Conseco, the holding company for a group of insurance businesses, has announced that it has posted a net loss of $5.8 million or $0.03 per share in the first quarter of 2008 compared to $10 million during the same period in 2007.

The company has said that the loss included a $26.5 million net realized investment loss. Ed Bonach, CFO of Conseco, said: Our profitability was impacted negatively by the impact of difficult financial markets that similarly affected much of our industry, resulting in net realized investment losses (net of related amortization and taxes) of $26.5 million in the quarter. Gross realized losses (before amortization and taxes) included $41.3 million from other-than-temporary impairments.

Conseco’s sales in the first quarter of 2008 increased by 10.7% over the same period in 2007. The increase in sales included an 11% increase at Conseco’s arm Bankers Life and a 22% increase in the core business (67% increase in total sales including new product offerings) of Colonial Penn. Conseco Insurance Group’s sales declined 21%, but its specified disease products rose by 23%.

Jim Prieur, CEO of Conseco, said: We continued to make steady progress for the third consecutive quarter in our long-term care closed block of business, which showed a loss of $1.3 million, including amortization of intangibles of more than $5 million.

Total New Annualized Premium (NAP) for the first quarter of 2008 increased by 11% to $148.5 million compared to the same period in 2007. Net operating income was $20.7 million or $0.11, compared to $3.7 million in the same period in 2007.