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Unum Group Reports First Quarter 2022 Results

Unum Group Reports First Quarter 2022 Results
PR Newswire
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., May 5, 2022

Net income of $253.5 million ($1.25 per diluted common share) for the first quarter of 2022; after-tax adjusted operating income was $277.3 million ($1.36 per…

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Unum Group Reports First Quarter 2022 Results

PR Newswire

  • Net income of $253.5 million ($1.25 per diluted common share) for the first quarter of 2022; after-tax adjusted operating income was $277.3 million ($1.36 per diluted common share).
  • Results reflect improving trend in COVID-related mortality impacts, strong operating performance, and favorable sales and premium trends in core business segments.
  • Strong balance sheet and liquidity with holding company liquidity of $1.3 billion and weighted average risk-based capital ratio of approximately 400 percent.
  • Full-year 2022 outlook increased; after-tax adjusted operating income per share now expected to grow 15 percent to 20 percent relative to full-year 2021, compared to the previous outlook of an increase of 4 percent to 7 percent.
  • Book value per common share of $52.62 grew 1.6 percent over the year-ago quarter; book value per common share excluding accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI) of $55.50 grew 7.0 percent over the year-ago quarter.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., May 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) today reported net income of $253.5 million ($1.25 per diluted common share) for the first quarter of 2022, compared to net income of $153.0 million ($0.75 per diluted common share) for the first quarter of 2021.

Included in net income for the first quarter of 2022 are the after-tax amortization of the cost of reinsurance of $13.2 million ($0.06  per diluted common share) and a net after-tax investment loss on the Company's investment portfolio of $10.6 million ($0.05 per diluted common share).  Included in net income for the first quarter of 2021 are the net after-tax loss from the second phase of the Closed Block individual disability reinsurance transaction of $56.7 million ($0.27 per diluted common share), the after-tax amortization of the cost of reinsurance of $15.8 million ($0.08 per diluted common share), and a net after-tax  investment gain on the Company's investment portfolio, excluding the net after-tax realized investment gain associated with the completion of the second phase of the Closed Block individual disability reinsurance transaction, of $13.5 million ($0.06 per diluted common share).  Excluding the items above, after-tax adjusted operating income was $277.3 million ($1.36 per diluted common share) in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $212.0 million ($1.04 per diluted common share) in the first quarter of 2021.

"The first quarter was an outstanding start to the year with strong performance across our business and lessening effects of COVID-19 impacting our customers" said Richard P. McKenney, president and chief executive officer. "The current business environment is favorable for our company, with higher interest rates and a strong labor market resulting in an improved earnings outlook."

RESULTS BY SEGMENT

We measure and analyze our segment performance on the basis of "adjusted operating income" or "adjusted operating loss", which differ from income before income tax as presented in our consolidated statements of income due to the exclusion of investment gains and losses, amortization of cost of reinsurance, and certain other items.  Investment gains or losses primarily

include realized investment gains or losses, expected investment credit losses, and gains or losses on derivatives.  These performance measures are in accordance with GAAP guidance for segment reporting, but they should not be viewed as a substitute for income before income tax or net income. 

Unum US Segment

Unum US reported adjusted operating income of $171.6 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 48.3 percent from $115.7 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income increased 1.3 percent to $1,544.9 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $1,525.8 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Net investment income decreased 4.8 percent to $171.0 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $179.7 million in the first quarter of 2021.

Within the Unum US operating segment, the group disability line of business reported a 2.3 percent decrease in adjusted operating income to $62.6 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $64.1 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income for the group disability line of business increased 1.9 percent to $685.5 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $672.9 million in the first quarter of 2021 due primarily to in-force block growth and higher sales across all product lines.  Net investment income decreased 7.3 percent to $90.3 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $97.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, driven by lower miscellaneous investment income and a decrease in the yield on invested assets.  The benefit ratio for the first quarter of 2022 was 73.8 percent, compared to 74.8 percent in the first quarter of 2021, due to lower claims incidence in the group short-term disability product line as well as favorable claim recoveries in the group long-term disability product line.  Group long-term disability sales were $40.6 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 30.5 percent from $31.1 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Group short-term disability sales were $27.8 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 15.4 percent from $24.1 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the group long-term disability product line was 90.4 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 90.7 percent for the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the group short-term disability product line was 89.2 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 86.1 percent for the first quarter of 2021.

