CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CNO) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Apr 26, 2018 • 11:00 am ET

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CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CNO) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good morning. My name is Sara and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the CNO Financial Group's First Quarter 2018 Earnings Results Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Thank you.

I will now turn the conference over to Mr. Adam Auvil. Please go ahead.

Executive
Adam Auvil

Good morning. And thank you for joining us on CNO Financial Group's first quarter 2018 earnings conference call. Today's presentation will include remarks from Gary Bhojwani, Chief Executive Officer; and Erik Helding, Chief Financial Officer. Following the presentation, we will also have several other business leaders available for the question-and-answer period.

During this conference call, we will be referring to information contained in yesterday's press release. You could obtain the release by visiting the Media section of our website at www.cnoinc.com. This morning's presentation is also available in the Investors section of our website and was filed in a Form 8-K earlier today. We expect to file our Form 10-Q and post it on our website on or before May 3rd.

Let me remind you that any forward-looking statements we make today are subject to a number of factors, which may cause actual results to be materially different than those contemplated by the forward-looking statements.

Today's presentation contains a number of non-GAAP measures, which should not be considered as substitutes for the most directly comparable GAAP measures. You'll find a reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures to the corresponding GAAP measures in the appendix.

Throughout this presentation, we will be making performance comparisons. And unless otherwise specified, any comparisons made will be referring to changes between first quarter 2017 and first quarter 2018.

And with that, I'll turn the call over to Gary.

Executive
Gary Bhojwani

Thanks, Adam. And good morning. First quarter 2018 was another quarter of progress for CNO. We continued to grow key metrics, and our underlying fundamentals are strong. A number of our strategic initiatives are advancing from the pilot phase to implementation to scale. As expected, it will take time for these efforts to demonstrate their full potential. I'll go into more detail shortly as to why we are encouraged about these initiatives.

We posted solid earnings and demonstrated our financial strength. The diversity of our franchise continued to drive consistent and profitable earnings growth. Operating earnings per share were up 29%. Excluding the impact from the change in tax rate, operating earnings per share were up 6%. Book value per diluted share excluding AOCI was $21.94, up 2% sequentially. Although we experienced noise in some key metrics this quarter, our capital position remains strong. Erik will provide details during his remarks. We paid $15 million in common stock dividends this quarter. There were no common stock repurchases in the quarter. Our commitment to deploying 100% of free cash flow over time remains unchanged.

Moving to slide six and our segment production results. Bankers Life total