Exclusive: Aflac exec talks earnings, growth and future - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Exclusive: Aflac exec talks earnings, growth and future

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In any economy, the future of a community depends on the strength and viability of it's local businesses.  So during this downturn, how is the Fountain City's flagship company, Fortune 500 giant, Aflac holding out?

We sat down with President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Amos, II to discuss the company's earnings, it's purchase of Continental American Insurance Company as well as his outlook for the rest of the year.

"From a U.S. perspective, I think our overall earnings were strong. I think that from a U.S. sales standpoint, we'd like to see better performance long term, but overall Aflac continues to meet its expectations and do very well," says Amos.

As far as last week's acquisition, Amos says Continental targets its business mainly toward larger companies with 1,000 or more employees.  Plus, it specializes in offering voluntary group insurance products, which Aflac doesn't.

Amos says the acquisition therefore gives them an edge in a previously untapped market.

"Really it's a great synthesis of the two companies with individual and group coming together and giving Aflac the opportunity to grow significantly in a part of the business they've not grown in before."

Speaking of growth, we also discussed how the company continues to re-evaluate its investment strategy.

"I think the fact that we're going out and buying a new company really says a lot about what we're trying to do to grow this company for the future.  We're not just in a cost cutting mode.  Instead, we're trying to say for our shareholders we want to grow for you long term, and ultimately, one of the best signs, we're continuing to keep our corporate dividend.  We're paying back money which shows we're earning money and giving that back to our shareholders."

Aflac has also managed to continue growing its employee base in this downturn economy.

"We are still hiring. In fact, I think when I checked last week, we had 39 job openings around the company that were posted either internally or to the broader audience of Columbus and beyond, so yeah we're still hiring.  I'm doing interviews!"

During our conversation we also discussed how the company will navigate potential changes in the health care market.

With reform on the horizon, Amos says Aflac is well positioned to embrace whatever comes its way.

"Seventy-percent of Aflac is in Japan.  In Japan, there's one government plan for everybody.  We've done extremely well, obviously in that market, so we believe we can do well in a national healthcare market where everyone either has a government plan or has a series of plans provided by private healthcare," adds Amos.



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