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Section 1: 10-K (10-K)

Document
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D. C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark one)
[X]
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017
or
[ ]
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
 
For the transition period from____________________ to____________________
Commission File Number: 1-11917
392410598_ffglogoa02.jpg
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Iowa
 
42-1411715
(State of incorporation)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa
 
50266-5997
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
(515) 225-5400
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock, without par value
 
New York Stock Exchange
 
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes [ ] No [X]

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes [ ] No [X]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes [X] No [ ]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes [X] No [ ]

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. [X]
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one)
Large accelerated filer [ ]
Accelerated filer [X]
Non-accelerated filer [ ]
Smaller reporting company [ ]
Emerging growth company [ ]
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. [ ]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes [ ] No [X]

As of June 30, 2017, the aggregate market value of the registrant's Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $609,145,446 based on the closing sale price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer's classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date:
 Title of each class
 
Outstanding at February 27, 2018
Class A Common Stock, without par value
 
24,879,776
Class B Common Stock, without par value
 
11,413
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Document
 
Parts Into Which Incorporated
Portions of the definitive proxy statement for annual shareholders meeting to be held on May 16, 2018
 
Part III




























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FBL FINANCIAL GROUP, INC.
FORM 10-K FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






















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Table of Contents

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information

This Form 10-K includes statements relating to anticipated financial performance, business prospects, new products and similar matters. These statements and others, which include words such as "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "intend" and other similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. A variety of factors could cause our actual results and experiences to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in our forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions that we believe to be reasonable; however, no assurance can be given that the assumptions will prove to be correct. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties that may affect the operations, performance, development and results of our business include but are not limited to the following.

Changing interest rates, market volatility and general economic conditions affect the risks and the returns on both our products and our investment portfolio.
Difficult conditions in the financial markets and the economy may materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Adverse financial market conditions may significantly affect our liquidity, access to capital and cost of capital.
Our valuation of fixed maturity securities may include methodologies, estimations and assumptions that are subject to differing interpretations and could result in changes to investment valuations that may materially adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.
Our investment portfolio is subject to credit quality risks that may diminish the value of our invested assets and affect our profitability and reported book value per share.
We face competition from companies having greater financial resources, more advanced technology systems, broader arrays of products, higher ratings and stronger financial performance, which may impair our ability to retain existing customers, attract new customers and maintain our profitability and financial strength.
As a holding company, we depend on our subsidiaries for funds to meet our obligations, but our life insurance subsidiaries' ability to make distributions to us is limited by law, and could be affected by minimum risk-based capital requirements.
A significant ratings downgrade may have a material adverse effect on our business.
Cyber attacks, system security risks, data protection breaches and other technology failures could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Success of our business depends in part on effective information technology systems and on continuing to develop and implement improvements.
All segments of our business are highly regulated and these regulations or changes in them could affect our profitability.
A significant change in accounting guidance could have a material effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Actual experience that differs from our assumptions regarding future persistency, mortality, interest rates and benefit utilization used in pricing our products and calculating reserve amounts and deferred acquisition costs could have a material adverse impact on our financial results.
We may be required to accelerate the amortization of deferred acquisition costs, which could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.
Our earnings are influenced by our claims experience, which is difficult to estimate for future periods. If our future claims experience does not match our pricing assumptions or past results, our earnings could be materially adversely affected.
Our reinsurance program involves risks because we remain liable with respect to the liabilities ceded to reinsurers if the reinsurers fail to meet the obligations assumed by them.
Our business is highly dependent on our relationships with Farm Bureau organizations and could be adversely affected if those relationships became impaired.
Our relationship with Farm Bureau organizations could result in conflicts of interests.
Changes in federal tax laws may affect sales of our products and profitability.
Our ability to maintain competitive costs is dependent upon the level of new sales and persistency of existing business.
If we are unable to attract and retain agents, sales of our products and services may be reduced.
Attracting and retaining employees who are key to our business is critical to our growth and success.
We face risks relating to litigation, including the costs of such litigation, management distraction and the potential for damage awards, which may adversely impact our business.

See Part 1A, Risk Factors, for additional information.


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Table of Contents

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

General

FBL Financial Group, Inc. (we or the Company), majority owned by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), sells individual life insurance and annuity products principally under the consumer brand name Farm Bureau Financial Services. This brand identity is represented by the distribution channel of our subsidiary Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company (Farm Bureau Life). In addition, in the state of Colorado, we offer life and annuity products through Greenfields Life Insurance Company (Greenfields Life). As of December 31, 2017, these distribution channels consisted of 1,840 exclusive agents and agency managers, who sell our products in the Midwestern and Western sections of the United States.

The Company was incorporated in Iowa in October 1993. Its life insurance subsidiary, Farm Bureau Life, began operations in 1945 and Greenfields Life, a subsidiary of Farm Bureau Life, was launched in 2013. Several other subsidiaries support various functional areas and affiliates by providing investment advisory and marketing and distribution services. In addition, we manage all aspects of two Farm Bureau affiliated property-casualty insurance companies (Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Western Agricultural Insurance Company), which operate predominately in eight states in the Midwest and West.

FBL Financial Group, Inc. Business and Distribution Channels

FBL Financial Group, Inc.
COMPANY
Farm Bureau Life
Insurance Company
 
Greenfields Life
  Insurance Company
 
Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company and Western Agricultural
Insurance Company
RELATIONSHIP
Wholly-owned subsidiary
 
Subsidiary of
Farm Bureau Life
(Wholly-owned)
 
Managed by FBL Financial Group. Underwriting results do not impact FBL Financial Group's results
BRAND392410598_greenfieldslifeinsco2a03.jpg
392410598_fbfshs4a03.jpg
 
392410598_greenfieldslifeinsco2a03.jpg
 
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DISTRIBUTION
1,827 exclusive
Farm Bureau Financial Services agents and agency managers
 
13 exclusive agents and
agency managers
 
1,192 exclusive Farm Bureau Financial Services agents and agency managers (included under the
1,827 Farm Bureau Life agents)
PRODUCTS
A comprehensive line of life insurance, annuity and investment products
 
A comprehensive line of life insurance, annuity and investment products
 
A full line of personal and commercial property-casualty insurance products
TERRITORY
14 Midwestern and
 Western states
 
Colorado
 
Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah

Investor information, including electronic versions of periodic reports filed on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K, and proxy material, are available free of charge through the Investor Relations section of our website at www.fblfinancial.com. These documents are posted to our website immediately after they are filed. Also available on our website are many corporate governance documents including codes of ethics, board committee charters, corporate governance guidelines, director profiles and more. Product information may be found on our consumer websites, www.fbfs.com and www.greenfieldslife.com.


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Table of Contents

Business Strategy

Our core business strategies leverage areas where we have competitive advantages. Our exclusive agent distribution channel enables deep customer engagement and long-term customer relationships. We benefit from close ties to the unique needs of the agricultural market and affinity with the Farm Bureau brand, and our cross-sell culture results in industry leading cross-sell rates.

Our agents are multi-line agents who sell both property-casualty insurance products and life insurance and investment products. Having multi-line agents enhances our ability to develop a more comprehensive relationship with our customers and increases our ability to cross-sell our life insurance and annuity products to the pool of Farm Bureau property-casualty customers.

Our multi-line exclusive agent distribution channel is our foundation and we are defined by our service to the Farm Bureau niche marketplace. We capitalize on the Farm Bureau brand to grow our business and build upon our agricultural and rural market leadership. We focus on needs-based selling, and have a branded review program, called SuperCheck. This review program is a free yearly service that can help our customers identify gaps in their insurance coverage. We have a broad portfolio of life insurance and annuity products so that we have products available to satisfy the needs of our agents and customers.

Because of their multi-line nature, our agents focus on cross-selling life insurance products to customers who already own a property-casualty policy issued by our property-casualty company partners. For example, in the eight-state region where we manage the affiliated property-casualty insurance companies and related field force (Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah), 24% of Farm Bureau Financial Services property-casualty policyholders also own a Farm Bureau Life annuity or life product. We are considered among the best-in-industry in cross-sell rates. This percentage is and has historically been higher than the industry average for multi-line exclusive agents, which is 12% according to the most recent research by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA). We believe there is further opportunity for growth from cross-selling as 70% of Farm Bureau members in the eight-state region have a Farm Bureau Financial Services property-casualty insurance product, while only 21% of Farm Bureau members in the eight-state region have a life insurance product with us.

We provide our agents with marketing and sales materials, training and a high level of field management and sales support. Additionally, the field sales support team includes Life Sales Advisors and Regional Financial Consultants who work as a resource to help agents with life and annuity sales.

Our sales model is designed so that our agents act like entrepreneurial business owners with a retail financial services business. Under this model our agents have sales and service associates who assist them and provide a variety of support for insurance sales and clients.

This business strategy and sales model results in deep customer engagement and long-term customer relationships. Our agents are often viewed as the go-to person for all the insurance needs of their customers. As a result, while we underwrite the majority of the life and annuity products available for sale by our agents, we broker products sold by other carriers when we do not have the expertise, ratings or scale to compete efficiently in the marketplace. Examples of brokered products include long-term care insurance, health insurance and last survivor life policies. We earn fees from the sale of brokered products, a portion of which is passed on to the agents as commissions for the underlying sales. Agents who are Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs) offer fee-based financial planning. In 2018 we plan to launch a wealth management initiative that will allow us to offer an open architecture mutual fund platform. With this initiative, in 2018 we plan to expand the advisory services offered by our IARs and create a new role known as the Farm Bureau Wealth Management Advisor. These advisors will serve as wealth management resources to other Farm Bureau Financial Services agents. Once implemented, we expect this initiative will allow our agents to add more value, enhance the customer experience and further strengthen the agent/customer relationship. We expect that this will also add a diversified earnings stream to FBL Financial Group given the fee-based nature of wealth management. This is a long term strategy that we expect to invest in and build out over time.

Marketing and Distribution

Market Area

Sales through our distribution channels are currently conducted in 15 states, which we characterize as follows: multi-line states (we own the Farm Bureau affiliated life company and manage the Farm Bureau affiliated property-casualty companies) - Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah; and life partner states (we own the Farm

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Table of Contents

Bureau affiliated life company but non-owned/non-managed Farm Bureau affiliated property-casualty companies manage the exclusive multi-line agents) - Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Our target market is Farm Bureau members and "Middle America." We traditionally have been very strong in rural and small town markets and also have a growing presence in small and mid-metro markets. This target market represents a relatively financially conservative and stable customer base. The financial needs of our target market tend to focus on security, insurance needs and retirement savings.

Affiliation with Farm Bureau Organizations

Many of our customers are members of Farm Bureau organizations affiliated with the American Farm Bureau Federation (American Farm Bureau). The American Farm Bureau is the nation's largest grassroots farm and ranch organization and has a current membership of 6.0 million member families. In order to market insurance products in a given state using the "Farm Bureau" and "FB" designations, related trademarks and service marks, a company must have an agreement with the state's Farm Bureau organization. Generally, these marketing rights have only been granted to companies owned by or closely affiliated with Farm Bureau organizations. For each of the states in our Farm Bureau marketing territory, we have the right to use the "Farm Bureau" name and "FB" logo for marketing life insurance and investment products. There are approximately 720,000 member families in the states where we have rights to use the Farm Bureau name, brand and logo.

All of the state Farm Bureau organizations in our marketing area are associated with the American Farm Bureau. The primary goal of the American Farm Bureau is to be the unified national voice of agriculture, working through its grassroots organization to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. There are currently Farm Bureau organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, each with their own distinctive mission and goals. Within each state, Farm Bureau is organized at the county level. Farm Bureau programs may include policy development, government relations activities, leadership development and training, communications outreach and training, market education classes, commodity conferences and young farmer activities. Member services provided by Farm Bureau vary by state but often include programs such as risk management, alternative energy development, farm transition workshops, rural entrepreneurial seminars, scholarships and grants and guidance on enhancing profitability. Other benefits of membership include newspaper and magazine subscriptions, as well as savings in areas such as health care, travel, entertainment, farm equipment and automobile rebates. In addition, members have access to accidental death insurance, banking services, computerized farm accounting services, electronic information networks, health care insurance, property-casualty insurance and financial services.

