I'm pleased with the earnings. Puts the stock at a P/E for 2010 of under 8 and at less than half of book value. Not many stocks out there like this with such consistent earnings.
If you look at their annual report, they list the countries where they have the largest exposure and Japan is not one of them, so I wouldn't expect a big hit. Plus, this again puts pressure on the industry and NWLI in a position where the competition could lessen (for example reinsurance costs will be going up) and they can write more profitable business.
I noticed that, too. There is a little noise in these book value increases. In one recent quarter the company reported about $3.60/share in earnings and the book value jumped $7/share. I note that at year end 2009 the book value was $307.24. They earned $20.6/share in year 2010, and book value at year-end 2010 is $335.83, an increase of $28.50/share for the year. Needless to say, accounting is not an exact science. It would be interesting if someone with some detailed knowledge of NWLI's bookkeeping practices could help clear this up, but it doesn't seem like a huge discrepancy.