The group life and accidental death and dismemberment line of business reported an adjusted operating loss of $9.4 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to an adjusted operating loss of $58.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income for this line of business increased slightly to $454.7 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $451.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, driven by higher sales, partially offset by lower persistency.  Net investment income was $24.9 million in the first quarter of 2022, which was consistent with the first quarter of 2021.  The benefit ratio in the first quarter of 2022 was 87.9 percent, compared to 98.8 percent in the first quarter of 2021, due to lower mortality in the group life product line, resulting primarily from lessening impacts of COVID-19 on our insured population.  Sales of group life and accidental death and dismemberment products increased 11.3 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to $33.6 million, compared to $30.2 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the group life product line was 89.0 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 90.1 percent for the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the accidental death and dismemberment product line was 88.2 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 89.7 percent for the first quarter of 2021.

The supplemental and voluntary line of business reported an increase of 7.7 percent in adjusted operating income to $118.4 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $109.9 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income for the supplemental and voluntary line of business increased slightly to $404.7 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $401.5 million in the first quarter of 2021, with growth in both the dental and vision and voluntary benefits product lines, partially offset by a decline in the individual disability product line.  Net investment income decreased 2.8 percent to $55.8 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $57.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, due to a decrease in the level of invested assets and lower miscellaneous investment income.  The benefit ratio for the voluntary benefits product line was 40.4 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 39.3 percent for the first quarter of 2021, due to higher policy reserves driven by favorable persistency, partially offset by lower mortality within the life product line, resulting primarily from lessening impacts of COVID-19 on our insured population.  The benefit ratio for the individual disability product line was 42.5 percent for the first quarter of 2022, which was generally consistent with the first quarter of 2021.  The benefit ratio for the dental and vision product line was 73.4 percent for the first quarter of 2022, which was generally consistent with the first quarter of 2021.  Relative to the first quarter of 2021, sales in the voluntary benefits product line declined 6.6 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to $94.3 million.  Sales in the individual disability product line increased 19.4 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to $20.3 million.  Sales in the dental and vision product line totaled $9.2 million for the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 15.0 percent compared to the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the voluntary benefits product line was 75.9 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 74.3 percent for the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the individual disability product line was 89.3 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 90.2 percent for the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the dental and vision product line was 84.0 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 87.4 percent for the first quarter of 2021. 

Unum International Segment

The Unum International segment reported adjusted operating income of $27.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 3.0 percent from $26.4 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income increased 7.7 percent to $187.8 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $174.4 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Net investment income was $34.5 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $26.0 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Sales increased 47.4 percent to $34.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $23.2 million in the first quarter of 2021.

The Unum UK line of business reported adjusted operating income, in local currency, of £19.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 3.2 percent from £18.6 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income was £122.7 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 11.0 percent from £110.5 million in the first quarter of 2021, due to growth in the in-force blocks resulting from the impact of rate increases in the group long-term disability product line, higher overall persistency, and higher sales.  Net investment income was £24.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 39.1 percent from £17.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, due to higher investment income from inflation index-linked bonds, partially offset by a lower yield on fixed-rate bonds.  The benefit ratio in the first quarter of 2022 was 80.7 percent, compared to 75.3 percent in the first quarter of 2021, due to higher inflation-linked experience in benefits, and timing of notifications and claims resolutions in the group long-term disability product line resulting from the ongoing effects of disruptions to health services that were caused by COVID-19.  Sales increased 55.2 percent to £22.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to £14.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the group long-term disability product line was 88.1 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 87.0 percent for the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the group life product line was 88.0 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 87.2 percent for the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the supplemental product line was 90.4 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 88.2 percent for the first quarter of 2021.

Colonial Life Segment

Colonial Life reported a 22.9 percent increase in adjusted operating income to $90.1 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $73.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Premium income increased slightly to $430.7 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $426.4 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Net investment income increased slightly to $38.1 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $37.7 million in the first quarter of 2021 due to an increase in the level of invested assets, partially offset by a decrease in the yield on invested assets.  The benefit ratio was 49.3 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 55.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, with favorable claims experience across all products, partially resulting from lower mortality in the life product line due to lessening impacts of COVID-19 on our insured population.

Sales increased 15.3 percent to $104.0 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $90.2 million in the first quarter of 2021.  Persistency in the Colonial Life segment was 78.7 percent for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 78.4 percent for the first quarter of 2021.