The American Farm Bureau may terminate our right to use the "Farm Bureau" and "FB" designations in our states (i) in the event of a material breach of the trademark license that we do not cure within 60 days, (ii) immediately in the event of termination by the American Farm Bureau of the state Farm Bureau's membership in the American Farm Bureau or (iii) in the event of a material breach of the state Farm Bureau organization's membership agreement with the American Farm Bureau, including by reason of the failure of the state Farm Bureau to cause us to adhere to the American Farm Bureau's policies.

We have royalty agreements with each state Farm Bureau organization in our Farm Bureau marketing territory giving us the right to use the Farm Bureau and FB designations in that particular state. Each state Farm Bureau organization in our Farm Bureau territory could terminate our right to use the Farm Bureau designations in that particular state without cause at the conclusion of the royalty agreements. The royalties paid to a particular state Farm Bureau organization are based on the sale of our products in the respective state. For 2017, royalty expense totaled approximately $2.4 million.

Our relationship with Farm Bureau organizations provides a number of advantages. Farm Bureau organizations in our marketing territory tend to be well known and long established, have active memberships and provide a number of member benefits other than financial services. The strength of these organizations provides enhanced prestige and brand awareness for our products and increased access to Farm Bureau members, which results in a competitive advantage for us.

Our life insurance and investment products are available for sale to both members and non-members. Property-casualty products sold by the property-casualty insurance companies affiliated with Farm Bureau are available for sale to Farm Bureau members. Annual Farm Bureau memberships in our marketing territory average $61 and are available to individuals, families, partnerships and corporations.

We have service agreements with all of our property-casualty company partners in our marketing area, pursuant to which the property-casualty companies provide certain services, which include recruiting and training the shared agency force that sells both property-casualty products for that company and life products for us. The service agreements have expiration dates through December 31, 2024. In 2017, we paid $9.1 million for the services provided under these agreements.

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Our Advisory Committee, which consists of executives of the property-casualty insurance company partners in our marketing territory, assists us in our relationships with the property-casualty organizations and the Farm Bureau organization leaders in their respective states. The Advisory Committee meets on a regular basis to coordinate efforts and issues involving the agency force and other matters. The Advisory Committee is an important contributor to our success in marketing products through our distribution system.

Royalty and property-casualty agreements vary in term and expiration date as shown below.

Royalty and Property-Casualty Service Agreements by State
 
 
State
Property-Casualty Service Agreement Expiration Date
 
Royalty Agreement
Expiration Date
 
Percent of 2017
First Year
Premiums Collected
Iowa
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
26.6
%
Kansas
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
16.5

Oklahoma
December 31, 2022
 
December 31, 2022
 
8.2

Arizona
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
7.1

Wyoming
December 31, 2021
 
December 31, 2021
 
6.9

Nebraska
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
6.5

Utah
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
5.8

Minnesota
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
4.4

Montana
December 31, 2021
 
December 31, 2021
 
4.1

Idaho
December 31, 2021
 
December 31, 2021
 
3.9

Wisconsin
December 31, 2020
 
December 31, 2020
 
3.6

New Mexico
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
2.5

South Dakota
December 31, 2024
 
December 31, 2033
 
1.5

Colorado
December 31, 2021
 
Not Applicable
 
0.6

North Dakota
December 31, 2021
 
December 31, 2021
 
0.4

Other
Not Applicable
 
Not Applicable
 
1.4

 
 
 
 
 
100.0
%

Agency Force

Our agency force is one of our most important competitive advantages. Our priority is to ensure that we have best-in-class distribution systems and support, including agent recruiting and retention, training and leadership. Our agents are independent contractors and exclusive agents. We have a written contract with each member of our agency force. The contract covers a number of topics including privacy, compensation payments and reserving our ownership of customer lists.

In the multi-line states where we manage the Farm Bureau affiliated property-casualty companies, our agents are supervised by agency managers employed by Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company. There are 1,192 agents and managers in our multi-line states. These agents market a full range of our life insurance and annuity products. They also market products for the property-casualty companies that we manage. These agents are supported by 1,096 sales associates who assist them and provide a variety of support in the sales process. We are responsible for product and sales training for all lines of business in our multi-line states.

In our life partner states, our life insurance and annuity products are marketed by agents that we share with our property-casualty company partners in that state. There are 648 agents and managers in our life partner states. These agents market our life and annuity products and market the property-casualty products of that state's affiliated property-casualty company. We are responsible for training the agency force in life insurance products and sales methods in our life partner states.


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Sales activities of our agents focus on personal contact and on cross-selling life and annuity products to the existing property-casualty customers. The Farm Bureau name recognition and access to Farm Bureau membership provides opportunities for additional customers, cross-selling of additional insurance products and increased retention.

The focus of agency managers is to recruit, train, supervise and retain agents to achieve high production levels of profitable business. Agency manager compensation has historically been comprised of 1) overwrite commissions, which vary according to the productivity level and persistency of business of the agents managed and 2) a reward related to the attainment of sales goals. We have a compensation program comprised of salary and a performance-based component, which compensates for attainment of distribution and sales goals. This compensation structure aligns with the requirements of the agency manager role and offers a financial incentive that aligns with the strategic priorities of growing both agency scale and productivity.

We structure our agents' life products compensation system to encourage production and persistency. Agents receive commissions for new life insurance and annuity sales and service fees on premium payments in subsequent years. Production bonuses are paid based on the premium level of new life business written in the prior 12 months and the persistency of the business written by the agent. Persistency is a common measure used in life insurance, which measures the quality and the consistent payment of premiums, and is included in calculating the bonus to either increase or decrease (or even eliminate) the agent's production bonus. We are willing to pay added incentives for higher volumes of business only as long as the business is profitable. Production bonuses allow agents to increase their compensation significantly.

We have a variety of incentives and recognition programs to focus agents on production of quality life insurance business. Some recognition programs and incentives are jointly conducted with the property-casualty companies. These programs provide significant incentives for the most productive agents. Approximately 13% of our agents and agency managers qualify for our primary annual incentive trip. Agent recruiting, training, financing and compensation programs are designed to develop a productive agent for the long term.

In order to increase an agent's opportunity for success and increase retention, we offer a reserve agent program in which the agent completes a training program that can take up to four months and achieves certain production minimums on a part-time basis before being contracted as a full-time agent. This program gives us and the agent an opportunity to assess whether the candidate is expected to have a successful long-term career as our agent. The reserve agent program, along with distribution initiatives focused on new agent financing, centralized training, a quality recruiting/selection process and a strong field leadership team are designed to strengthen our distribution and improve agent retention. Our one-year agent retention was 85% for 2017 and our four-year agency force retention rate for 2017 was approximately 31%.

Business Segments

We analyze operations by reviewing financial information regarding our primary products that are aggregated into the Annuity and Life Insurance product segments. In addition, our Corporate and Other segment includes various support operations, corporate capital and other product lines that are not currently underwritten by the Company.

See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Segment Information" included in Item 7 for additional information regarding our financial results by operating segment. Included in the following discussion of our segments are details regarding premiums. We use premiums collected to measure the productivity of our exclusive agents. Premiums collected is not a measure used in financial statements prepared according to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements also includes a discussion of the most comparable GAAP financial measures and, as applicable, a reconciliation to such GAAP measures.

Annuity Segment

We sell a variety of traditional annuity products through our exclusive agency force. The Annuity segment primarily consists of fixed rate and indexed annuities and supplementary contracts (some of which involve life contingencies). Traditional annuities provide for tax-deferred savings and supplementary contracts provide for the systematic repayment of funds that accumulate interest.


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Premiums Collected - Annuity Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Individual fixed rate
 
 
 
 
 
First year
$
89,367

 
$
123,687

 
$
137,015

Renewal
78,301

 
89,584

 
100,594

Individual indexed
110,553

 
125,546

 
90,869

Group
6,399

 
10,575

 
9,414

Total Annuity
$
284,620

 
$
349,392

 
$
337,892


Annuity premiums collected decreased in 2017 due to a decline in sales of both fixed rate and indexed annuity products. Premiums collected increased in 2016 compared to 2015 due to increased sales of indexed annuity products, partially offset by decreased sales of fixed rate deferred annuity products. The decline in annuity premium collected in 2017 is consistent with industry experience and believed to be attributable to the impact of low market interest rates and the current regulatory environment. (See "Item 1A. Risk Factors.") The amount of traditional annuity premiums collected is also highly dependent upon the relationship between the current crediting rates on our products and the perceived security of our products compared to those of competing products. Average crediting rates on our individual deferred annuity contracts were 2.70% in 2017, 2.77% in 2016 and 2.81% in 2015. Traditional annuity premiums collected in our Farm Bureau market territory in 2017 were concentrated primarily in the states of Iowa (29%), Kansas (22%) and Oklahoma (7%).

Fixed Rate Annuities

We offer annuities that are marketed to individuals in anticipation of retirement. We offer traditional annuities in the form of flexible premium deferred annuities (FPDA) that allow policyholders to make contributions over a number of periods. For traditional annuity products, policyholder account balances are credited interest at rates that we determine. The annuitant may elect to take the proceeds of the annuity either in a single payment or in a series of payments for life, for a fixed number of years, for a fixed amount, or a combination of these options.

In addition to FPDAs, we also market single premium deferred annuities (SPDA) and single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) products, which feature a single premium paid when the contract is issued. Benefit payments and the surrender charge structure on SPDA contracts are similar to other fixed rate annuities. Benefit payments on SPIAs begin immediately after the issuance of the contract. Sales of the SPIA products are currently suspended due to the low interest rate environment.

Approximately 41% of our existing individual traditional annuity business, based on account balances, is held in qualified retirement plans. For deferred annuity products, in order to encourage persistency, a surrender charge is imposed against the policyholder's account balance for early termination of the annuity contract within a specified period after its effective date. The surrender charge structure varies by product, but typically starts at 6% to 10% and decreases 1% to 2% per year until it reaches 0%.
 
We invest the premiums we receive from fixed rate annuities. The assets reside in our general account. Acquisition costs are paid from the general account as they arise. The difference between the yield we earn on our investment portfolio and the interest we credit on our fixed rate annuities is known as the spread. The spread is a major driver of the profitability for all of our traditional annuity products.


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Withdrawal Rates

Withdrawal rates (excluding death benefits) for our individual deferred annuities were 4.2% for 2017, 4.0% for 2016 and 4.0% for 2015. We believe the competitive environment, due to the low level of market interest rates, has favorably impacted the level of withdrawal rates in these periods.

Interest Crediting Policy

We have a rate setting committee that meets monthly, or more frequently if required, to review and establish current period interest rates based upon existing and anticipated investment opportunities. This applies to new sales and to annuity products after an initial guaranteed period. We examine earnings on assets by portfolio. We then establish rates based on each product's target spread and competitive market conditions at the time. Most of our annuity contracts have guaranteed minimum crediting rates. These rates range from 1.00% to 5.50%, with a weighted average guaranteed crediting rate of 2.18% at December 31, 2017 and 2.24% at December 31, 2016. The weighted average interest rate guarantees on annuity contracts issued during 2017 was 1.00%.

