new firms carrying our fixed and index products in the past year and our successful strategy of having wholesalers represent the full suite of solutions allowing them to pivot as markets and consumer preferences require.

Defined contribution results were held by strong first year sales in mid to large case 403(b) plans and we are seeing progress in our strategy to more effectively leverage our LFD relationships to support small case for a 1K business.

Group Protection sales trends were positive as well and current sales are driving premium growth rates to 8%. Loss ratios were elevated this quarter. We have seen this occur before. Understand the cycles of the business and know what actions are needed to work through it.

We continue to refine our offerings to around out our product portfolio. With the launch in August of our duration guarantee UL term product to fill the gap between traditional term and life time guarantee UL and which we believe will generate healthy sales in its first year and over time.

Our new accident product for the voluntary market is also slated for August and should also open additional distribution opportunities in our group benefits business.

We maintained our leading market positions in top eight or better sales ranking in each of our core businesses last quarter and increased market share in certain key products, and although the data is not yet available. We expect to see product market share increases in the second quarter as well.

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