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American Equity Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Results

February 12, 2020 GMT

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 12, 2020--

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (NYSE: AEL), a leading issuer of fixed index annuities (FIAs), today reported fourth quarter 2019 net income of $220.2 million, or $2.40 per diluted common share, compared to net income of $53.8 million, or $0.59 per diluted common share, for fourth quarter 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2019, net income was $246.1 million, or $2.68 per diluted common share, compared to $458.0 million, or $5.01 per diluted common share, for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Non-GAAP operating income 1 for fourth quarter 2019 was $125.8 million, or $1.37 per diluted common share, compared to non-GAAP operating income 1 of $90.3 million, or $0.99 per diluted common share, for fourth quarter 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2019, non-GAAP operating income 1 was $548.2 million, or $5.97 per diluted common share, compared to $425.7 million, or $4.66 per diluted common share, for the year ended December 31, 2018. Non-GAAP operating return 1 on average common stockholders’ equity excluding average AOCI 1 was 21.4% based on reported results and 17.0% excluding the impact of assumption revisions.

The year-over-year increases in quarterly non-GAAP operating income 1 and non-GAAP operating income 1 per share were primarily attributable to an increase in investment spread which benefited from active rate management and lower amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs and deferred sales inducements. The benefit from these items was partially offset by a greater increase in the liability for future benefits to be paid for lifetime income benefit riders. The decline in amortization and the increase in the liability for lifetime income benefit riders reflect the impact of third quarter 2019 revisions to the assumptions utilized in the determination of these items.

POLICYHOLDER FUNDS UNDER MANAGEMENT UP 0.5% ON $921 MILLION OF SALES

Policyholder funds under management at December 31, 2019 were $53.2 billion, a $283 million, or 0.5% increase from September 30, 2019. Fourth quarter gross and net sales were $921 million and $844 million, respectively, representing decreases of 18% and 19% from fourth quarter 2018 sales. On a sequential basis, gross and net sales decreased 29% and 31%, respectively.

Total sales by independent agents for American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company (American Equity Life) and total sales by broker-dealers and banks for Eagle Life Insurance Company (Eagle Life) decreased sequentially by 27% and 39%, respectively. Sales of fixed index annuities (FIAs) were down 32% sequentially to $833 million due to a 27% decrease in sales for American Equity Life and a 59% decrease for Eagle Life.

Commenting on sales, John Matovina, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The decreases in gross sales in the independent agent channel were attributable to competitive rate dynamics in the market. Consistent with our long-standing principle of financial discipline, and in response to lower investment yields in the third quarter, we meaningfully lowered product rates and guaranteed income levels in mid-October. The competition did not act in a similar manner neither in terms of timing nor nature with regards to rates and guaranteed income.”

Matovina continued: “In the bank and broker-dealer channels, Eagle Life had distinguished itself with its emphasis on offering attractive participation rates on the S&P 500 Index annual point-to-point strategy. However, the reductions we made to participation rates in October left us in a less competitive position for much of the quarter.”

Commenting on the market environment and the outlook for FIA sales, Matovina added: “The market in each of our distribution channels continues to be competitive. However, with the uptick in investment yields during the fourth quarter, we increased caps and participation rates on our accumulation products in mid-December; putting us in a better competitive position than we were for much of the fourth quarter. Our October decreases in guaranteed income were not widely matched by the marketplace and we did not increase guaranteed income levels in December as we expect product pricing and returns for policies issued in 2020 to be negatively impacted by decreases in the prescribed valuation interest rates used to compute regulatory reserves. While in the near term this may be a sales head wind for us with respect to policies with lifetime income benefit riders, we expect competitors will ultimately adjust their guaranteed income pricing to recognize this factor, but the timing and size of any such adjustments is unclear at this time.”

Matovina continued: “A significant initiative for Eagle Life in the fourth quarter was the launch of its guaranteed income product, the Eagle Select Income Focus. Distributors have shown substantial interest and several have already agreed to sell the product. We anticipate sales to materialize early in the second quarter. We also finalized a selling agreement with a large independent broker-dealer last quarter and expect to see sales in the near future from this distribution relationship.”

INVESTMENT SPREAD INCREASES ON LOWER COST OF MONEY

American Equity’s investment spread was 2.77% for the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to 2.75% for the third quarter of 2019 and 2.56% for the fourth quarter of 2018. On a sequential basis, the average yield on invested assets decreased by 7 basis points while the cost of money fell by 9 basis points.

Average yield on invested assets was 4.52% in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to 4.59% in the third quarter of 2019. This decrease was attributable to a decrease in the benefit from non-trendable investment income items from 13 basis points in the third quarter to 9 basis points in the fourth quarter of this year. The impact from the decline in short term yields on the $4.8 billion of floating rate instruments in the investment portfolio negatively affected average yield by 3 basis points.