Indexed Annuities

With an indexed annuity, the policyholder may choose from a traditional fixed rate strategy or an indexed strategy, with the underlying index being the S&P 500®. The product requires crediting of interest and a reset of the index annually. The computation of the index credit is based upon either a point-to-point calculation (i.e., the gain in the index from the beginning of the contract year to the next reset date) or a monthly averaging of the index during the period, subject to a cap. This product allows contract holders to re-allocate funds among the indexed accounts and a traditional fixed rate strategy at the end of each reset period. It automatically includes a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit rider. If activated by the policyholder, the rider provides a minimum amount that is available for withdrawal at specified withdrawal rates even if the accumulated value goes to zero. There is an additional annual charge for the activated rider.

In 2017 we introduced a flexible premium indexed annuity, which allows contract holders to make additional contributions into their indexed annuity contracts. Previously we had a single premium indexed annuity.

The indexed annuity contract value is equal to the premiums paid less partial withdrawals and rider charges taken from the contract plus interest credited to the fixed portion of the contract and index credits on the indexed portion of the contract. The minimum guaranteed contract values are equal to 87.5% of the premium collected, adjusted for withdrawals and rider charges, plus interest credited at an annual rate of 1.0%. If there were little or no indexed credits over the life of an indexed annuity, we would incur expenses to increase the account value to the minimum guaranteed contract values. 

Indexed annuity premiums are invested in our general account similar to fixed rate annuities. A portion of the investments are used to purchase one-year call options on the S&P 500 to fund the index credits on the accounts. New call options are purchased at each reset date. The cost of the call options is managed through the terms of the indexed annuities, which permit changes to caps, subject to minimum guarantees. Our spread is also influenced by the aggregate call option costs. Additionally, if we are not successful in matching the terms of the call options with the terms of the indexed annuities, the call option proceeds could vary from the indexed credits, thus increasing or reducing aggregate call option costs and causing spreads to widen or tighten.


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Interest Crediting Rates Compared to Guarantees - Annuity Segment
 
 
 
Liabilities at
 
December 31, 2017
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Fixed rate annuities:
 
Greater than or equal to 100 basis points over guarantee
$
19,066

50 basis points to 99 basis points over guarantee
557,355

1 basis point to 49 basis points over guarantee
342,349

At guaranteed rate
1,962,776

Indexed annuities
478,566

Non-discretionary rate setting products
610,003

Total interest sensitive product liabilities
$
3,970,115

Impact of unrealized gains and losses
(6,928
)
Interest sensitive reserves
$
3,963,187


In Force - Annuity Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Number of contracts
53,250

 
53,676

 
53,319

Interest sensitive reserves
$
3,963,187

 
$
3,827,295

 
$
3,550,364

Other insurance reserves
355,877

 
364,966

 
370,326


Life Insurance Segment

We sell a variety of traditional and universal life insurance products through our exclusive agency force. The Life Insurance segment consists of whole life, term life and universal life policies. These policies provide benefits upon the death of the insured and may also allow the customer to build cash value on a tax-deferred basis.


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Premiums Collected - Life Insurance Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Universal life:
 
 
 
 
 
First year
$
26,438

 
$
17,480

 
$
25,006

Renewal
74,070

 
70,157

 
67,676

Total
100,508

 
87,637

 
92,682

Participating whole life:
 
 
 
 
 
First year
11,918

 
16,177

 
14,533

Renewal
95,846

 
97,665

 
97,030

Total
107,764

 
113,842

 
111,563

Term life and other:
 
 
 
 
 
First year
10,282

 
9,944

 
11,710

Renewal
101,623

 
97,467

 
91,748

Total
111,905

 
107,411

 
103,458

Total Life Insurance
320,177

 
308,890

 
307,703

Reinsurance ceded
(27,833
)
 
(27,339
)
 
(26,700
)
Total Life Insurance, net of reinsurance
$
292,344

 
$
281,551

 
$
281,003


Life premiums collected were higher in 2017 compared to 2016 due to increased sales of universal life and term life policies. These increases were partially offset by a decline in sales of whole life. Life insurance premiums collected in our market territory in 2017 were concentrated primarily in the states of Iowa (23%), Kansas (15%) and Oklahoma (9%).

Traditional Life Insurance

We offer traditional participating whole life insurance products. Participating whole life insurance provides benefits for the life of the insured. It provides level premiums and a level death benefit and requires payments in excess of mortality costs in early years to offset increasing mortality costs in later years. Under the terms of these policies, policyholders have a right to participate in the overall performance of the participating life block to the extent determined by Farm Bureau Life, generally through annual dividends. Participating business accounted for 32% of life receipts from policyholders during 2017 and represented 11% of life insurance in force at December 31, 2017.

We also market non-participating term insurance policies that provide life insurance protection for a specified period. Term insurance is mortality based and generally has no cash value. However, we also offer a return of premium term product, which returns a percentage of premiums after a set number of years. For a portion of our business, we may change the premium scales at any time but may not increase rates above guaranteed levels.















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Universal Life Insurance

Our universal life policies provide permanent life insurance protection with a flexible or fixed premium structure, which allows the customer to pre-fund future insurance costs and accumulate savings on a tax-deferred basis. Premiums received, less policy assessments for administration expenses and mortality costs, are credited to the policyholder's account balance. Interest is credited to the cash value at rates that we periodically set.

Our indexed universal life insurance product provides life insurance protection with flexible premium payments and provides a death benefit with cash accumulation. The premium is paid into a holding account and once it is fully funded with a year's worth of policy charges, the excess value is transferred into an indexed segment that earns interest based on the percentage change in the S&P 500. A quarterly review is conducted to determine whether the holding account contains 12 months' worth of policy charges. We purchase one-year call options on the S&P 500 to fund the indexed segment credits. Interest on each of the indexed segments is credited annually on a point-to-point basis. After any annual earned interest is credited to an indexed segment, the money is transferred back to the holding account where it can become eligible for a new indexed segment. Positive interest credit is subject to a cap. If the ending index value is less than the initial index value, the interest credit will be zero.

Underwriting

We follow formal underwriting standards and procedures designed to properly assess and quantify life insurance risks before issuing policies to individuals. To implement these procedures, we employ an underwriting staff of 13 underwriters who have an average of 21 years of experience in the insurance industry.

Our underwriters review each application, which is prepared under the supervision of our agents, and supported by any required testing and records: blood, urine or oral fluid testing, paramedical/physicians' examinations, motor vehicle or pharmacological inspection reports and medical records. We generally begin employing blood, oral fluid or urine testing (including HIV antibody testing) whenever the applicant is at least 18 and at face amounts of at least $50,000. Additional underwriting requirements and inspection reports are required as either the face amount or the age of the proposed insured increases. Based on the results of these tests, we may adjust the mortality charge or decline coverage completely.

We also have an automated process for handling select term policies available only between ages 18 to 60 and for face amounts of $20,000 to $100,000. When using our automated underwriting guidelines we evaluate the medical history provided by the applicant and information received from three service providers. Based on the evaluation against our automated underwriting guidelines, we may adjust the mortality charge or decline coverage.

In 2017 we began an accelerated underwriting program on a pilot basis. This program is a non-medical underwriting approach that includes (1) an oral swab, which can detect nicotine use, (2) an electronic inspection report, which can identify a variety of risks and (3) a diagnostic review, which for a portion of applicants, will provide insight into previous medical lab results. This pilot program was available only for ages 18 to 59 and for face amounts of $100,000 to $250,000. We are currently evaluating this pilot program.

Generally, tobacco use by a life insurance applicant within the preceding one-year period results in a substantially higher mortality charge. In accordance with industry practice, material misrepresentation on a policy application can result in the cancellation of the policy upon the return of any premiums paid.

Interest Crediting and Participating Dividend Policy

The interest crediting policy for our life insurance products is the same as for our traditional annuity products in the Annuity segment. See "Interest Crediting Policy" under the Annuity Segment discussion. We pay dividends, credit interest and determine other nonguaranteed elements on the individual insurance policies depending on the type of product. Some elements, such as dividends, are generally declared for a year at a time. Interest rates and other nonguaranteed elements are determined based on experience as it emerges and with regard to competitive factors. Weighted average contractual credited rates on our universal life contracts were 3.76% in 2017, 3.79% in 2016 and 3.90% in 2015. Our universal life contracts have guaranteed minimum crediting rates that range from 1.00% to 4.50%, with a weighted average guaranteed crediting rate of 3.58% at December 31, 2017 and 3.63% at December 31, 2016.


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Interest Crediting Rates of Interest Sensitive Life Products Compared to Guarantees - Life Insurance Segment
 
 
 
Liabilities at
 
December 31, 2017
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Discretionary rate setting products with minimum guarantees:
 
Greater than or equal to 100 basis points over guarantee
$
42,316

50 basis points to 99 basis points over guarantee

At guaranteed rate
800,273

Non-discretionary rate setting products
113,328

Total interest sensitive product liabilities
$
955,917

Impact of unrealized gains and losses
(11,227
)
Interest sensitive reserves
$
944,690


Policyholder dividends are paid as declared on participating policies. Policyholder dividend scales are generally established annually and are based on the performance of assets supporting these policies, the mortality experience of the policies, expense levels and other factors. Our participating business does not have minimum guaranteed dividend rates.

In Force - Life Insurance Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Dollars in thousands, except face amounts in millions)
Number of policies - traditional life
365,382

 
364,698

 
365,029

Number of policies - universal life
66,382

 
64,044

 
62,661

Face amounts - traditional life
$
50,842

 
$
49,108

 
$
47,490

Face amounts - universal life
7,276

 
6,872

 
6,616

Traditional insurance reserves
1,951,565

 
1,887,539

 
1,818,245

Interest sensitive reserves
944,690

 
899,207

 
859,582

 
Corporate and Other Segment

The Corporate and Other segment includes (i) advisory services for the management of investments and other companies; (ii) marketing and distribution services for the sale of mutual funds and insurance products not issued by us; (iii) leasing services with affiliates; (iv) closed blocks of variable annuity, variable life and accident and health products; (v) interest expense and (vi) investments and related investment income not specifically allocated to our product segments.

We previously issued our own variable products, but in 2010 discontinued underwriting new sales. The existing in force business remains on our books and we continue to administer this business. Variable premiums collected from prior sales were $53.6 million in 2017, $58.3 million in 2016 and $63.8 million in 2015. For a period between 2010 and 2017, we sold variable products underwritten by another insurance company with variable product expertise. This was discontinued in 2017. We earned fees from the sale of these brokered products and we are not responsible for administering this business. A portion of these revenues was passed on to our agents as commissions for the underlying sales.

Reinsurance

We reinsure a portion of our life insurance exposure with unaffiliated insurance companies under traditional indemnity reinsurance agreements. New sales of life products are reinsured above prescribed limits and do not require the reinsurer's prior approval within certain guidelines. We do not use financial or surplus relief reinsurance. We enter into indemnity reinsurance arrangements to assist in diversifying our risks and to limit our maximum loss on risks that exceed our policy retention limits. Our current maximum retention limit on an insured life is $1.0 million.


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Reinsurance contracts do not fully discharge our obligation to pay claims on the reinsured business. As the ceding insurer, we remain responsible for policy claims to the extent the reinsurer fails to pay claims. No reinsurer of business ceded by us has failed to pay any material policy claims (either individually or in the aggregate) with respect to our ceded business. We continually evaluate the financial strength of our reinsurers and monitor concentrations of credit risk. If for any reason reinsurance coverages would need to be replaced, we believe that replacement coverages from financially responsible reinsurers would be available.

Primary Reinsurers as of December 31, 2017
Reinsurer
A.M. Best
Rating
 
Amount of
In Force Ceded
 
Reserve Credit
 
 
 
(Dollars in millions)
Swiss Re Life & Health America Inc.
A+
 
$
6,191.3

 
$
28.6

RGA Reinsurance Company
A+
 
4,241.7

 
30.2

SCOR Global Life USA Reinsurance Company
A+
 
2,262.7

 
11.3

All other (11 reinsurers)*
A- to A++
 
1,390.9

 
7.5

Total
 
 
$
14,086.6

 
$
77.6


*
All other include Scottish Re, which is not rated by A.M. Best. New business with Scottish Re was terminated in early 2007, following difficulties at that company and related ratings downgrades. Hannover Re has since acquired a number of Scottish Re blocks of business. As of December 31, 2017, $255.3 million of in force and $4.4 million of reserves were ceded to Scottish Re, of which Hannover Re owns 88% of the ceded in force and 98% of the ceded reserves. Hannover Re is currently rated A+ by A.M. Best.

