By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Insurance Weekly News -- Ross R. Moody, President of National Western Life Insurance Company (Nasdaq: NWLI), announced second quarter 2014 consolidated net earnings of $29.2 million, or $8.25 per diluted Class A common share, compared with consolidated net earnings of $27.0 million, or $7.62 per diluted Class A common share, for the second quarter of 2013. For the six months ended June 30, 2014, the Company reported consolidated net earnings of $49.0 million, or $13.86 per diluted Class A common share, compared with $43.6 million, or $12.32 per diluted Class A common shares, a year ago. The Company's book value per share increased to $416.89 as of June 30, 2014 from $406.54 at March 31, 2014.
The Company reported earnings from operations, excluding net realized gains and losses on investments, of $27.2 million for the three months ended June 30, 2014, or $7.69 per diluted Class A common share, compared to $26.0 million, or $7.33 per diluted Class A common share, in the same period for 2013. Commenting on the second quarter results, Mr. Moody stated that earnings for the current period reflect improved policy benefit and operating expense outcomes. "We were fortunate to not incur significant or unusual claim experience or operational expense items this earnings cycle. Past quarterly results have included provisions for legal matters or policyholder obligations and our second quarter was significant for not having such items," Mr. Moody remarked. Earnings from operations for the six months ended June 30, 2014 increased 12% over the comparable prior year period. Mr. Moody noted that the persisting low interest rate environment continues to be a challenge for the industry. "Since the majority of our sales involve interest-sensitive products, we are acutely aware of the pressure on spread margins that comes with the present interest rate levels. We monitor this closely which is reflected in our earnings results for the first six months of this year," Mr. Moody observed.
Total revenues for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 increased to $206.8 million compared to $182.9 million in the second quarter of 2013 primarily due to higher market valuations of index options the Company purchases to support its fixed-index policy obligations. Mr. Moody indicated, "Our annuity sales were up 7% in the second quarter this year over last year and roughly 90% of these sales are fixed-index products. With the growth in this segment of our business, the notional amount of policy obligations that we cover through the purchase of call options correspondingly increases. Although not affecting profitability, the fluctuation in revenues caused by market valuation movements for these options can be sizable in any given reporting period."
Founded in 1956, National Western Life is a stock life insurance company offering a broad portfolio of individual universal life, whole life and term insurance plans, annuity products, and investment contracts meeting the financial needs of its customers in 49 states as well as residents of various countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim. The Company has approximately 272 employees and 23,970 contracted independent agents, brokers, and consultants, and at June 30, 2014, maintained total assets of $11.1 billion, stockholders' equity of $1.5 billion, and life insurance in force of $22.5 billion.
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