The aggregate cost of money for annuity liabilities of 1.75% in the fourth quarter of 2019 was down 9 basis points from 1.84% in the third quarter of 2019. The cost of money benefited by 5 basis points from over hedging index-linked interest obligations, compared to 2 basis points in the third quarter of 2019.

Commenting on investment spread, Matovina said: “Excluding non-trendable investment spread items, investment spread increased 3 basis points sequentially. Once again, the driver of spread improvement was a decrease in the cost of money resulting from active management of our rates and further declines in option costs. Option costs decreased in the fourth quarter reflecting the actions taken in August and October to reduce caps and participation rates on new and renewal business. The trend of declining option costs, which began in December 2018, should extend further as we began reducing renewal rates on $29.7 billion of policyholder funds under management last month. Should yields available to us remain at current levels or the cost of money rise, we have flexibility to reduce our crediting rates and could decrease our cost of money by approximately 0.59% through further reductions in renewal rates to guaranteed minimums.”

CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements relate to future operations, strategies, financial results or other developments, and are subject to assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Statements such as “guidance”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “goal”, “objective”, “target”, “may”, “should”, “estimate”, “projects” or similar words as well as specific projections of future results qualify as forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by these forward looking statements can be found in the company’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made and the company undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that other factors not currently anticipated by the company will not materially and adversely affect our results of operations. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements made by us or on our behalf.

CONFERENCE CALL

American Equity will hold a conference call to discuss fourth quarter 2019 earnings on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. CT. The conference call will be webcast live on the Internet. Investors and interested parties who wish to listen to the call on the internet may do so at www.american-equity.com.

The call may also be accessed by telephone at 855-865-0606, passcode 3083906 (international callers, please dial 704-859-4382). An audio replay will be available shortly after the call on American Equity’s website. An audio replay will also be available via telephone through February 20, 2020 at 855-859-2056, passcode 3083906 (international callers will need to dial 404-537-3406).

ABOUT AMERICAN EQUITY

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is a leading issuer of fixed index annuities through independent agents, banks and broker-dealers. American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, a New York Stock Exchange listed company (NYSE: AEL), is headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, please visit www.american-equity.com.

Consolidated Statements of Operations

 
 

 

 

Three Months Ended
December 31,

 

Year Ended
December 31,

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2019

 

2018

Revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premiums and other considerations

 

$

8,846

 

 

$

4,430

 

 

$

23,534

 

 

$

26,480

 

Annuity product charges

 

62,722

 

 

60,394

 

 

240,035

 

 

224,488

 

Net investment income

 

588,217

 

 

554,355

 

 

2,307,635

 

 

2,147,812

 

Change in fair value of derivatives

 

466,434

 

 

(1,054,281

)

 

906,906

 

 

(777,848

)

Net realized gains (losses) on investments, excluding other than temporary impairment (OTTI) losses

 

7,029

 

 

3,097

 

 

6,962

 

 

(37,178

)

OTTI losses on investments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total OTTI losses

 

(17,412

)

 

(18,980

)

 

(18,511

)

 

(35,005

)

Portion of OTTI losses recognized from other comprehensive income

 

 

 

 

 

(215

)

 

(1,651

)

Net OTTI losses recognized in operations

 

(17,412

)

 

(18,980

)

 

(18,726

)

 

(36,656

)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

(2,001

)

 

 

 

(2,001

)

 

 

Total revenues

 

1,113,835

 

 

(450,985

)

 

3,464,345

 

 

1,547,098

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance policy benefits and change in future policy benefits

 

11,553

 

 

7,439

 

 

35,418

 

 

39,530

 

Interest sensitive and index product benefits

 

399,514

 

 

255,700

 

 

1,287,576

 

 

1,610,835

 

Amortization of deferred sales inducements

 

91,260

 

 

(11,578

)

 

88,585

 

 

222,201

 

Change in fair value of embedded derivatives

 

147,879

 

 

(804,026

)

 

1,454,042

 

 

(1,389,491

)

Interest expense on notes payable

 

6,384

 

 

6,376

 

 

25,525

 

 

25,498

 

Interest expense on subordinated debentures

 

3,651

 

 

4,041

 

 

15,764

 

 

15,491

 

Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs

 

133,573

 

 

(8,750

)

 

87,717

 

 

327,991

 

Other operating costs and expenses

 

39,194

 

 

33,597

 

 

154,153

 

 

129,301

 

Total benefits and expenses

 

833,008

 

 

(517,201

)

 

3,148,780

 

 

981,356

 

Income before income taxes

 

280,827

 

 

66,216

 

 

315,565

 

 