In addition, we have an annual 100% quota share accidental death reinsurance agreement. Coverage includes all acts of terrorism including those of a nuclear, chemical or biological origin. Coverage is subject to an annual aggregate retention by us of $15.2 million.

Ratings and Competition

Financial strength ratings are an important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies. Insurer financial strength ratings represent the opinions of rating agencies regarding the ability of an insurance company to meet its financial obligations to policyholders and contract holders. Credit ratings represent the opinions of rating agencies regarding an issuer's ability to repay its indebtedness. Ratings are subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the rating agency, and therefore, no assurance can be given that a rating will be maintained.

As of the date of this filing, Farm Bureau Life's A.M. Best financial strength rating is "A" (Excellent) with a stable outlook and it long-term issuer credit rating is "a+" with a stable outlook. FBL Financial Group's A.M. Best long-term issuer credit rating is "bbb+" with a stable outlook.

A.M. Best has 16 financial strength ratings assigned to insurance companies, which currently range from A++ (Superior) to S (Suspended). A.M. Best's issuer credit ratings range from aaa (exceptional) to d (in default). A "+" or "-" may be appended to ratings from aa to ccc to indicate relative position within a category. A rating of bbb- or above is considered investment grade. As of the date of this filing, A.M. Best has the life/annuity industry on a negative rating outlook. This rating outlook considers a flattening yield curve, low Treasury rates, declining annuity sales, evolving regulatory issues, the potential for a correction in the equity and credit markets, and the need to invest significantly in insurtech solutions to modernize the business model. The negative outlook also reflects the long duration of lower rates and lower financial flexibility.

We operate in a highly competitive industry. Insurers compete based primarily upon price, service level and the financial strength of the company. The operating results of companies in the insurance industry historically have been subject to significant fluctuations due to competition, economic conditions, interest rates, investment performance, maintenance of insurance ratings from rating agencies and other factors. We believe our ability to compete with other insurance companies is dependent upon, among other things, our ability to attract and retain agents to market our insurance products, our ability to develop competitive and profitable products and our ability to maintain good or better ratings from rating agencies. In connection with the development and sale of our products, we encounter significant competition from other insurance

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companies and other financial institutions, such as banks and broker/dealers, many of which have financial resources substantially greater than ours.

Regulation

All segments of our business are highly regulated. See "Item 1A. Risk Factors."

Employees

At December 31, 2017, we had 1,692 full-time employees. A majority of our employees, including the executive officers, also provide services to Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company and other affiliates pursuant to management agreements. None of our employees are members of a collective bargaining unit.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Risk Factors

The performance of our company is subject to a variety of risks that you should review. Occurrence of these risks could materially affect our business, results of operations or financial condition, cause the trading price of our common stock to decline materially or cause our actual results to differ materially from those expected or those expressed in any forward looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company.

Changing interest rates, market volatility and general economic conditions affect the risks and the returns on both our products and our investment portfolio.

The fair value of our investments and our investment performance, including yields and realization of gains or losses, may vary depending on economic and market conditions. The shape of the yield curve and the level of interest rates can impact the profitability of our products. Interest rate risk is our primary market risk exposure. Substantial and sustained increases and decreases in market interest rates can materially affect the profitability of our products, the fair value of our investments and the reported value of stockholders' equity.
A key component of our financial results is the spread earned (the investment yield we earn less the crediting rates we pay to our policyholders). A narrowing of spreads would adversely affect operating results. Although we have the right to adjust interest crediting rates on a portion of our business in force, changes to crediting rates may not be sufficient to maintain targeted investment spreads in all economic and market environments. Our ability to lower crediting rates is subject to contractual minimum crediting rate guarantees. In addition, competition and other factors, including the potential for increases in surrenders and withdrawals, may limit our ability to adjust or maintain crediting rates at levels necessary to avoid the narrowing of spreads under certain market conditions.
Conversely, in periods of rapidly increasing interest rates, surrenders and withdrawals may increase as policyholders seek financial instruments with higher investment returns, commonly referred to as disintermediation. This may lead to net cash outflows and the resulting liquidity demands may require us to sell investments when the prices of those assets are adversely affected by the increase in interest rates, which may result in realized investment losses.
See "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Market Risks of Financial Instruments" for further discussion of our interest rate risk exposure and information regarding our asset-liability management program.
Difficult conditions in the financial markets and the economy may materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our results of operations are materially affected by conditions in the economy and financial markets. In the financial markets, liquidity, corporate profitability and moderate economic growth continue to support fundamental credit quality. However, strong demand for U.S. assets has constrained interest rates broadly, challenging growth in investment income and resulting in declining portfolio investment yields across the life insurance and annuity industry.
Our business generally benefits from moderate to strong economic expansion. Conversely, a lackluster economy characterized by higher unemployment, lower family income, lower consumer spending, muted corporate earnings growth and lower business

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investment could adversely impact the demand for our products in the future. In addition, a significant portion of our customer base operates in the agricultural industry; accordingly, fluctuations in commodity prices, federal subsidies and the value of farm land may impact our customers' demand for our insurance and investment products. We also may experience a higher incidence of claims, lapses or surrenders of policies following such fluctuations. We cannot predict with certainty whether or when such actions may occur, or what impact such actions could have on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.
Adverse financial market conditions may significantly affect our liquidity, access to capital and cost of capital.
Capital requirements depend on factors including the rate of sales growth of our products, aggregate reserve levels and the levels of risks in our insurance products and invested assets. In order to meet these capital requirements, we may need to increase or maintain Farm Bureau Life's statutory capital and surplus through additional financings, which could include debt, equity or other transactions.
Adverse capital market conditions may affect the availability and cost of additional financing, thereby ultimately impacting our profitability, liquidity and ability to support or grow our businesses. Without sufficient capital and liquidity, we could be forced to curtail certain of our operations, and our business could suffer. Actions we might take to access financing may in turn cause rating agencies to reevaluate our ratings.
We manage our capital level to be consistent with statutory and rating agency requirements. As of December 31, 2017, we estimate that Farm Bureau Life has sufficient capital to meet our rating objectives. However, this capital may not be sufficient if significant future losses are incurred and access to additional capital is limited.

Our valuation of fixed maturity securities may include methodologies, estimations and assumptions that are subject to differing interpretations and could result in changes to investment valuations that may materially adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.

During periods of market disruption, it may be difficult to value certain securities if trading becomes less frequent and/or market data becomes less observable. There may be certain asset classes that were in active markets with significant observable data that become illiquid due to the financial environment or market conditions.
Certain market sectors may become dislocated during and after periods of volatile and illiquid market conditions, increasing the difficulty in valuing certain instruments, as trading becomes less frequent and/or market data less observable. As a result, certain valuations may require greater estimation and judgment as well as more complex valuation methods. These values may not ultimately be realizable in a market transaction, and such values may change rapidly as market conditions change and valuation assumptions are modified.
The decision on whether to record an other-than-temporary impairment is determined in part by our assessment of the financial condition and prospects of a particular issuer, projections of future cash flows and recoverability of the particular security as well as an evaluation of our intent to sell and whether it is more likely than not that we would be required to sell prior to recovery. Our conclusions regarding the recoverability of a particular security's fair value may ultimately prove to be incorrect.
Our investment portfolio is subject to credit quality risks that may diminish the value of our invested assets and affect our profitability and reported book value per share.

During a major downturn in the economy, we are subject to the risk that issuers of fixed maturity securities, other debt securities and commercial mortgage borrowers, will default on principal and interest payments. As of December 31, 2017, we held $7.3 billion of fixed income securities, $0.3 billion of which represented below-investment grade holdings. We generally do not purchase below-investment grade securities. Typically, the below-investment grade holdings we own were acquired as investment grade holdings, but subsequently downgraded. An increase in defaults on our fixed maturity securities and commercial mortgage loans could harm our financial strength and reduce our profitability.

Although we seek to diversify the investment portfolio across multiple asset classes, industries and geographies, the concentration of our investment portfolio in any particular industry, group of related industries or geographic sector could have an adverse effect on our investment portfolios and, consequently, on our results of operations and financial position.


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We face competition from companies having greater financial resources, more advanced technology systems, broader arrays of products, higher ratings and stronger financial performance, which may impair our ability to retain existing customers, attract new customers and maintain our profitability and financial strength.
See "Item 1. Business - Ratings and Competition" for information regarding risks relating to competition.
As a holding company, we depend on our subsidiaries for funds to meet our obligations, but our life insurance subsidiaries' ability to make distributions to us is limited by law, and could be affected by minimum risk-based capital requirements.
As a holding company, we rely on dividends from subsidiaries to assist in meeting our obligations. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or to make other cash payments in the future may materially affect our ability to satisfy our parent company payment obligations, including debt service and dividends on our common stock.
The amount of dividends we have available to pay our common shareholders is limited to a certain extent by the amount of dividends our primary operating subsidiary, Farm Bureau Life, is able to pay to its parent, FBL Financial Group, Inc. Farm Bureau Life's ability to pay dividends to FBL Financial Group, Inc. is limited by law to earned profits (statutory unassigned surplus) as of the date the dividend is paid, as determined in accordance with accounting practices prescribed by insurance regulatory authorities of the State of Iowa. At December 31, 2017, Farm Bureau Life’s statutory unassigned surplus was $482.5 million. There are certain additional limits to the amount of dividends that may be paid within a year without approval of the Insurance Division, Department of Commerce of the State of Iowa (the Iowa Insurance Division) as discussed in Note 7 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8. During 2018, the maximum amount available for distribution to FBL Financial Group, Inc. from Farm Bureau Life without regulatory approval is $106.1 million.
 
In addition, Farm Bureau Life is subject to the risk-based capital (RBC) requirement of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) set forth in the Risk-Based Capital for Insurers Model Act (the Model Act). The main purpose of the Model Act is to provide insurance regulators a method of measuring the minimum amount of capital appropriate for an insurance company to support its overall business operations in consideration of its size and risk profile. U.S. insurers and reinsurers are required to report the results of their RBC calculations as part of the statutory annual statements filed with state insurance regulatory authorities. State laws specify regulatory actions if an insurer's risk-based capital ratio, a measure of solvency, falls below certain levels. The NAIC has a standard formula for annually assessing RBC based on various risk factors related to an insurance company's capital and surplus, including insurance, business, asset and interest rate risks. The insurance regulators impose regulatory actions when a company's total adjusted capital is equal to or lower than 200% of its authorized control level risk-based capital. The severity of regulatory actions increase until the point at which regulators assume control of an insurance company when its total adjusted capital is equal to or less than 70% of its authorized control level risk-based capital.

