Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America announced a 72 percent increase in first-quarter operating profit, compared to last year; the company cites the growth in the popularity of annuities and life insurance as retirement planning tools as part of the reason for the uptick.

Allianz Life marked $217 million in first-quarter profit, versus $126 million during the same period in 2011. Total assets under management reached $98.5 billion, up 11 percent from March of 2011.

"It's clear that Americans are looking for more ways to provide for retirement income and protect the financial future of their loved ones," said Walter White, Allianz Life president and CEO, in a statement.

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