565,742

 

Income tax expense

 

60,677

 

 

12,393

 

 

69,475

 

 

107,726

 

Net income

 

$

220,150

 

 

$

53,823

 

 

$

246,090

 

 

$

458,016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per common share

 

$

2.41

 

 

$

0.59

 

 

$

2.70

 

 

$

5.07

 

Earnings per common share - assuming dilution

 

$

2.40

 

 

$

0.59

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

5.01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted average common shares outstanding (in thousands):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per common share

 

91,314

 

 

90,555

 

 

91,139

 

 

90,348

 

Earnings per common share - assuming dilution

 

91,883

 

 

91,622

 

 

91,782

 

 

91,423

 

NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

In addition to net income, we have consistently utilized non-GAAP operating income and non-GAAP operating income per common share - assuming dilution, non-GAAP financial measures commonly used in the life insurance industry, as economic measures to evaluate our financial performance. Non-GAAP operating income equals net income adjusted to eliminate the impact of items that fluctuate from quarter to quarter in a manner unrelated to core operations, and we believe measures excluding their impact are useful in analyzing operating trends. The most significant adjustments to arrive at non-GAAP operating income eliminate the impact of fair value accounting for our fixed index annuity business. These adjustments are not economic in nature but rather impact the timing of reported results. We believe the combined presentation and evaluation of non-GAAP operating income together with net income provides information that may enhance an investor’s understanding of our underlying results and profitability.

Reconciliation from Net Income to Non-GAAP Operating Income

 
 

 

 

Three Months Ended
December 31,

 

Year Ended
December 31,

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

2019

 

2018

Net income

 

$

220,150

 

 

$

53,823

 

 

$

246,090

 

 

$

458,016

 

Adjustments to arrive at non-GAAP operating income: (a)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net realized investment gains/losses, including OTTI

 

7,606

 

 

9,525

 

 

7,361

 

 

45,450

 

Change in fair value of derivatives and embedded derivatives - fixed index annuities

 

(127,777

)

 

36,186

 

 

373,221

 

 

(72,181

)

Change in fair value of derivatives - interest rate caps and swap

 

(167

)

 

1,276

 

 

1,247

 

 

(1,892

)

Income taxes

 

26,023

 

 

(10,475

)

 

(79,736

)

 

(3,653

)

Non-GAAP operating income

 

$

125,835

 

 

$

90,335

 

 

$

548,183

 

 

$

425,740

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per common share - assuming dilution:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

2.40

 

 

$

0.59

 

 

$

2.68

 

 

$

5.01

 

Adjustments to arrive at non-GAAP operating income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net realized investment gains/losses, including OTTI

 

0.08

 

 

0.10

 

 

0.08

 

 

0.50

 

Change in fair value of derivatives and embedded derivatives - fixed index annuities

 

(1.39

)

 

0.40

 

 

4.07

 

 

(0.79

)

Change in fair value of derivatives - interest rate caps and swap

 

 

 

0.01

 

 

0.01

 

 

(0.02

)

Income taxes

 

0.28

 

 

(0.11

)

 

(0.87

)

 

(0.04

)

Non-GAAP operating income

 

$

1.37

 

 

$

0.99

 

 

$

5.97

 

 

$

4.66

 

NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

Average Common Stockholders’ Equity and Return on Average Common Stockholders’ Equity

Return on average common stockholders’ equity measures how efficiently we generate profits from the resources provided by our net assets. Return on average common stockholders’ equity and non-GAAP operating return on average common stockholders’ equity are calculated by dividing net income and non-GAAP operating income, respectively, for the trailing twelve months by average total stockholders’ equity excluding average equity available to preferred stockholders and average accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI). We exclude AOCI because AOCI fluctuates from quarter to quarter due to unrealized changes in the fair value of available for sale investments.

 

 

Twelve Months Ended

 

 

December 31, 2019

Average Common Stockholders' Equity Excluding Average AOCI

 

 

Average total stockholders' equity

 

$

3,484,610

 

Average equity available to preferred stockholders

 

(200,000

)

Average AOCI

 

(722,745

)

Average common stockholders' equity excluding average AOCI

 

$

2,561,865

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

246,090

 

Non-GAAP operating income

 

$

548,183

 

 

 

 

Return on Average Common Stockholders' Equity Excluding Average AOCI

 

 

Net income

 

9.61

%

Non-GAAP operating income

 

21.40

%

 

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200212005792/en/

CONTACT: Steven D. Schwartz, Vice President-Investor Relations

(515) 273-3763,sschwartz@american-equity.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA IOWA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

SOURCE: American Equity Investment Life Holding Company

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 02/12/2020 04:15 PM/DISC: 02/12/2020 04:15 PM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200212005792/en