Aflac Inc AFL
Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/06/2013

Operator: Welcome to the Aflac's Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Your lines have been placed on listen-only until the question-and-answer session. Please be advised, today's conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to, Ms. Robin Wilkey, Senior Vice President of Aflac Investor and Rating Agency Relations. Ma'am, you may begin.

Robin Y. Wilkey - SVP IR: Thank you. Good morning and welcome to our fourth quarter call. Joining me this morning is Dan Amos, Chairman and CEO; Kriss Cloninger, President and CFO; Paul Amos, President of Aflac and COO of U.S. Operations; Ken Janke, Executive Vice President and Deputy CFO; Eric Kirsch, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Investment Officer; Tohru Tonoike, President and COO of Aflac Japan who is joining us from Tokyo.

Before we start, let me remind you that some statements in this teleconference are forward-looking within the meaning of federal securities laws. Although we believe these statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that they will prove to be accurate because they are prospective in nature. Actual results could differ materially from those we discuss today. We encourage you to look at our quarterly release for some of the various risk factors that could materially impact our results.

Now, I'll turn the program over to Dan, who'll begin this morning with some comments about the quarter and year as well as our operations in Japan and United States. I will then follow-up with a few highlights for the quarter and the year, and then will be glad to take your questions. Dan?

Daniel P. Amos - Chairman and CEO: Thank you, Robin. Good morning and thank you for joining us. The final quarter of 2012 concluded another great year for Aflac. Let me start in more detail about the accomplishments in 2012 and our outlook for 2013. Beginning with Aflac Japan, our largest earnings contributor. Following five straight quarters of recording breaking production, Aflac Japan's new annualized premium sales in the fourth quarter were up slightly. Sales were JPY49.3 billion, an increase of 1.5% over the fourth quarter of 2011. For the third consecutive year Aflac Japan generated record sales results. Our full year sales results rose 30.8% to JPY210.6 billion.

You'll recall that in the third quarter, we said that Aflac Japan sales would be challenging for the remainder of the year, and that's exactly what we saw. Three primary factors affected our results, two of which we discussed in the third quarter. The first and foremost factor was difficult comparisons to a year ago, which primarily reflected our expansion into the bank channel. Bank distribution has been a great benefit to us because about 70% of the bank customers are new to Aflac. However, after selling through the banks for over last several years, we've already cycled through the first major pass at selling products to a large portion of the bank customers, particularly our higher premium WAYS product.

Second, you'll recall, we expected that the consumers' interest in WAYS would decline in the fourth quarter as we lower the rate for the discount advance premium from 1% to 0.5% in October. We believe the impact from the lower DAP which was essentially a premium increase was much larger than we originally anticipated.

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