Torchmark Corporation ( TMK) Q4 2011 Earnings Call February 7, 2012 11:00 a.m. ET Executives Mark McAndrew - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Coleman - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Larry Hutchison - Executive Vice President and General Counsel Mike Majors - Vice President of Investor Relations Analysts Jimmy Bhullar - JPMorgan Randy Binner - FBR Capital Markets Sarah DeWitt - Barclays Capital Paul Sarran - Evercore Partners Jeffrey Schuman - Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Christopher Giovanni - Goldman Sachs Steven Schwartz - Raymond James John Nadel - Sterne Agee Robert Glasspiegel - Langen McAlenney Mark Hughes - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Presentation Operator
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On a GAAP reported basis with fixed maturities carried at market value, book value grew 25% for the year to $41.54 per share. In our life insurance operations, premium revenue excluding United Investors grew 4% to $432 million and life underwriting margins increased 6% to $121 million. Net life sales for the quarter increased 5% to $81 million. At American Income, life premiums were up 9% to $157 million and life underwriting margin was up 5% to $51 million. Net life sales increased 11% for the quarter to $37 million. The producing agent count at year-end was 4381, up 12% from a year ago. I continue to be excited by the growth prospects of American Income.While the agent count dipped slightly in the fourth quarter, it has rebounded strongly in January to over 4600. Our middle sales management ranks have grown 29% in the past year. As expected, we saw double digit life sales growth in the fourth quarter which we expect to continue throughout 2012. In our Direct Response operation at Globe Life, life premiums were up 6% to $146 million, and life underwriting margin was also up 6% to $36 million. Net life sales were up 8% to $33 million. We are beginning to see the impact on the increase in certain media circulation which we began in the third quarter. We expect to see similar or better sales growth through at least the first three quarter of 2012. At Liberty National, life premiums declined 3% to $71 million and life underwriting margin was down 1% to $16 million. Net life sales declined 23% to $8 million while net health sales grew 43% to $5 million. The producing agent count at Liberty National at year-end was 1345, down 33% for the year. Since our last call, we have made some management changes at Liberty National. Roger Smith, the CEO of American Income has also been appointed CEO of Liberty National, and Steve DiChiaro, a very successful SGA at American Income, was brought in as Chief Marketing Officer. These management changes have been very well received by the Liberty National sales force and I am optimistic that we will begin to see a turnaround at Liberty National in the next 6 to 9 months.
On the health side, premium revenue excluding Part D declined 5% to $179 million, and health underwriting margin also declined 5% to $34 million. Health net sales grew 7% in the quarter to $21 million. Premium revenue from Medicare Part D declined 5% to $48 million, while underwriting margin was down 23% to $7 million. Part D sales for the quarter increase to $97 million versus $14 million a year ago, primarily as a result of low income subsidized enrollees which we discussed on the last call.The volume of business form new low income subsidized enrollees who turned 65, has been a positive development. While we expected to enroll roughly 2000 per month, for January and February we have averaged closer to 6000. We now expect to add 50,000 to 75000 additional enrollees turning 65 in 2012 versus our prior estimate of 24000. Administrative expenses were $41 million for the quarter, up 2% from a year ago and in line with our expectations. I will now turn the call over to Gary Coleman, our Chief Financial Officer, for his comments. Gary Coleman Thanks, Mark. I want to spend a few minutes discussing our investment portfolio, capital and share repurchases. First, the investment portfolio. On our website are three schedules that provide summary information regarding our portfolio as of December 31, 2011. As indicated on these schedules, invested assets are $11.4 billion, including $10.9 billion of fixed maturities at amortized cost. There is no exposure to European sovereign debt and there are no commercial mortgage-backed securities or securities backed by subprime or Alt-A mortgages. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com