Failure to maintain adequate capital levels could lead to ratings downgrades and liquidity issues that could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

A significant ratings downgrade may have a material adverse effect on our business.
Ratings are an important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies. If our ratings were lowered, our ability to access reinsurance and market products to new customers could be harmed and existing policyholders might cancel their policies or withdraw the cash values of their policies. These events, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our financial results and liquidity. Our ratings reflect the agency's opinions as to our financial strength, operating performance and ability to meet obligations to Farm Bureau Life's policyholders. There is no assurance that a rating will remain in effect for any given period of time or that a rating will not be reduced, suspended or withdrawn entirely by the rating agency, if in the rating agency's judgment, circumstances so warrant. See "Item 1. Business - Ratings and Competition" for a summary of our current ratings.
Cyber attacks, system security risks, data protection breaches and other technology failures could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

A technology failure could occur and potentially disrupt our business, damage our reputation and adversely affect our profitability. Our information technology systems are subject to computer viruses or other malicious codes, unauthorized access and cyber attacks. The administrative and technical controls and other preventive actions we take to reduce the risk of cyber incidents and protect our information technology systems may be insufficient to prevent physical and electronic break-ins, cyber attacks or other security breaches to our computer systems. In addition, disruptions or breaches could occur as a result of

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natural disasters, man-made disasters, industrial accident, blackout, criminal activity, technological changes or events, terrorism or other unanticipated events beyond our control. Any compromise of the security of our technology systems could damage our reputation, expose us to losses and litigation and require us to incur significant technical, legal and other expenses. While the company has insurance intended to provide coverage from certain losses related to such incidents and a variety of preventative security measures such as risk management, information protection, disaster recovery and business continuity plans, we cannot predict the method or outcome of every possible cyber incident. Unanticipated problems with our systems or recovery plans could have a material adverse impact on our ability to conduct business, our results of operations and our financial position.
Success of our business depends in part on effective information technology systems and on continuing to develop and implement improvements.
Our business is dependent upon effective technology for interacting with employees, agents, policyholders, vendors, third parties and investors. It is crucial to our business to reach a large number of people and secure, store and provide sizable amounts of information. If we do not maintain adequate systems to reflect technological advancements, we could experience adverse consequences including inadequate pricing, underwriting and reserving decisions, regulatory problems, security breaches or litigation exposure. This could adversely affect our relationships and ability to do business with our clients and make it difficult to attract new customers.
Our business strategy involves providing customers with easy-to-use products and systems to meet their needs, and our information systems require an ongoing commitment of resources to maintain current standards. We are continuously enhancing and updating our systems to keep pace with changes in information processing technology, evolving industry and regulatory standards, threats and customer demands. A failure to provide customers with the information systems they need to conduct business with us could negatively impact relationships with our customers.
Our business is dependent, in part, upon third-party software and services for some of the above-listed technology needs. If one of our third-party vendors is unable to provide the service we require, there could be an adverse impact on our ability to meet our customer, agent, reporting, regulatory and other operational needs.
Our success is dependent on protecting, maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of existing systems, as well as continuing to buy or build information systems that support our business processes in a cost-effective manner. An inability to provide and maintain effective information technology systems could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.
All segments of our business are highly regulated and these regulations or changes in them could affect our profitability.
We are subject to statutes and regulations in various states in which our life insurance subsidiaries operate. Insurance regulation is different in each state, but is similar in that it is intended to provide safeguards for policyholders, agents, insurance companies and their holding companies. State insurance regulators oversee matters relating to the business of life insurance and annuities, such as sales practices, policy forms, claims practices, types and amounts of investments, reserve adequacy, insurer solvency, minimum amounts of capital and surplus, transactions with related parties, changes in control and payment of dividends. They continually examine existing laws and regulations, and may recommend or make changes as they see appropriate.

Our variable insurance products, investment advisors, broker/dealer and certain licensed agents who are also registered representatives and investment advisor representatives are subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), state securities regulators (in most states where they are authorized to do business) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

As noted above, through adoption by law in states where we do business, our life insurance subsidiaries are subject to the NAIC's RBC requirements. These guidelines are used by state insurance regulators as an early warning tool to identify deteriorating or weakly capitalized insurance companies for the purpose of initiating regulatory action. Our life insurance subsidiaries also may be required under solvency or guarantee laws of most states in which they do business, to pay assessments up to certain prescribed limits to fund policyholder losses for insolvent insurance companies.

Although the federal government does not directly regulate the business of insurance, our company is subject to the same federal laws and regulations as other corporations, including, but not limited to pension regulation, employment laws, financial services regulation, securities regulation and federal taxation. Each of these laws and regulations can significantly affect the insurance business. In addition, various forms of direct and indirect federal regulation of insurance have been proposed from time to time. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 established the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) within the Department of Treasury to

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collect information about the insurance industry, recommend prudential standards and represent the U.S. in dealings with foreign insurance regulators. We monitor the activities of the FIO, NAIC and the state insurance regulators.

As part of the Dodd-Frank Act, many key rules have yet to be finalized, some of which might have an impact on insurers. The regulatory framework at the state and federal level applicable to our insurance products is evolving and could affect the design of our products and our ability to sell certain products. Any changes in these laws and regulations could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our investment management subsidiary is an SEC-registered investment advisor. This entity manages the investment portfolios for certain non-affiliated organizations, as well as oversees financial advisory services provided by our agent force. Agents who are Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs) offer fee-based financial planning. In 2018 we plan to expand these services. Our registered separate accounts are themselves regulated under the Investment Company Act. In addition, our broker-dealer subsidiary is registered with the SEC and is subject to regulation under the Exchange Act and various state securities laws, and is a member of and subject to regulation by FINRA. Registered representatives sell mutual funds through our broker/dealer subsidiary and are regulated by FINRA and state securities regulators. The failure of our broker-dealer subsidiary and registered representatives to acquire and maintain required securities registrations and comply with SEC and FINRA regulations could materially impact our business reputation and subject the company to financial penalties.

On April 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued regulations (the Final Rule) addressing when companies and individuals providing investment advice with respect to certain employee benefit plans or individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are considered a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code. Under the Final Rule, the agents who sell fixed indexed annuities and the registered representatives who sell variable annuities or investment products for use in certain employee benefit plans or IRAs would be considered fiduciaries, and could subject themselves and one or more of our companies to additional disclosures, reporting, record keeping and other regulatory requirements. Amendments to the Final Rule went into effect on June 9, 2017, without some of the more onerous requirements of the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE). On November 29, 2017, a new rule became effective that delayed the effective date of implementation of the balance of the requirements of the Final Rule until July 1, 2019. Based on statements by the DOL, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners), there is speculation that the three groups will seek to adopt a new uniform best interest standard that would apply to sales of securities products and annuities, prior to the new July 1, 2019, effective date. Until more information is provided with respect to this new standard, we are unable to assess the effect this might have on our business. We do not anticipate making any additional changes in the way we currently handle business during calendar year 2018. We continue to analyze the effect of the Final Rule (as adopted to date) on our business.

A significant change in accounting guidance could have a material effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. From time to time, we are required to adopt new or revised accounting standards. It is possible that future accounting standards we are required to adopt could change the current accounting treatment that we apply to our consolidated financial statements and that such changes could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. The impact of accounting pronouncements that have been issued but not yet implemented is discussed in Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8. In addition, there is currently a project underway, by the accounting setting body, to evaluate the accounting for long-term insurance contracts. While it is uncertain what the final outcome of the project will be or when it will be completed, it is possible that changes to the accounting guidance could be significant. In addition, our insurance subsidiaries are subject to statutory accounting principles. Any changes in these accounting principles may materially impact our minimum required capital levels.

Actual experience that differs from our assumptions regarding future persistency, mortality, interest rates and benefit utilization used in pricing our products and calculating reserve amounts and deferred acquisition costs, could have a material adverse impact on our financial results.

The process of pricing products and calculating reserve amounts and deferred acquisition costs for an insurance organization involves the use of a number of assumptions including those related to persistency (how long a contract stays with the company), mortality (the relative incidence of death in a given time) and interest rates (the rates expected to be paid or received on financial instruments, including insurance or investment contracts). Actual results could differ significantly from those assumed. Actual experience, which differs from one or more of these assumptions, could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.

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We may be required to accelerate the amortization of deferred acquisition costs, which could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.
Deferred acquisition costs (DAC) include certain direct costs of successfully acquiring new insurance business, including commissions and other expenses related to the production of new business, to the extent recoverable from future policy revenues and gross profits. Bonus interest credited to contracts during the first policy year is also included. We amortize these costs over the expected lives of the contracts. We test the DAC recorded on our consolidated balance sheet to determine if these amounts are recoverable under current assumptions. In addition, we regularly review the estimates and assumptions underlying DAC for those products for which we amortize DAC in proportion to gross profits. Given changes in facts and circumstances, these tests and reviews could lead to reductions in DAC that could have an adverse effect on the results of our operations and our financial condition. Increases in actual or expected future withdrawals or surrenders or decreases in expected future investment returns, which are more likely in a severe economic recession, would result in an acceleration of DAC amortization. In addition, significant or sustained equity and bond market declines could result in an acceleration of DAC amortization related to our closed block of variable annuity and variable universal life contracts.

Our earnings are influenced by our claims experience, which is difficult to estimate for future periods. If our future claims experience does not match our pricing assumptions or past results, our earnings could be materially adversely affected.

Our earnings are significantly influenced by the claims paid under our insurance contracts and will vary from period to period depending upon the amount of claims incurred and any corresponding reinsurance offset. We are exposed to the risk of catastrophic mortality, such as a pandemic or other event that causes a large number of deaths. There is only limited predictability of claims experience within any given quarter or year. The liability that we have established for future insurance and annuity policy benefits is based on assumptions concerning a number of factors, including interest rates, expected claims, persistency and expenses. In the event our future experience does not match our pricing assumptions or our past results, our operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Our reinsurance program involves risks because we remain liable with respect to the liabilities ceded to reinsurers if the reinsurers fail to meet the obligations assumed by them.
We reinsure a portion of our life insurance exposure with unaffiliated insurance companies under traditional indemnity reinsurance agreements. New sales of life products are reinsured above prescribed limits and do not require the reinsurer's prior approval within certain guidelines. We enter into indemnity reinsurance arrangements to assist in diversifying our risks and to limit our maximum loss on risks that exceed our policy retention limits. Our current maximum retention limit on an insured life is $1.0 million.
Indemnity reinsurance does not fully discharge our obligation to pay claims on the reinsured business. As the ceding insurer, we remain responsible for policy claims to the extent the reinsurer fails to pay claims. Should any reinsurer fail to meet the obligations assumed under such reinsurance, we remain liable, and payment of these obligations could result in losses.
Our business is highly dependent on our relationships with Farm Bureau organizations and could be adversely affected if those relationships became impaired.
Farm Bureau Life's business relies significantly upon the maintenance of our right to use the Farm Bureau and FB trade names and related trademarks and service marks, which are controlled by the American Farm Bureau Federation and state Farm Bureau organizations. See discussion under "Item 1. Business - Marketing and Distribution - Affiliation with Farm Bureau Organizations" for information regarding these relationships and circumstances under which our access to the Farm Bureau membership base and use of the "Farm Bureau" and "FB" designations could be terminated. The loss of the right to use these designations in a key state or states could have a material adverse effect on operating results.
Our relationship with Farm Bureau organizations could result in conflicts of interests.
Our business and operations are interrelated to a degree with that of the American Farm Bureau Federation and its affiliates, and state Farm Bureau organizations and their affiliates. The Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Farm Bureau Life, share common directors with the American Farm Bureau Federation and certain state Farm Bureau organizations and their affiliates. Farm Bureau Life has written agreements with certain state Farm Bureau organizations, which cover the use of the Farm Bureau name and logo in their respective states. Farm Bureau Life also has written service agreements with affiliates of these state Farm Bureau organizations covering the management of our shared distribution in those states. Negotiation and approval of those agreements may give rise to conflicts of interest for those who serve on the boards of directors of both parties to such agreements. Conflicts could also arise with respect to other business dealings among the parties.

