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Aflac posts 1.9% gain in operating earnings

Staff Report
Published Feb. 6, 2013

Supplemental insurance provider Aflac Inc., which employs nearly 800 people in the Columbia area, reported Tuesday operating earnings rose 1.9% to $697 million for the fourth quarter.

For all of 2012, operating earnings nudged up slightly to $3.1 billion compared with $2.9 billion for 2011.

Total fourth-quarter revenue rose about 6.7% to $6.4 billion. Total revenue for the year improved 14.4% to $25.4 billion compared with nearly $22.2 billion in 2011.

Aflac Japan's revenues in yen rose 10.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 9.4% for the year.

Aflac said total revenues for U.S. operations rose 5.8% to $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter and 5.4% for the year to $5.6 billion.

"From a financial perspective, Aflac U.S. continued to perform well for the quarter and for the full year,” said Daniel Amos, chairman and CEO. “While new sales growth has been constrained, our top-line growth has been consistently strong throughout the year, primarily reflecting an improvement in persistency.”

However, Amos noted that 90% of Aflac’s accounts come through the small business market, which is “particularly vulnerable to economic uncertainty.”

Overall, Aflac’s U.S. 2012 sales results were in line with the company’s guidance of roughly flat sales for the year, Amos added.

In 2009, Aflac gained a presence in Columbia when it acquired Continental American Insurance Co., which now operates as Aflac Group Insurance.

Aflac Group employs 773 workers locally and is still hiring, a spokesman said.