Closed Block Segment

The Closed Block segment reported adjusted operating income of $94.1 million in the first quarter of 2022, which excludes the amortization of cost of reinsurance related to the Closed Block individual disability reinsurance transaction of $16.7 million, compared to $97.0 million in the first quarter of 2021, which excludes the impacts from the second phase of the Closed Block individual disability reinsurance transaction of $139.3 million and the amortization of cost of reinsurance related to the reinsurance transaction of $20.0 million.  Premium income for this segment decreased 4.7 percent to $239.9 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $251.7 million in the first quarter of 2021, due to policy terminations and maturities, partially offset by rate increases in the long-term care product line.  Net investment income decreased 7.5 percent to $274.8 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $297.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, due to a decline in the yield on invested assets and lower miscellaneous investment income, partially offset by an increase in the level of invested assets. 

The interest adjusted loss ratio for the long-term care line of business was 70.2 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to an interest adjusted loss ratio of 77.7 percent in the first quarter of 2021, driven primarily by lower claim incidence.  The interest adjusted loss ratio for long-term care for the rolling twelve months ended March 31, 2022, excluding the reserve increase of $2.1 million related to the assumption updates in the third quarter of 2021, was 75.5 percent which is significantly below our long-term expected range.  The interest adjusted loss ratio for the individual disability line of business, excluding the reserve recognition impact from the reinsurance transaction in the first quarter of 2021, was 78.7 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 68.9 percent in the first quarter of 2021 due primarily to volatility as a result of the relatively small amount of business retained.

Corporate Segment   

The Corporate segment reported an adjusted operating loss of $40.4 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to an adjusted operating loss of $38.9 million in the first quarter of 2021, due primarily to increased employee-related costs and interest and debt expenses.

OTHER INFORMATION
Shares Outstanding

The Company's weighted average number of shares outstanding, assuming dilution, was 203.5 million for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 204.7 million for the first quarter of 2021.  Shares outstanding totaled 201.9 million at March 31, 2022.  During the first quarter of 2022, the Company executed a $50.0 million accelerated share repurchase agreement.

Capital Management

At March 31, 2022, the weighted average risk-based capital ratio for the Company's traditional U.S. insurance companies was approximately 400 percent, and the holding companies had available holding company liquidity of $1,269 million.

Book Value

Book value per common share as of March 31, 2022 was $52.62, compared to $51.77 at March 31, 2021.  Book value per common share excluding AOCI as of March 31, 2022 was $55.50, compared to $51.89 at March 31, 2021.

Outlook 

The Company expects positive operating trends in our core business during 2022, with solid premium growth and improving claim experience as impacts from COVID-19 lessen.  The Company also anticipates an increase in after-tax adjusted operating income per share of 15 percent to 20 percent relative to full-year 2021, compared to its previous outlook of an increase of 4 percent to 7 percent.  The increased expectation reflects the Company's strong first quarter performance and an improved outlook for the balance of 2022.

NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

We analyze our performance using non-GAAP financial measures.  A non-GAAP financial measure is a numerical measure of a company's performance, financial position, or cash flows that excludes or includes amounts that are not normally excluded or included in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP.  The non-GAAP financial measure of "after-tax adjusted operating income" differs from net income as presented in our consolidated operating results and income statements prepared in accordance with GAAP due to the exclusion of investment gains or losses and the amortization of the cost of reinsurance as well as certain other items as specified in the reconciliations in the Financial Highlights section below.  Investment gains or losses primarily include realized investment gains or losses, expected investment credit losses, and gains or losses on derivatives.  We believe after-tax adjusted operating income is a better performance measure and better indicator of the profitability and underlying trends in our business.

Investment gains or losses depend on market conditions and do not necessarily relate to decisions regarding the underlying business of our segments.  Our investment focus is on investment income to support our insurance liabilities as opposed to the generation of investment gains or losses.  Although we may experience investment gains or losses which will affect future earnings levels, a long-term focus is necessary to maintain profitability over the life of the business since our underlying business is long-term in nature, and we need to earn the interest rates assumed in calculating our liabilities.

We have exited a substantial portion of our Closed Block individual disability product line through the two phases of the reinsurance transaction that were executed in December 2020 and March 2021, respectively.  As a result, we exclude the amortization of the cost of reinsurance that was recognized upon the exit of the business related to the ceded reserves for the cohort of policies on claim status.  We believe that the exclusion of the amortization of the cost of reinsurance provides a better view of our results from our ongoing businesses.

We may at other times exclude certain other items from our discussion of financial ratios and metrics in order to enhance the understanding and comparability of our operational performance and the underlying fundamentals, but this exclusion is not an indication that similar items may not recur and does not replace net income or net loss as a measure of our overall profitability.

CONFERENCE CALL INFORMATION

Members of Unum Group senior management will host a conference call on Friday, May 6, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) to discuss the results of operations for the first quarter of 2022.  Topics may include forward-looking information, such as the Company's outlook on future results, trends in operations, and other material information.  