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The Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Farm Bureau Life, have comparable agreements with Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company. With respect to those agreements, in addition to individuals who serve as directors on the boards of both companies, the Company, Farm Bureau Life and Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company have common executive management, which may give rise to conflicts of interest for those executives.
Changes in federal tax laws may affect sales of our products and profitability.
The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act) was enacted on December 22, 2017. The Tax Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and contained many base-broadening provisions specific to the life insurance industry. The reduction in the corporate tax rate will generally result in increased net income for the year of enactment and future years. However, additional guidance is still needed to fully evaluate the extent to which several of the base-broadening provisions might offset the benefit of the lower rate.
Additionally, the Tax Act reduced individual tax rates and doubled the estate tax exemptions. The Tax Act does not change the taxation of annuity and life products, and they maintain the policyholder tax advantages not present in other savings instruments, such as certificates of deposit and taxable bonds. Federal income tax law allows for the deferral of income tax on the earnings during the accumulation period of certain annuity and life insurance products, as opposed to the current taxation of other savings instruments. In addition, life insurance death benefits are generally exempt from income tax.
The impact, if any, on the sales of our products from lower individual tax rates and a higher estate tax exemption is uncertain at this time.
Our ability to maintain competitive costs is dependent upon the level of new sales and persistency of existing business.
Maintaining competitive costs depends upon numerous factors, including the level of new sales, persistency of existing business and expense management. A decrease in sales or persistency without a corresponding reduction in expenses could affect our business and results of operations.
If we are unable to attract and retain agents, sales of our products and services may be reduced.
We compete to attract and retain exclusive agents for Farm Bureau Life. Intense competition exists for persons with demonstrated ability. We compete primarily on the basis of our reputation, products, compensation, support services, rating agency ratings and financial position. Sales and our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected if we are unsuccessful in attracting and retaining agents.
Attracting and retaining employees who are key to our business is critical to our growth and success.
The success of our business and the ability to reach our goals is dependent, to a large extent, on our ability to attract and retain key employees. Competition is intense in the job market for certain positions, such as actuaries and other insurance professionals with demonstrated ability, particularly with our headquarters being located in central Iowa, a hub of insurance company home offices, where we compete with other insurance and financial institutions.
Our employees are not subject to employment contracts. There can be no certainty regarding the length of time any of our named executive officers will remain with us. Our inability to retain our key employees, or attract and retain additional qualified employees, could materially adversely affect our sales, results of operations and financial condition.
We face risks relating to litigation, including the costs of such litigation, management distraction and the potential for damage awards, which may adversely impact our business.
We are occasionally involved in litigation, both as a defendant and as a plaintiff. Some lawsuits naming us as defendants may be, or purport to be, class actions. In addition, state regulators such as the Iowa Insurance Division, and federal regulators such as the SEC, FINRA, DOL and the Internal Revenue Service, are entitled to make inquiries and conduct examinations or investigations concerning our compliance with, among other things, insurance laws, securities laws, tax laws, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and laws governing the activities of broker-dealers. Moreover, we are subject to the risks of errors and misconduct by our exclusive agents, such as fraud, non-compliance with policies and recommending transactions that are not suitable for particular customers. While we are currently not a party to any lawsuit that we believe will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations, there can be no assurance that any litigation will not have such an effect, whether financially, through distraction of our management or otherwise.


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ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

Our principal operations are conducted from property leased from a subsidiary of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation under a 10 year operating lease that expires in 2021, with automatic five-year extensions unless terminated by one of the parties at least six months prior to the expiration date. Currently, the property leased primarily consists of approximately 141,000 square feet of a 400,000 square foot office building in West Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to our home office building, we lease additional space in West Des Moines, Iowa, to meet our business needs.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Information required for Item 3 is incorporated by reference from the discussion in Note 10 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

None.


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Table of Contents

PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Stock Market and Dividend Information

The Class A common stock of FBL Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FFG. The following table sets forth the cash dividends per common share and the high and low prices of FBL Financial Group Class A common stock as reported in the consolidated transaction reporting system for each quarter of 2017 and 2016.

Class A Common Stock Data (per share)
1st Qtr.
 
2nd Qtr.
 
3rd Qtr.
 
4th Qtr.
2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
High
$
79.60

 
$
69.75

 
$
76.60

 
$
79.80

Low
61.80

 
59.75

 
61.00

 
69.65

Dividends declared and paid
1.94

 
0.44

 
0.44

 
0.44

2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
High
$
62.03

 
$
63.85

 
$
67.31

 
$
82.60

Low
53.32

 
56.41

 
58.01

 
60.80

Dividends declared and paid
2.42

 
0.42

 
0.42

 
0.42


Special Dividends

In March 2017, the Board of Directors approved a special $1.50 per share cash dividend payable to Class A and Class B common shareholders totaling $37.4 million. In March 2016, the Board of Directors approved a special $2.00 per share cash dividend payable to Class A and Class B common shareholders totaling $49.7 million.

Other Information

There is no established market for purchasing our Class B common stock, although it is convertible upon demand into Class A common stock on a share for share basis. As of January 26, 2018, there were approximately 5,100 holders of Class A common stock and 21 holders of record of Class B common stock.

Class B common stockholders receive dividends at the same rate as that declared on Class A common stock. We intend to declare regular quarterly cash dividends in the future, subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors, which depends in part upon general business conditions, legal restrictions and other factors the Board of Directors deems relevant. It is anticipated that the quarterly dividend rate for 2018 will increase to $0.46 per share and a special dividend of $1.50 per common share will be paid in the first quarter of 2018.

For restrictions on dividends, see "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Liquidity and Capital Resources" included in Item 7.


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Comparison of Five-Year Total Return392410598_fblfinancialgroupincffg2017.jpg
 
Period ended
 
12/31/2012
 
12/31/2013
 
12/31/2014

 
12/31/2015
 
12/31/2016
 
12/31/2017
FBL Financial Group, Inc.
$
100.00

 
$
138.63

 
$
185.06

 
$
215.68

 
$
281.08

 
$
261.33

S&P 500 Index
100.00

 
132.39

 
150.51

 
152.59

 
170.84

 
208.14

S&P 500 Life & Health Insurance Index
100.00

 
163.48

 
166.66

 
156.14

 
194.96

 
226.98


Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

The performance graph shows a comparison of the cumulative total return over the past five years of our Class A common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Life and Health Insurance Index. The graph plots the changes in value of an initial $100 investment, assuming reinvestment of dividends.


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Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The following table sets forth issuer purchases of equity securities for the quarter ended December 31, 2017.
Period
 
 (a) Total Number of Shares (or Units) Purchased
 
(b) Average Price Paid per Share (or Unit)
 
(c) Total Number of Shares (or Units) Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
(d) Maximum Number (or Approximate Dollar Value) of Shares (or Units) that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
October 1, 2017 through October 31, 2017
 

 
$

 
 
$49,454,692
November 1, 2017 through November 30, 2017
 

 

 
 
$49,454,692
December 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017
 
3,511

 
70.02

 
3,511
 
$49,208,863
Total
 
3,511

 
$
70.02

 
 
 
 

Activity in this table represents Class A common shares repurchased by the Company in connection with the repurchase program announced on March 3, 2016, which will expire on March 31, 2018. It is anticipated that a new $50.0 million program will be authorized upon expiration of the current program, remaining open through March 31, 2022. The program authorizes us to make repurchases of Class A common stock in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions, with the timing and terms of the purchases to be determined by management based on market conditions. Completion of the program is dependent on market conditions and other factors. There is no guarantee as to the exact timing of any repurchases or the number of shares, if any, that we will repurchase. The share repurchase program may be modified or terminated at any time without prior notice.





 


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ITEM 6. SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

 
As of or for the year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
Consolidated Statement of Income Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product charges
$
112,936

 
$
111,928

 
$
114,584

 
$
109,770

 
$
111,575

Traditional life insurance premiums
195,330

 
196,914

 
190,956

 
183,300

 
180,944

Net investment income
415,199

 
404,170

 
391,149

 
382,082

 
370,651

Realized gains (losses) on investments
(3,387
)
 
(1,763
)
 
10,489

 
2,938

 
13,555

Total revenues
735,478

 
726,414

 
722,809

 
692,939

 
691,231

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (1)
194,355

 
107,219

 
113,473

 
109,869

 
108,393

Per common share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings (1)
7.76

 
4.29

 
4.55

 
4.42

 
4.25

Earnings - assuming dilution (1)
7.75

 
4.28

 
4.53

 
4.39

 
4.21

Cash dividends (2)
3.26

 
3.68

 
3.60

 
1.40

 
2.52

Weighted average common shares outstanding - assuming dilution
25,057,445

 
25,029,083

 
25,016,483

 
25,016,244

 
25,774,415

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total investments
$
8,620,243

 
$
8,174,660

 
$
7,722,753

 
$
7,680,970

 
$
7,040,002

Assets held in separate accounts
651,963

 
597,072

 
625,257

 
683,033

 
693,955

Total assets
10,066,613

 
9,566,134

 
9,132,004

 
9,064,408

 
8,461,323

Long-term debt
97,000

 
97,000

 
97,000

 
97,000

 
97,000

Total liabilities
8,677,763

 
8,377,876

 
7,997,530

 
7,811,526

 
7,416,532

Total stockholders' equity (3)
1,388,850

 
1,188,258

 
1,134,474

 
1,252,882

 
1,044,791

Book value per common share (3)
55.59

 
47.61

 
45.61

 
50.57

 
42.08


Notes to Selected Consolidated Financial Data
(1)
Net income and earnings per share in 2017 were positively impacted by the initial impact to deferred income taxes from the change in the federal statutory tax rate totaling $85.8 million ($3.43 and $3.42 basic and diluted earnings per share, respectively).
(2)
Dividends in 2017 include a special $1.50 per share cash dividend to Class A and B common shareholders. Dividends in 2016, 2015 and 2013 include a special $2.00 per share cash dividend to Class A and B common shareholders.
(3)
Amounts are impacted by accumulated other comprehensive income totaling $285.0 million in 2017, $149.6 million in 2016, $114.5 million in 2015, $258.4 million in 2014 and $119.1 million in 2013. These amounts are net of deferred income taxes and other adjustments for assumed changes in deferred acquisition costs, unearned revenue reserve, value of insurance in force acquired and policyholder liabilities.


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Table of Contents

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

When reading the following Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, please refer to our consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," of this report. Unless noted otherwise, all references to FBL Financial Group, Inc. (we or the Company) include all of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, including its insurance subsidiaries Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company (Farm Bureau Life) and Greenfields Life Insurance Company (Greenfields Life).

In this discussion and analysis, we explain our consolidated results of operations, financial condition and where appropriate, factors that management believes may affect future performance, including:

our revenues and expenses in the periods presented,
changes in revenues and expenses between periods,
sources of earnings and changes in stockholders' equity,
impact of these items on our overall financial condition and
expected sources and uses of cash.

We have organized our discussion and analysis as follows:

First, we discuss our business and drivers of profitability.
We then describe the business environment in which we operate including factors that affect operating results.
We highlight significant events that are important to understanding our results of operations and financial condition.
We then review the results of operations beginning with an overview of the total Company results, followed by a more detailed review of those results by operating segment.
Finally, we discuss critical accounting policies and recently issued accounting standards. The critical accounting policies are those that are most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations and require management's most difficult or complex judgment.

Overview and Profitability

We operate predominantly in the life insurance industry through our principal subsidiary, Farm Bureau Life. Farm Bureau Life markets individual life insurance policies and annuity contracts to Farm Bureau members and other individuals and businesses in the Midwestern and Western sections of the United States through an exclusive agency force. Several subsidiaries support various functional areas of Farm Bureau Life and other affiliates by providing investment advisory, marketing and distribution, and leasing services. In addition, we manage two Farm Bureau affiliated property-casualty companies.

