CNO Financial Group, Inc. ( CNO Quick Quote CNO - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share of 87 cents, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 47.5%. The bottom line surged 43% year over year.
The better-than-expected quarterly results reflect better net investment income, reduced benefits and expenses, higher annuity collected premiums and better insurance margin.
Total revenues amounted to $1.1 billion, which dipped 0.1% year over year in the fourth quarter due to lower general account assets. However, the downside was partly mitigated by sound insurance policy income, the policyholder and other special-purpose portfolios, and fee revenues and other income.
Quarterly Operational Update
Total insurance policy income remained almost flat year over year to $629.9 million in the quarter under review.
Net investment income inched up 1.2% year over year.
Annuity collected premiums of $397.4 million climbed 15% year over year in the fourth quarter.
New annualized premiums for life and health products rose 2% year over year to $87.5 million.
Total benefits and expenses of $926.7 million declined 0.6% year over year due to reduced insurance policy benefits.
CNO Financial exited the fourth quarter with unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $632.1 million, which plunged 32.6% from the 2020-end level.
Total assets amounted to $36.2 billion, which grew 2.4% from the figure as of Dec 31, 2020.
Total shareholders’ equity slipped 4.1% from the 2020-end level to $5.3 billion.
Book value per share was $43.69, which rose 8% year over year.
As of Dec 31, 2021, the debt-to-capital ratio of 17.8% improved 60 basis points (bps) year over year.
Share Repurchase and Dividend Update
CNO Financial rewarded $115.7 million to its shareholders with share buybacks to the tune of $100 million and
dividends worth $15.7 million in the fourth quarter. Full-Year Update
For 2021, adjusted earnings of $2.79 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.53. The bottom line improved 10% year over year.
Total revenues climbed 7.9% year over year to $4.1 billion in the year.
Adjusted operating return on equity for 2021 was 12.1%.
During the year, CNO Financial returned capital worth $468.1 million to shareholders (via $402.4 million in share buybacks and $65.7 million through dividends).
CNO Financial currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see
. the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here Performance of Some Other Insurers
Of the insurance industry players that have reported fourth-quarter results so far,
RLI Corp. ( RLI Quick Quote RLI - Free Report) , W.R. Berkley Corporation ( WRB Quick Quote WRB - Free Report) and Selective Insurance Group, Inc. ( SIGI Quick Quote SIGI - Free Report) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings.
RLI’s fourth-quarter 2021 operating earnings of $1.26 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 35.9% and improved 38% from the prior-year quarter. Operating revenues of RLI for the reported quarter were $275.9 million, up 14.2% year over year but missed the consensus mark by a whisker. Gross premiums written increased 12.2% year over year to $337.2 million. RLI’s combined ratio improved 730 bps year over year to 80.7.
W.R. Berkley’s fourth-quarter 2021 operating income of $1.53 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.21 by 26.5%. The bottom-line surged 66.3% year over year. Operating revenues of WRB were $2.6 billion, up 19.4% year over year. The top line beat the consensus estimate by 9.2%. W.R. Berkley’s net premiums written were $2.3 billion, up 26.6% year over year.
Selective Insurance reported fourth-quarter 2021 operating income of $1.56 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.8% but declined 15.2% from the year-ago quarter. Total revenues of SIGI amounted to $867 million, which increased 11.4% from the year-ago quarter’s figure and outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, Selective Insurance’s net premiums written increased 9% to $745.4 million.