The dial-in number for the conference call is 1-844-200-6205 for U.S. (access code: 355867). For Canada, the dial-in number is 1-833-950-0062 (access code: 355867). For all other callers, the dial-in number is 1-929-526-1599 (access code: 355867). A live webcast of the call will also be available at www.investors.unum.com in a listen-only mode.  It is recommended that webcast viewers access the "Investors" section of the Company's website and opt-in to the webcast approximately 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the call.  A replay of the webcast will be available on the Company's website.  A replay of the call will also be available through Friday, May 13 by dialing 1-866-813-9403 (U.S.), 1-226-828-7578 (Canada), (0204) 525-0658 (U.K. local), or +44 (204) 525-0658 (all other locations) - access code 813710.

In conjunction with today's earnings announcement, the Company's Statistical Supplement for the first quarter of 2022 is available on the "Investors" section of the Company's website.

ABOUT UNUM GROUP

Unum Group (www.unum.com) an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for more than 170 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2021, Unum reported revenues of $12.0 billion and paid $8.2 billion in benefits. The Fortune 250 company is one of the 2022 World's Most Ethical Companies, recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute. 

For more information, connect with us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/unumbenefits), Twitter (www.twitter.com/unumnews) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/unum).

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT

Certain information in this news release constitutes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements are those not based on historical information, but rather relate to our outlook, future operations, strategies, financial results, or other developments and speak only as of the date made.  These forward-looking statements, including statements about anticipated growth in after-tax adjusted operating income per share, are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control.  The following factors, in addition to other factors mentioned from time to time, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements: (1) the impact of  COVID-19 on our business, financial position, results of operations, liquidity and capital resources, and overall business operations; (2) sustained periods of low interest rates; (3) fluctuation in insurance reserve liabilities and claim payments due to changes in claim incidence, recovery rates, mortality and morbidity rates, and policy benefit offsets due to, among other factors, the rate of unemployment and consumer confidence, the emergence of new diseases, epidemics, or pandemics, new trends and developments in medical treatments, the effectiveness of our claims operational processes, and changes in governmental programs; (4) unfavorable economic or business conditions, both domestic and foreign, that may result in decreases in sales, premiums, or persistency, as well as unfavorable claims activity; (5) changes in, or interpretations or enforcement of laws and regulations; (6) our ability to hire and retain qualified employees; (7) a cyber attack or other security breach could result in the unauthorized acquisition of confidential data; (8) the failure of our business recovery and incident management processes to resume our business operations in the event of a natural catastrophe, cyber attack, or other event; (9) investment results, including, but not limited to, changes in interest rates, defaults, changes in credit spreads, impairments, and the lack of appropriate investments in the market which can be acquired to match our liabilities; (10) increased competition from other insurers and financial services companies due to industry consolidation, new entrants to our markets, or other factors; (11) changes in our financial strength and credit ratings; (12) our ability to develop digital capabilities or execute on our technology systems upgrades or replacements; (13) actual experience in the broad array of our products that deviates from our assumptions used in pricing, underwriting, and reserving; (14) availability of reinsurance in the market and the ability of our reinsurers to meet their obligations to us; (15) ability to generate sufficient internal liquidity and/or obtain external financing; (16) damage to our reputation due to, among other factors, regulatory investigations, legal proceedings, external events, and/or inadequate or failed internal controls and procedures; (17) recoverability and/or realization of the carrying value of our intangible assets, long-lived assets, and deferred tax assets; (18) effectiveness of our risk management program; (19) contingencies and the level and results of litigation; (20) ineffectiveness of our derivatives hedging programs due to changes in the economic environment, counterparty risk, ratings downgrades, capital market volatility, changes in interest rates, and/or regulation; (21) fluctuation in foreign currency exchange rates; and (22) our ability to meet environment, social, and governance standards and expectations of investors, regulators, customers, and other stakeholders

For further discussion of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see Part 1, Item 1A "Risk Factors" of our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021.  The forward-looking statements in this news release are being made as of the date of this news release, and we expressly disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement contained herein, even if made available on our website or otherwise.

