American Equity Reports Second Quarter 2021 Results
August 05, 2021 at 16:15 PM EDT
American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (NYSE: AEL), a leading issuer of fixed index annuities (FIAs) today reported second quarter 2021 non-GAAP operating income1 available to common stockholders of $93.8 million, or $0.98 per diluted common share, compared to non-GAAP operating income1 available to common stockholders of $93.1 million, or $1.01 per diluted common share, for second quarter 2020.
The year-over-year increase in quarterly non-GAAP operating income1 available to common stockholders primarily reflected a decrease in the change in the liability for future policy benefits to be paid for lifetime income benefit riders (LIBR) offset by a decrease in investment spread and an increase in other operating costs and expenses.
Year-over-year, the change in liability for future policy benefits to be paid for LIBR decreased by $61 million. The positive difference between actual versus modeled expectations in the second quarter of 2021, primarily reflecting the level of equity index credits, reduced the increase in the liability for future policy benefits to be paid for LIBR by $29 million. By comparison, in the second quarter of 2020, actual versus modeled expectations increased the change in liability for future policy benefits to be paid for LIBR by $43 million.
Compared to the second quarter of 2020, amortization of deferred policy acquisition and sales inducement costs decreased $1 million. Actual versus modeled expectations in the second quarter of 2021, primarily reflecting the level of equity index credits, reduced amortization by $31 million. Amortization of deferred sales inducements and policy acquisition costs benefited by $28 million in the second quarter of 2020 from actual versus modeled expectations.
CONTINUED DEPLOYMENT INTO PRIVATE ASSETS AS PART OF RAMPING TO 30% ASSET ALLOCATION OVER TIME
American Equity’s investment spread was 1.95% for the second quarter of 2021 compared to 2.00% for the first quarter of 2021 and 2.39% for the second quarter of 2020. On a sequential basis, the average yield on invested assets decreased by 7 basis points while the cost of money fell by 2 basis points. Adjusted investment spread excluding non-trendable items3 declined to 1.81% in the second quarter of 2021 from 1.87% in the first quarter of 2021.
Average yield on invested assets was 3.51% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 3.58% in the first quarter of 2021. The decrease in investment yield was primarily driven by an increase in the average level of liquidity in the investment portfolios of the life insurance companies. The average adjusted yield on invested assets excluding non-trendable items3 was 3.41% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to 3.47% in the first quarter of 2021.
The aggregate cost of money for annuity liabilities of 1.56% in the second quarter of 2021 was down 2 basis points from 1.58% in the first quarter of 2021. The cost of money in the second quarter of 2021 was positively affected by 4 basis points of over-hedging of index-linked credits compared to 2 basis point of hedge gain in the first quarter of 2021.
Commenting on investment activities, Anant Bhalla, Chief Executive Officer, said: "For the first time in our company's history, in the second quarter, we started leveraging our asset management partnerships to invest in single-family rental homes and middle market loans consistent with ramping towards the AEL 2.0 asset allocation strategy. Year-to-date, we have purchased over $800 million of privately-sourced alpha-generating assets — solid initial steps towards our plan of adding between $1 billion to $2 billion in private assets this year growing to a pace of 5% or greater of the portfolio in each subsequent year to evolve into our new asset allocation of 30% or greater in private assets. In the second quarter, we purchased $1.7 billion of new assets at an expected return of approximately 4.15%, net of third-party investment expenses. This included $569 million in private assets added in the quarter."
Bhalla continued: "For any strategy migration, there are short-term impacts for longer-term gains. For American Equity, this has manifested itself in higher cash balances. The decrease in average yield on investment assets was primarily attributable to a 7-basis point reduction from interest foregone due to an increase in the average amount of cash held in the life insurance company portfolios in the quarter. Cash and equivalents averaged $10.0 billion in the second quarter of 2021 compared to $8.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021. At June 30, cash and equivalents in the life insurance company portfolios were $10 billion. While we expect to continue to ramp up private assets with strong positive net cash flows in 2022, we are also planning to deploy most of the cash balances above our target cash levels into traditional fixed income investments over the next six months."
FUNDS UNDER MANAGEMENT INCREASE 1.5% ON $1.2 BILLION OF SALES DRIVEN BY FIA
Policyholder funds under management at June 30, 2021 were $56.6 billion, an $817 million, or 1.5% increase from March 31, 2021. Second quarter gross sales were $1,180 million, representing an increase of 111% from the second quarter 2020 sales level. On a sequential basis, gross sales decreased 52% from the all-time record level set in the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the first quarter of 2021, gross sales of fixed index annuities at American Equity Life increased 36% while Eagle Life sales rose 24%.
Commenting on sales, Bhalla stated: "Our strategy of growing fixed index annuity sales is working in both the American Equity and Eagle Life channels. As previously shared in our first quarter earnings call, our plan to pivot from multi-year fixed rate annuities for the remainder of the year to our refreshed line-up of fixed index annuities is bearing results. Based on preliminary industry estimates, this is the third quarter in a row that our fixed index annuity market share has increased, reflecting the upgrades we have made to our Go-to-Market franchise over the past year."
AMERICAN EQUITY COMPLETES INITIAL 9.1 MILLION SHARE REPURCHASE
In July, American Equity completed the repurchase of 9.1 million shares that began in November of last year to fully offset the impact of dilution from shares issued to Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The total buyback included repurchase of 3 million shares in the second quarter for a total of $95.1 million. Remaining share repurchase authorization is $236 million.
CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
The forward-looking statements in this release, such as believe, evolve, expect, intend, may, plan, ramping towards, strategy, or similar words, as well as specific projections of future results, are based on assumptions and expectations that involve risks and uncertainties, including the "Risk Factors" the company describes in its U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The Company's future results could differ, and it has no obligation to correct or update any of these statements.
American Equity will hold a conference call to discuss second quarter 2021 earnings on Friday, August 6, at 10:00 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 5148835 (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 August 13, 2021 at 855-859-2056, passcode 5148835 (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.
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
In addition to net income (loss) available to common stockholders, we have consistently utilized non-GAAP operating income available to common stockholders and non-GAAP operating income available to common stockholders 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 available to common stockholders equals net income (loss) available to common stockholders 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 available to common stockholders 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 available to common stockholders together with net income (loss) available to common stockholders provides information that may enhance an investor’s understanding of our underlying results and profitability.
Steven D. Schwartz, Vice President-Investor Relations