We analyze operations by reviewing financial information regarding our primary products that are aggregated in Annuity and Life Insurance product segments. In addition, our Corporate and Other segment includes various support operations, corporate capital and other product lines that are not currently underwritten by the Company. We use net income determined using U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), in addition to non-GAAP operating income (a measure of earnings not recognized under GAAP), to measure our performance. Non-GAAP operating income is a common life insurance industry measure of performance. Non-GAAP operating income, for the periods presented, consists of net income adjusted to exclude the impact of realized gains and losses on investments and the change in net unrealized gains and losses on derivatives, which can fluctuate greatly from period to period. These fluctuations make it difficult to analyze core operating trends. In addition, for derivatives not designated as hedges, there is a mismatch between the valuation of the asset and liability when deriving net income (loss). Specifically, call options relating to our indexed business are one-year assets while the embedded derivatives in the indexed contracts represent the rights of the contract holder to receive index credits over the entire period the indexed annuities are expected to be in force. During 2017, we revised our non-GAAP operating income definition to remove from net income the initial impact to deferred income taxes from a change in tax laws. Such changes can create an unusual one-time remeasurement of deferred taxes not reflective of normal operations. The revision did not impact 2016 or 2015 non-GAAP operating earnings but did affect 2017, with the recent enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act). See Note 5 to our consolidated financial statements included in item 8 for additional information regarding the Tax Act. A view of our operating performance without the impact of these items enhances the analysis of our results, although it should not be viewed as a substitute for net income as a measure of financial performance. See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 for further information regarding how we define our segments and non-GAAP operating income.


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We also include within our analysis “premiums collected,” another measure that is not used in financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP, but is a common life insurance industry measure of agent productivity. See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 for further information regarding this measure and its relationship to GAAP revenues.

Our profitability is primarily a factor of:

The volume of our life insurance and annuity business in force, which is driven by the level of our sales and the persistency of the business written.
The amount of spread (excess of net investment income earned over interest credited) we earn on contract holders' general account balances.
Our ability to price our life insurance products to earn acceptable margins over the cost of providing benefits and the expenses of acquiring and administering the products. Competitive conditions, mortality experience, persistency, benefit utilization, investment results and our ability to maintain expenses in accordance with pricing assumptions drive our margins on the life products. On many products, we have the ability to mitigate adverse experience through adjustments to credited interest rates, policyholder dividends or cost of insurance charges.
Our ability to manage our investment portfolio to maximize investment returns while providing adequate liquidity for obligations to policyholders and minimizing the risk of defaults or impairments of invested assets.
Our ability to manage the level of our operating expenses.
Actual experience and changes in assumptions for expected surrender and withdrawal rates, mortality and spreads used in the amortization of deferred acquisition costs.

Our profitability is also impacted by changes in accounting guidance that impact the timing of profit recognition. See Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 for details on adopted and pending accounting pronouncements. In addition to guidance that has been adopted, the accounting standards setting bodies are currently working on other projects that could impact the timing of profit emergence including the accounting for insurance contracts. It is uncertain what the outcome of these or other projects will be or when they will be completed.

Impact of Recent Business Environment

Our business generally benefits from moderate to strong economic expansion. Conversely, a lackluster economy characterized by higher unemployment, lower family income, lower consumer spending, muted corporate earnings growth and lower business investment could adversely impact the demand for our products in the future. We also may experience a higher incidence of claims, lapses or surrenders of policies during such times. We cannot predict whether or when such actions may occur, or what impact, if any, such actions could have on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Economic and other environmental factors that may impact our business include, but are not limited to, the following:

Gross Domestic Product increased at an annual rate of 2.6% during 2017 based on recent estimates.
U.S. unemployment was estimated to be 4.1% at year-end 2017.
U.S. net farm income is estimated to have increased 2.7% and farm real estate value is estimated to have increased 3.3% during 2017 according to recent U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield decreased during 2017 from 2.45% at December 31, 2016 to 2.40% at December 31, 2017.
Continued uncertainty as to actions the United States Congress will take to address the national debt
The pending Department of Labor fiduciary rule that expands the regulation of sales of insurance products used in retirement plans. See Part 1, Item 1A for further discussion of this proposal.
The enactment of the Tax Act during December 2017 may alter consumer demand for our insurance products.

The low market interest rate environment continues to impact our investment yields as well as the interest we credit on our interest sensitive products. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fluctuated during 2017, reaching a high of 2.62% in March and ultimately ending 2017 at 2.40%, five basis points lower than year-end 2016. Credit spreads continued to tighten during 2017. Low crediting rates pose challenges to maintaining attractive annuity and universal life products, although our rates are comparable to other insurance companies, allowing us to maintain our competitive position within the market. We experienced an increase in the fair value of our fixed maturity security portfolio during 2017 primarily due to a decrease in market yields. See the segment discussion and “Financial Condition” section that follows for additional information regarding the impact of low market interest rates on our business.



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Results of Operations for the Three Years Ended December 31, 2017
 
Year ended December 31,
 
Change over prior year
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017
 
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 
 
 
 
Net income attributable to FBL Financial Group, Inc.
$
194,327

 
$
107,223

 
$
113,527

 
81
 %
 
(6
)%
Net income adjustments:
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Initial impact of the Tax Act
(85,797
)
 

 

 
N/A

 
N/A

Realized gains/losses on investments (1)
2,381

 
713

 
(8,498
)
 
234
 %
 
(108
)%
Change in net unrealized gains/losses on derivatives (1)
(2,549
)
 
(1,485
)
 
(141
)
 
72
 %
 
953
 %
Non-GAAP operating income (2)
$
108,362

 
$
106,451

 
$
104,888

 
2
 %
 
1
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annuity segment
$
68,821

 
$
66,025

 
$
69,950

 
4
 %
 
(6
)%
Life Insurance segment
53,856

 
55,977

 
53,146

 
(4
)%
 
5
 %
Corporate and Other segment
14,861

 
14,548

 
11,668

 
2
 %
 
25
 %
Total pre-tax non-GAAP operating income
137,538

 
136,550

 
134,764

 
1
 %
 
1
 %
Income taxes on non-GAAP operating income
(29,176
)
 
(30,099
)
 
(29,876
)
 
(3
)%
 
1
 %
Non-GAAP operating income (2)
$
108,362

 
$
106,451

 
$
104,888

 
2
 %
 
1
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings per common share - assuming dilution
$
7.75

 
$
4.28

 
$
4.53

 
81
 %
 
(6
)%
Non-GAAP operating income per common share - assuming dilution (2)
$
4.32

 
$
4.25

 
$
4.19

 
2
 %
 
1
 %
Effective tax rate on non-GAAP operating income
21
%
 
22
%
 
22
%
 
 
 
 
Average invested assets, at amortized cost (3)
$
8,057,865

 
$
7,722,411

 
$
7,384,110

 
4
 %
 
5
 %
Annualized yield on average invested assets (3)
5.30
%
 
5.32
%
 
5.44
%
 
 
 
 
Impact on non-GAAP operating income of unlocking deferred acquisition costs, value of insurance in force acquired, deferred sales inducements, unearned revenue reserve and interest sensitive product reserves, net of tax (2)
$
682

 
$
(3,260
)
 
$
(257
)
 
(121
)%
 
1,168
 %

(1)
Amounts are net of adjustments, as applicable, to amortization of unearned revenue reserves, deferred acquisition costs and value of insurance in force acquired, as well as changes in interest sensitive product reserves and income taxes attributable to these items.
(2)
See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.
(3)
Average invested assets and annualized yield including, beginning in 2017, investments held as securities and indebtedness of related parties; 2016 and 2015 amounts have been adjusted for comparability.

Our net income increased in 2017, compared to 2016, primarily due to the initial impact of the Tax Act. Net income and non-GAAP operating income were positively impacted by increased earnings from an increase in the volume of business in force and the impact of unlocking, partially offset by increases in death benefits.

Our net income decreased in 2016, compared to 2015, primarily due to lower realized investment gains related to higher impairment charges as well as fewer sales of investments in a gain position. Net income and non-GAAP operating income were positively impacted by increased earnings from an increase in the volume of business in force, partially offset by lower other investment related-income and the impact of unlocking. See the discussion that follows for details regarding operating income by segment.

We periodically revise key assumptions used in the calculation of the amortization of deferred acquisition costs, value of insurance in force acquired, deferred sales inducements, unearned revenue reserve for participating life insurance and interest sensitive products, as well as certain reserves on interest sensitive products, as applicable, through an “unlocking” process. These assumptions typically consist of withdrawal and lapse rates, earned spreads and mortality with revisions based on historical results and our best estimate of future experience. The impact of unlocking is recorded in the current period as an increase or decrease to amortization of the respective balances. While the unlocking process can take place at any time, as needs dictate, the process

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Table of Contents

typically takes place annually. We incurred additional amortization through unlocking as a result of our analysis of the impact of the low interest rate environment on projected investment and spread income in 2017 in the Life Insurance and Corporate and Other segments and in 2016 in all segments. See the discussion that follows for further details of the unlocking impact to our operating segments.

Annuity Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
Change over prior year
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017
 
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Non-GAAP operating revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product charges and other income
$
4,484

 
$
3,807

 
$
2,524

 
18
 %
 
51
 %
Net investment income
219,700

 
210,679

 
209,896

 
4
 %
 
 %
Total non-GAAP operating revenues
224,184

 
214,486

 
212,420

 
5
 %
 
1
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-GAAP operating benefits and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product benefits
122,224

 
113,543

 
110,356

 
8
 %
 
3
 %
Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commissions net of deferrals
2,162

 
2,214

 
1,874

 
(2
)%
 
18
 %
Amortization of deferred acquisition costs
8,506

 
11,185

 
9,658

 
(24
)%
 
16
 %
Amortization of value of insurance in force
678

 
886

 
946

 
(23
)%
 
(6
)%
Other underwriting expenses
21,793

 
20,633

 
19,636

 
6
 %
 
5
 %
Total underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses
33,139

 
34,918

 
32,114

 
(5
)%
 
9
 %
Total non-GAAP operating benefits and expenses
155,363

 
148,461

 
142,470

 
5
 %
 
4
 %
Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income (1)
$
68,821

 
$
66,025

 
$
69,950

 
4
 %
 
(6
)%
Other data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annuity premiums collected, direct (2)
$
284,620

 
$
349,392

 
$
337,892

 
(19
)%
 
3
 %
Policy liabilities and accruals, end of period
4,319,064

 
4,192,261

 
3,920,690

 
3
 %
 
7
 %
Average invested assets, at amortized cost
4,356,670

 
4,159,686

 
3,967,972

 
5
 %
 
5
 %
Other investment-related income included in net investment income (3)
7,075

 
8,426

 
9,015

 
(16
)%
 
(7
)%
Average individual annuity account value
3,033,636

 
2,879,458

 
2,696,987

 
5
 %
 
7
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earned spread on individual annuity products:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average yield on cash and invested assets
5.15
%
 
5.28
%
 
5.54
%
 
 
 
 
Weighted average interest crediting rate
2.59
%
 
2.69
%
 
2.78
%
 
 
 
 
Spread
2.56
%
 
2.59
%
 
2.76
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Individual annuity withdrawal rate
4.2
%
 
4.0
%
 
4.0
%
 
 
 
 

(1)
See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.
(2)
Premiums collected is a non-GAAP measure of sales production, see Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.
(3)
Includes prepayment fee income and adjustments to the amortization of premium or discounts from changes in our payment speed assumptions.

Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income for the Annuity segment increased in 2017, compared to 2016, primarily due to the impact from an increase in the volume of business in force and a benefit from unlocking, partially offset by lower other investment-related income and higher other underwriting expenses. Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income decreased in 2016, compared to 2015, primarily due to the impact of unlocking and increases in interest sensitive benefits.

The average aggregate account value for individual annuity contracts in force increased in 2017 and 2016, compared to the prior periods, due to continued sales and the crediting of interest. Continued growth in our business in force contributes to the increase in revenues, benefits and expenses. Premiums collected decreased in 2017 compared to 2016 due to decreased sales of our fixed rate deferred and indexed annuity products. The decrease in annuity premium collected in 2017 is consistent with industry experience and believed to be attributable to the impact of low market interest rates and the current regulatory

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environment. Premiums collected increased in 2016 compared to 2015 due to increased sales of our indexed annuity product, partially offset by decreased sales of fixed rate deferred annuity products. Individual fixed rate deferred annuity collected premiums were $167.7 million in 2017, $213.3 million in 2016 and $237.6 million in 2015. Indexed annuity collected premiums were $110.6 million in 2017, $125.5 million in 2016 and $90.9 million in 2015.