 

Unum Group

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

(Unaudited)



($ in millions, except share data)





Three Months Ended March 31


2022


2021

Revenue




Premium Income

$             2,403.3


$             2,378.3

Net Investment Income

527.2


548.7

Net Investment Gain (Loss)

(13.8)


84.6

Other Income

65.8


60.4

Total Revenue

2,982.5


3,072.0





Benefits and Expenses




Benefits and Change in Reserves for Future Benefits

1,843.9


2,051.2

Commissions

273.2


259.9

Interest and Debt Expense

46.9


44.4

Deferral of Acquisition Costs

(141.8)


(130.6)

Amortization of Deferred Acquisition Costs

156.1


166.4

Other Expenses

492.1


481.9

Total Benefits and Expenses

2,670.4


2,873.2





Income Before Income Tax

312.1


198.8

Income Tax Expense

58.6


45.8





Net Income

$                 253.5


$                 153.0





PER SHARE INFORMATION








Net Income Per Common Share




     Basic

$                   1.25


$                   0.75

     Assuming Dilution

$                   1.25


$                   0.75





Weighted Average Common Shares - Basic (000s)

202,628.8


204,133.3

Weighted Average Common Shares - Assuming Dilution (000s)

203,504.3


204,737.3

Outstanding Shares - (000s)

201,866.7


204,188.6

 

 

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures



Three Months Ended March 31


2022


2021


(in millions)


per share *


(in millions)


per share *

Net Income

$            253.5


$              1.25


$            153.0


$              0.75

Excluding:








     Net Investment Gains and Losses








          Net Realized Investment Gain Related to Reinsurance
          Transaction (net of tax expense of $—; $14.2)



53.4


0.26

          Net Investment Gain (Loss), Other (net of tax
          expense (benefit) of $(3.2); $3.5)

(10.6)


(0.05)


13.5


0.06

     Total Net Investment Gain (Loss)

(10.6)


(0.05)


66.9


0.32

     Items Related to Closed Block Individual Disability
     Reinsurance Transaction








          Change in Benefit Reserves and Transaction Costs
          (net of tax benefit of $—; $29.2)



(110.1)


(0.53)

          Amortization of the Cost of Reinsurance (net of tax
          benefit of $3.5; $4.2)

(13.2)


(0.06)


(15.8)


(0.08)

     Total Items Related to Closed Block Individual
     Disability Reinsurance Transaction

(13.2)


(0.06)


(125.9)


(0.61)

After-tax Adjusted Operating Income

$            277.3


$              1.36


$            212.0


$              1.04









* Assuming Dilution








 

 


March 31


2022


2021


(in millions)


per share


(in millions)


per share

Total Stockholders' Equity (Book Value)

$        10,623.1


$              52.62


$        10,570.1


$              51.77

Excluding:








     Net Unrealized Gain on Securities

66.1


0.33


678.2


3.32

     Net Gain on Hedges

51.4


0.25


77.1


0.38

Subtotal

10,505.6


52.04


9,814.8


48.07

Excluding:








     Foreign Currency Translation Adjustment

(305.8)


(1.52)


(254.0)


(1.24)

Subtotal

10,811.4


53.56


10,068.8


49.31

Excluding:








     Unrecognized Pension and Postretirement Benefit
     Costs

(391.8)


(1.94)


(526.2)


(2.58)

Total Stockholders' Equity, Excluding Accumulated
Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)

$        11,203.2


$              55.50


$        10,595.0


$              51.89

 

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/unum-group-reports-first-quarter-2022-results-301541231.html

SOURCE Unum Group

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Government

US: The New Real Hoaxes?

US: The New Real Hoaxes?

Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute,

The investigative reporting by these two organizations…

Published

on

US: The New Real Hoaxes?

Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute,

  • The investigative reporting by these two organizations [the New York Times and the Washington Post] was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

  • For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

  • The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

  • Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

  • Also not allowed during the January 6th hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

  • One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote: "I was in the room."

  • The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power.

  • Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system?

Recently former US President Donald Trump challenged the award of Pulitzer Prizes to the New York Times and the Washington Post for their investigative reporting on alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The investigative reporting by these two organizations was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

You have to hand it to them for this so-called "great reporting": the Pulitzer Committee sure did.

We now know, of course, the grand conspiracy pushed by these papers is nothing more than thoroughly debunked disinformation. For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

The intractability of the Pulitzer Committee is only the latest example of why so many Americans have been losing trust in their institutions, both public and private. Rather than admitting that these awards were a mistake, and that much of the reporting was not investigative reporting, but merely a recitation of fabrications put forward by political hacks for campaign purposes, the Pulitzer Committee announced that it will stand by its initial decision, facts be dammed.

The Russia hoax is emblematic of the model built by the anti-Trump, anti-America First, anti-populist movement that the American people have experienced for the last six years. It embodies many of the characteristics that have frustrated Americans. It is a combination of influential forces -- media, social media, political players, and government -- that put forward information detrimental to one -- oddly always the same -- political viewpoint. In this instance, populists -- believers in the rights, wisdom or virtues of the common people, according to Merriam Webster -- who might embrace the concept of personal freedom espoused by the Constitution, a free market economy, economic growth, energy independence, school choice, equal application of the law and decentralized governance.

