BB&T Q1 Insurance Income Up 10%

NU Online News Service, April 20, 2:30 p.m. EDT

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bank BB&T Corp. says net income at its insurance brokerage services increased close to 10 percent for the first quarter of this year over the previous year as the markets show continued rate increases.

BB&T Insurance Services' first quarter 2012 net income rose $2 million to $23 million. However, income was down $2 million on a quarter-to-quarter basis, the bank says.

Income growth of $21 million was driven by “higher commissions on property and casualty insurance and employee benefits,” the bank says.

Employee benefit commission growth was primarily fueled by the acquisition of two firms acquired in the fourth quarter of 2011. They were Precept, a full-service employee benefits consulting and administrative solutions firm with offices in Irvine and San Ramon, Calif., and Liberty Benefit Insurance Services, a full-service employee benefits broker located in San Jose, Calif.

BB&T says higher noninterest income growth was offset by a $17 million increase in noninterest expense, primarily resulting from higher personnel costs.

Net income decrease over the prior quarter was due to related seasonality in the insurance business.

During a conference call with investment analysis yesterday, Kelly S. King, chairman and chief executive officer for BB&T says income on a same-store basis rose 6.5 percent thanks to increased premium rates translating into increased commissions. He says this is finally evidence that rates are “firming up” and “that’s very good news for us.”

Daryl Bible, BB&T’s chief financial officer, says the income increase was broad based, but offset by seasonal personal expense and provisions for insurance reserves. The bank operates a crop insurance program.

He says the acquisition of Crump Insurance, a wholesale brokerage, would add $300 million in annual revenue and double the firm’s wholesale division.

“We anticipate future, strong organic growth in our insurance businesses,” says Bible.

BB&T Corp. says net income for the bank as a whole rose 92 percent, or $206 million, to $431 million as the bank reported across the board improvements in its business. The company says bank markets are experiencing increased stabilization.

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