The Annuity segment also includes advances on our funding agreements with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB). Outstanding funding agreements totaled $415.1 million at December 31, 2017, $437.4 million at December 31, 2016 and $366.4 million at December 31, 2015.

Amortization of deferred acquisition costs and the value of insurance in force changed in 2017 and 2016, compared to prior periods, due to changes in actual and expected profits on the underlying business. Amortization, as well as reserves held on certain interest sensitive products, also changed due to the impact of unlocking. Unlocking generally reflects changes in our projected policy lapses and mortality assumptions. Amortization was also impacted in 2016 due to unlocking our projected investment and spread income assumptions. The impact of unlocking on pre-tax non-GAAP operating income was as follows:

Impact of Unlocking on Pre-tax Non-GAAP Operating Income
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Amortization of deferred sales inducements reported in interest sensitive product benefits
$
10

 
$
1

 
$
1

Amortization of deferred acquisition costs
1,743

 
(1,219
)
 
1,418

Amortization of value of insurance in force acquired

 
(194
)
 
(52
)
Changes in interest sensitive product reserves
(228
)
 

 
(722
)
Increase (decrease) to pre-tax non-GAAP operating income (1)
$
1,525

 
$
(1,412
)
 
$
645

(1)
See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.

The weighted average yield on cash and invested assets for individual annuities decreased in 2017 and 2016, compared to the prior periods, due to lower yields on new investment acquisitions from premium receipts and reinvestment of the proceeds from maturing investments, compared with the average existing portfolio yield and lower other investment-related income. See the "Financial Condition" section that follows for additional information regarding the yields obtained on investment acquisitions. Weighted average interest crediting rates on our individual annuity products decreased due to crediting rate actions taken in 2017, 2016 and 2015 in response to the declining portfolio yield and a change in the underlying product mix.


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Table of Contents

Life Insurance Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
Change over prior year
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017
 
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Non-GAAP operating revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product charges and other income
$
64,945

 
$
63,105

 
$
65,280

 
3
 %
 
(3
)%
Traditional life insurance premiums
195,330

 
196,914

 
190,956

 
(1
)%
 
3
 %
Net investment income
158,318

 
154,427

 
152,730

 
3
 %
 
1
 %
Total non-GAAP operating revenues
418,593

 
414,446

 
408,966

 
1
 %
 
1
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-GAAP operating benefits and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product benefits:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest credited
33,034

 
32,507

 
33,251

 
2
 %
 
(2
)%
Death benefits and other
58,598

 
51,550

 
44,066

 
14
 %
 
17
 %
Total interest sensitive product benefits
91,632

 
84,057

 
77,317

 
9
 %
 
9
 %
Traditional life insurance benefits:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Death benefits
86,901

 
85,630

 
87,686

 
1
 %
 
(2
)%
Surrender and other benefits
35,416

 
32,664

 
28,586

 
8
 %
 
14
 %
Increase in traditional life future policy benefits
50,708

 
59,406

 
59,872

 
(15
)%
 
(1
)%
Total traditional life insurance benefits
173,025

 
177,700

 
176,144

 
(3
)%
 
1
 %
Distributions to participating policyholders
10,140

 
10,574

 
11,828

 
(4
)%
 
(11
)%
Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission expense, net of deferrals
19,240

 
17,614

 
17,154

 
9
 %
 
3
 %
Amortization of deferred acquisition costs
14,368

 
11,038

 
14,364

 
30
 %
 
(23
)%
Amortization of value of insurance in force
1,500

 
1,508

 
1,481

 
(1
)%
 
2
 %
Other underwriting expenses
57,573

 
55,978

 
57,532

 
3
 %
 
(3
)%
Total underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses
92,681

 
86,138

 
90,531

 
8
 %
 
(5
)%
Total non-GAAP operating benefits and expenses
367,478

 
358,469

 
355,820

 
3
 %
 
1
 %
 
51,115

 
55,977

 
53,146

 
(9
)%
 
5
 %
Equity income, before tax
2,741

 

 

 
N/A

 
N/A

Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income (1)
$
53,856

 
$
55,977

 
$
53,146

 
(4
)%
 
5
 %
Other data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Life premiums collected, net of reinsurance (2)
$
292,344

 
$
281,551

 
$
281,003

 
4
%
 
 %
Policy liabilities and accruals, end of period
2,896,255

 
2,786,746

 
2,677,827

 
4
%
 
4
 %
Life insurance in force, end of period
58,117,575

 
55,980,731

 
54,106,365

 
4
%
 
3
 %
Average invested assets, at amortized cost (3)
2,925,719

 
2,802,743

 
2,686,230

 
4
%
 
4
 %
Other investment-related income included in net investment income (4)
3,270

 
1,552

 
4,664

 
111
%
 
(67
)%
Average interest sensitive life account value
830,886

 
811,390

 
791,352

 
2
%
 
3
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive life insurance spread:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average yield on cash and invested assets (3)
5.70
%
 
5.56
%
 
5.86
%
 
 
 
 
Weighted average interest crediting rate
3.87
%
 
3.82
%
 
3.90
%
 
 
 
 
Spread
1.83
%
 
1.74
%
 
1.96
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Life insurance lapse and surrender rates
4.7
%
 
5.4
%
 
5.6
%
 
 
 
 
Death benefits, net of reinsurance and reserves released
$
88,615

 
$
83,444

 
$
87,979

 
6
%
 
(5
)%

(1)
See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.
(2)
Premiums collected is a non-GAAP measure of sales production, see Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.
(3)
Average invested assets and weighted average yield including investments held as securities and indebtedness of related parties.

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Table of Contents

(4)
Includes prepayment fee income and adjustments to the amortization of premium or discounts from changes in our payment speed assumptions.

Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income for the Life Insurance segment decreased in 2017, compared to 2016, primarily due to increases in death benefits and the correction of an immaterial error, partially offset by the impact of increases in the volume of business in force and other investment-related income. Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income increased in 2016, compared to 2015, primarily due to the impact of an increase in the volume of business in force and a decrease in death benefits, partially offset by the impact of unlocking and lower other investment-related income.

Continued growth in our business in force contributes to the increase in revenues, benefits and expenses.

Amortization of deferred acquisition costs, deferred sales inducements, the value of insurance in force and unearned revenue reserves changed in 2017 and 2016, compared to prior periods, due to changes in actual and expected profits on the underlying business. Amortization, as well as reserves held on certain interest sensitive products, also changed due to the impact of unlocking. Unlocking generally reflects changes in our projected policy lapses, premium persistency and mortality assumptions. Amortization, as well as reserves held on certain interest sensitive products, was also impacted in 2017 and 2016 due to unlocking our projected investment and spread income. The impact of unlocking on pre-tax non-GAAP operating income was as follows:

Impact of Unlocking on Pre-tax Non-GAAP Operating Income
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Amortization of unearned revenue reserve reported in interest sensitive product charges and other income
$
(1,166
)
 
$
(2,130
)
 
$
252

Amortization of deferred sales inducements reported in interest sensitive product benefits
422

 
471

 
(64
)
Amortization of deferred sales inducements reported in traditional life insurance benefits
55

 
69

 
192

Amortization of deferred acquisition costs
3,873

 
7,179

 
2,439

Changes in interest sensitive product reserves
(5,574
)
 
(9,284
)
 
74

Increase (decrease) to pre-tax non-GAAP operating income (1)
$
(2,390
)
 
$
(3,695
)
 
$
2,893


(1)
See Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements.

Death benefits, net of reinsurance and reserves released, increased in 2017, compared to 2016, due to increases in the average size of claims and an increase in the number of claims reported. Death benefits, net of reinsurance and reserves released, decreased in 2016, compared to 2015, due to decreases in the number of claims reported. Other interest sensitive product benefits increased in 2017, compared to 2016, due to an increase in our universal life secondary guarantee reserves from growth in our business in force.

In 2017, we assigned a portion of our investments held in securities and indebtedness of related parties to the Life Insurance segment. These investments include equity interests in limited liability partnerships and corporations, accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Equity income, before tax, consists of our proportionate share of gains and losses attributable to our relative ownership interest in these investments. See the Equity Income discussion that follows for additional information regarding these investments.

Results for 2017 were unfavorably impacted by the correction of an immaterial error that decreased pre-tax operating earnings by $3.2 million. The error arose and accumulated over several years, with no prior year significantly impacted. As a result of the correction, interest sensitive product charges decreased by $3.2 million and interest credited, included in interest sensitive product benefits, increased $0.4 million.

The weighted average yield on cash and invested assets for interest sensitive life insurance products increased in 2017, compared to 2016, due to higher other investment-related income, partially offset by lower yields on new investment acquisitions from premium receipts and reinvestment of the proceeds from maturing investments, compared with the average existing portfolio yield. The weighted average yield on cash and invested assets decreased in 2016, compared to 2015, due to

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Table of Contents

lower other investment-related income and lower yields on new investment acquisitions from premium receipts and reinvestment of the proceeds from maturing investments, compared with the average existing portfolio. See the "Financial Condition" section that follows for additional information regarding the yields obtained on investment acquisitions. Weighted average interest crediting rates on our interest sensitive life insurance products increased in 2017, compared to the prior year, due to the immaterial error mentioned above. We incurred decreases in weighted average interest crediting rates in 2017, 2016 and 2015 due to crediting rate actions taken on various products in 2017, 2016 and 2015 in response to the declining portfolio yield.

Corporate and Other Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
Change over prior year
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017
 
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Non-GAAP operating revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product charges
$
43,517

 
$
44,716

 
$
46,519

 
(3
)%
 
(4
)%
Net investment income
34,918

 
32,514

 
31,214

 
7
 %
 
4
 %
Other income
15,905

 
15,473

 
15,899

 
3
 %
 
(3
)%
Total non-GAAP operating revenues
94,340

 
92,703

 
93,632

 
2
 %
 
(1
)%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-GAAP operating benefits and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest sensitive product benefits
39,060

 
37,296

 
32,346

 
5
 %
 
15
 %
Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commission expense, net of deferrals
2,954

 
2,907

 
3,232

 
2
 %
 
(10
)%
Amortization of deferred acquisition costs
488

 
6,078

 
11,316

 
(92
)%
 
(46
)%
Other underwriting expenses
6,471

 
6,005

 
6,584

 
8
 %
 
(9
)%
Total underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses
9,913

 
14,990

 
21,132

 
(34
)%
 
(29
)%
Interest expense
4,850

 
4,850

 
4,850

 
 %
 
 %
Other expenses
18,382

 
16,966

 
17,507

 
8
 %
 
(3
)%
Total non-GAAP operating benefits and expenses
72,205

 
74,102

 
75,835

 
(3
)%
 
(2
)%
 
22,135

 
18,601

 
17,797

 
19
 %
 
5
 %
Net loss (income) attributable to noncontrolling interest
(28
)
 
4

 
54

 
(800
)%
 
(93
)%
Equity loss, before tax
(7,246
)
 
(4,057
)
 
(6,183
)
 
79
 %
 
(34
)%
Pre-tax non-GAAP operating income (1)
$
14,861

 
$
14,548

 
$
11,668

 
2
 %
 
25
 %
Other data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average invested assets, at amortized cost (2)
$
775,476

 
$
782,156

 
$
756,663

 
(1
)%
 
3
 %
Other investment-related income included in net investment income (3)
1,368

 
517

 
471

 
165
 %
 
10
 %
Average interest sensitive life account value
362,897

<