Much of the material used to foster the Russia hoax originated from the discredited "Steele Dossier," pedaled by former British spy Christopher Steele, funded by Clinton-linked opposition research firm FusionGPS, and pushed by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman. This discredited information was shared widely -- and often, it seems, with prior knowledge of its falseness -- through the mainstream media and social media when it was leaked to the press early in 2017 just before Donald Trump was sworn in as president. The material contributed to the launching of the Mueller "Russiagate" investigation, which cast a shadow over the first two years of the Trump administration. Government officials were involved as CIA Director John BrennanFBI Director James Comey and DNI James Clapper all lent their credibility to the supposed authenticity or seriousness of the Russian materials. All of this did tremendous damage to the effectiveness of the Trump administration, as it sought to govern, by putting it under a cloud of suspicion and illegitimacy from the outset.

This, however, was not the only example. Consider the disrupted kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her key swing state for presidential elections. "The FBI got walloped [in April]", according to the New York Post, " when a Michigan jury concluded that the bureau had entrapped two men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Those men and others were arrested a few weeks before the 2020 election in a high-profile, FBI-fabricated case...."

The media, however, for the most part portrayed the kidnapping plot as the work of domestic terrorists, with the implied inference being they were right-wing Trump supporters. Whitmer went so far as to accuse Trump of being complicit in the plan, even though it emerged that these alleged plotters had also supposedly wanted to hang Trump. The FBI, it was later shown, had been heavily involved in the plot through informants and individuals it had placed in the group. By the time the case came to trial after the election, Biden had won Michigan's electoral votes and the damage had been done.

Consider, also, the COVID pandemic. The "facts" at the time were supposedly that it came from "nature" and that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government had supposedly known nothing about its human-to-human transmissibility, even though it had "made whistleblowers disappear and refused to hand over virus samples so the West could make a vaccine."

The CCP, early on, was portrayed as a constructive player in controlling the spread of the virus, even as it was recalling and hoarding all of its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This fiction was reinforced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, and other prominent participants – apart from Taiwan, which futilely tried to warn the WHO of the coronavirus's fierce human-to-human transmissibility, only to be dismissed.

The mainstream media and social media also quickly began parroting the "official" story line. Social media companies suspended the accounts of whoever might have had a different opinion and some were even canceled.

For the 10 months leading up to the November 2020 election, the narrative was set: COVID-19 was a naturally occurring virus and the CCP was in the clear. Imagine how different the 2020 presidential election might have been if the debate was how the world would have held the CCP accountable for the leak and coverup of COVID from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Now in 2022, a lab-leak is considered the most "likely cause" of the coronavirus, but again the political damage, and a gigantic amount of non-political damage, has already been done. The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

Discussion of Hunter Biden's laptop with its reportedly incriminating information about the Biden family business dealings with the CCPRussia, and other actors in what appeared to be a model of pay-for-play, was instantly shut down. Fifty-one former government intelligence officials , who we now know were perfectly well aware that the laptop was real – the FBI had been holding it for months -- wrote a letter describing the contents of the laptop as having "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation" designed to damage Joe Biden.

NPR famously downplayed the story, and once again, if you used social media to post information originally reported by the New York Post, you were canceled.

A year and a half after the election, the facts were finally "officially" accepted: Well, what do you know, it really was Hunter Biden's laptop and the material on it "is real!"

Once again, the leadership at the FBI, the media, social media, and former government officials had developed a hoax to damage their political opposition and the people who supported it.

Finally, there is the January 6th Committee, a one-sided investigative body, sometimes called "the third (attempted) impeachment." The Committee appears to have been put in place to stop Trump from running for office again. Before the proceeding even began, its outcome was predetermined: Trump was to be found guilty of -- something. As Stalin secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria used to say during Soviet Russia's reign of terror, "Find me the man and I'll find you the crime." So the US show trial commenced.

Even its start was ominous. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an unprecedented move, vetoed the committee appointments of Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan. This rebuff led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pull his five Republican candidates from participating. Pelosi, it appeared, wanted only anti-Trump folks to serve on the Committee. Also not allowed during the January 6 hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote:, "I was in the room:"

"Great OpEd. Reinforces my earlier comment on 6 Jan Cmte. Has quote from DOD IG Report regarding 3 Jan 2021 meeting with Actg Def Secy Miller/CJCS Milley in the Oval on the 6 Jan NG request by POTUS on troops needed. I was in the room."

