Annual Report for 2004 Aflac
Financial Highlights
Our Mission and Philosophy
Cover Story
Composition of Aflac's Market in Japan and the United States
Message from Management
Q & A with the CEO
Aflac Japan
Aflac U.S.
Selected Financial Data
Management's Discussion and Analysis
Consolidated Financial Statements
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
Investor Information
Board of Directors and Management
Aflac Duck
Message from Management
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2004 – Building Our Business

The cornerstone of our business has remained straightforward and consistent for nearly 50 years: helping consumers pay out-of-pocket expenses arising from illnesses and accidents. And today this mission remains our greatest priority.

Although our mission hasn't changed, we are continually looking for ways to better execute our business model and extend our record of growth. To that end, we refined our product line in 2004 to further enhance our connection with consumers' needs. We strengthened our sales management in the United States and continued to expand our distribution system in Japan. We also used technology to enhance customer satisfaction. We took these actions to ensure we are always ready to serve our customers. We know the speed of life varies among our customers, and when our customers need us, we adjust to the speed of their lives as we fulfill our promises.

Record Results in a Year of Challenges

Even the best of years are not without challenges, and 2004 was no exception. In Japan, our main challenge continued to be investing effectively and prudently in a low-interest-rate environment, and maintaining sales momentum. In the United States, our primary challenge was to improve new sales growth, which had slowed in 2003 following several years of incredible growth.

Although we produced more than $2 billion of new annualized premium sales in 2004, new sales fell short of our expectations in both markets. I believe our 2004 sales results are not representative of our capabilities, the need for our products, or the opportunities in Japan and the United States. We can do better, and I believe we will. At the same time, its important to remember that new sales are just one aspect of our financial performance. Earnings growth is also influenced by operating expenses, claims trends, investment activities, and the persistency of our business. And in those areas, 2004 was an outstanding year.

From the top to the bottom line, we met or exceeded all of our financial objectives in 2004. We also surpassed the primary financial objective we use internally to assess the growth of our business and measure the effectiveness of management. I believe that achieving our financial objectives points to the underlying strength of our operations. Net earnings rose at a rapid rate in 2004, reflecting a favorable comparison to 2003, a one-time benefit to earnings in the fourth quarter of 2004, and the stronger yen to the dollar for the year.

The strong and consistent growth of our financial results has been the primary driver of shareholder value. And we have been able to enhance per-share results by purchasing our shares on a regular basis. In fact, we have bought shares in every

Net Earnings Per Diluted Share chart

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