While purportedly examining in detail every decision and action by Trump and his team, the Committee refuses to question Pelosi, among the leading figures responsible for the security of the Capitol. She reportedly "turned down" requests for greater security. According to the Federalist:

"Four days after the riot, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned his post in the aftermath, told The Washington Post his request for pre-emptive reinforcement from the National Guard ahead of Jan. 6 was turned down. Sund said House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, overseen by Pelosi, thought the guard's deployment was bad "optics" two days before the raid.... Despite the Associated Press and Washington Post's best efforts to run interference for the speaker, suddenly exonerating her of duties overseeing Capitol security, the riot on Jan. 6 was a security failure Pelosi owns. If the "speaker trusts security professionals to make security decisions," then why, as the police breach unfolded, did Irving feel compelled to seek the speaker's approval to dispatch the National Guard, as The New York Times reported? How could Pelosi also order the extended shut down of the Capitol to visitors, citing coronavirus, and install metal detectors in the House chamber?"

The Committee has not evaluated the performance of the Capitol Police or other law enforcement agencies, but it has targeted the "private records of individuals with no connection to the violence."

The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power. The Committee's narrative is clear: Donald Trump is responsible for the events of January 6, now let us manufacture the evidence to prove it.

This article has not even delved into the 28 states that "changed voting rules to boost mail-in ballots." Some States apparently omitted both state law and the need for states' legislatures to be the sole arbiters of election law, as required by the Constitution; the $400 million spent by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; the 2000-plus "mules" and the algorithms that sent conservative emails to spam while emails with liberal content went through to the addressees.

Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost faith in their institutions and leaders? Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system? The media, social media, government officials and others have been complicit in undermining our rule of law and possibly even subverting an election.

*  *  *

Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/12/2022 - 23:55

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LFST INVESTOR NOTICE: Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit Against LifeStance Health Group, Inc. and Announces Opportunity for Investors with Substantial Losses to Lead Case

LFST INVESTOR NOTICE: Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit Against LifeStance Health Group, Inc. and Announces Opportunity for Investors with Substantial Losses to Lead Case
PR Newswire
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 12, 2022

SAN DIEGO,…

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LFST INVESTOR NOTICE: Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit Against LifeStance Health Group, Inc. and Announces Opportunity for Investors with Substantial Losses to Lead Case

PR Newswire

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP announces that it has filed a class action lawsuit seeking to represent purchasers of LifeStance Health Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: LFST) common stock issued in connection with LifeStance Health's June 10, 2021 initial public stock offering (the "IPO"). Captioned Nayani v. LifeStance Health Group, Inc., No. 22-cv-06833 (S.D.N.Y.) – the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit charges LifeStance Health, certain of its top executives and directors, as well as the IPO's underwriters with violations of the Securities Act of 1933. 

If you suffered substantial losses and wish to serve as lead plaintiff, please provide your information here:

https://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases-lifestance-health-group-inc-class-action-lawsuit-lfst.html 

You can also contact attorney J.C. Sanchez of Robbins Geller by calling 800/449-4900 or via e-mail at jsanchez@rgrdlaw.com. Lead plaintiff motions for the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit must be filed with the court no later than October 11, 2022.

CASE ALLEGATIONS: LifeStance Health is one of the nation's largest providers of virtual and in-person outpatient mental health care. LifeStance Health benefitted from the state and local lockdown orders necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic starting in the spring of 2020. But by December 2020, several COVID-19 vaccines were being approved and administered, meaning LifeStance Health's access to clients seeking virtual mental health services would significantly decline while demand for in-person services would increase. LifeStance Health conducted its IPO on June 10, 2021, selling 46 million shares at $18.00 per share, raising $828 million in gross proceeds.

However, as the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit alleges, the IPO's registration statement failed to disclose the following material facts: (i) that the number of virtual visits clients were undertaking utilizing LifeStance Health was decreasing as the COVID-19 lockdowns were being lifted, thereby flatlining LifeStance Health's out-patient/virtual revenue growth; (ii) that the percentage of in-person visits clients were undertaking utilizing LifeStance Health was increasing as the COVID-19 lockdowns were being lifted, thereby causing LifeStance Health's operating expenses to increase substantially; (iii) that LifeStance Health had lost a large number of physicians due to burn-out and, as a result, its physician retention rate had fallen significantly below the 87% highlighted in the IPO's registration statement and LifeStance Health had been expending additional costs to onboard new physicians who were less productive than the outgoing physicians they were replacing; and (iv) as a result, LifeStance Health's business metrics and financial prospects were not as strong as the IPO's registration statement represented.

At the time of the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit's filing, LifeStance Health common stock traded in a range of $4.77-$7.70, a reduction of upwards of 73% from the price the shares were sold at in the IPO.

The plaintiff is represented by Robbins Geller, which has extensive experience in prosecuting investor class actions including actions involving financial fraud.  You can view a copy of the complaint by clicking here.

THE LEAD PLAINTIFF PROCESS: The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 permits any investor who purchased LifeStance Health common stock issued in connection with the IPO to seek appointment as lead plaintiff in the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit. A lead plaintiff is generally the movant with the greatest financial interest in the relief sought by the putative class who is also typical and adequate of the putative class. A lead plaintiff acts on behalf of all other class members in directing the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit. The lead plaintiff can select a law firm of its choice to litigate the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit.  An investor's ability to share in any potential future recovery of the LifeStance Health class action lawsuit is not dependent upon serving as lead plaintiff. 

ABOUT ROBBINS GELLER: Robbins Geller is one of the world's leading complex class action firms representing plaintiffs in securities fraud cases. The Firm is ranked #1 on the 2021 ISS Securities Class Action Services Top 50 Report for recovering nearly $2 billion for investors last year alone – more than triple the amount recovered by any other plaintiffs' firm. With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller is one of the largest plaintiffs' firms in the world, and the Firm's attorneys have obtained many of the largest securities class action recoveries in history, including the largest securities class action recovery ever – $7.2 billion – in In re Enron Corp. Sec. Litig. Please visit the following page for more information:

https://www.rgrdlaw.com/services-litigation-securities-fraud.html

Attorney advertising. 
Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. 
Services may be performed by attorneys in any of our offices. 

Contact:



Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP 


655 W. Broadway, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA  92101 


J.C. Sanchez, 800-449-4900 


jsanchez@rgrdlaw.com 

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SOURCE Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

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House Passes the Inflation Reduction Act

House Passes the Inflation Reduction Act
PR Newswire
ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 12, 2022

Bill Goes to the President’s Desk with Important Insulin and Health Care Provisions
ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the House passed the Senate-…

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House Passes the Inflation Reduction Act

PR Newswire

Bill Goes to the President's Desk with Important Insulin and Health Care Provisions

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the House passed the Senate-approved Inflation Reduction Act – historic legislation that limits the cost of insulin for seniors enrolled in Medicare and extends the COVID-19 expansion of Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance premium tax credits, crucial financial assistance that spared millions of Americans from pandemic disruptions in their health care.

"The American Diabetes Association has been the leading organization advocating for copay caps for insulin, resulting in the enactment of these cost-sharing limits in 22 states and the District of Columbia," said Lisa Murdock, chief advocacy officer for the American Diabetes Association® (ADA). "While we have more work to do to expand this benefit to all people with diabetes who rely on insulin to survive, this first national copay cap is a significant step in the right direction and a potentially life-saving policy change for seniors."

"Having health insurance is the single strongest predictor of whether adults with diabetes have access to high-quality health care and are able to manage their diabetes," said Dr. Robert Gabbay, the ADA's chief scientific and medical officer. "Uninsured Americans who are at risk for diabetes and its complications are much less likely to receive a diagnosis, and if they do get a diagnosis, they still average 60 percent fewer office visits with a physician and experience 168 percent more hospital visits than their insured counterparts. The expansion of these ACA health insurance subsidies will literally save lives of people with diabetes."

The Inflation Reduction Act also caps the cost of all prescription drugs at $2,000 per year for seniors who have Medicare Part D and allows Medicare to negotiate the price of some of the most expensive prescription drugs directly with drug manufacturers, reducing the cost of these often out-of-reach medications to seniors. $1 in every $3 spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. is spent on someone with diabetes, and this out-of-pocket cost limit will benefit people with diabetes who rely on more than just insulin to survive.

For more information about how the Inflation Reduction Act helps people with diabetes, check out the ADA's Inflation Reduction Act explainer.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation's leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 81 years, the ADA has driven discovery and research to treat, manage, and prevent diabetes while working relentlessly for a cure. Through advocacy, program development, and education we aim to improve the quality of life for the over 133 million Americans living with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Spanish Facebook (Asociación Americana de la Diabetes), LinkedIn (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn), and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn). 

Contact: 
Daisy Diaz, 703-253-4807
press@diabetes.org

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/house-passes-the-inflation-reduction-act-301605287.html

SOURCE American Diabetes Association

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