Washington, D.C. 20549

                                    FORM 8-K

                                 CURRENT REPORT

                     PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
                         SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

       Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported: January 12, 2004)

                                AMERUS GROUP CO.
             (Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

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            IOWA                        001-15166                42-1458424
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(State or Other Jurisdiction        (Commission File            (IRS Employer
      of Incorporation)                  Number)             Identification No.)
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             699 WALNUT STREET
             DES MOINES, IOWA                              50309-3948
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 (Address of principal executive offices)                  (Zip Code)
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Registrant's telephone number, including area code:      (515) 362-3600


99.1     Press Release dated January 12, 2004 (furnished pursuant to Item 9).


         On January 12, 2004, the Company issued a press release, which the
Company is furnishing under this Item 9 as Exhibit 99.1, announcing adjusted net
operating income guidance and the dates of the company's fourth quarter
earnings release and investor conference.

         The company views adjusted net operating income, a non-GAAP financial
measure, as an important indicator of financial performance. This presentation
can enhance an investor's understanding of the Company's underlying
profitability and normalized results from operations. Adjusted net operating
income is also used for goal setting, determining employee and management
compensation and evaluating the Company's performance on a comparable basis to
that used by security analysts.

         All statements, trend analyses and other information contained in the
following statements relative to markets for products and trends in operations
or financial results, as well as other statements including words such as
"anticipate", "believe", "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", and other
similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements under the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Factors that may cause actual results
to differ materially from those contemplated by these forward-looking statements
include, among others, the following possibilities (a) general economic
conditions and other factors, including prevailing interest rate levels and
stock market performance, which may affect the Company's ability to sell
products, the market value of investments and the lapse rate and profitability
of policies; (b) the ability to achieve anticipated levels of operational
efficiencies and cost-saving initiatives and to meet cash requirements based
upon projected liquidity sources; ( c) customer response to new products,
distribution channels and marketing initiatives; ( d) mortality, morbidity, and
other factors which may affect the profitability of insurance products; ( e) the
ability to develop and maintain effective risk management policies and
procedures and to maintain adequate reserves for future policy benefits and
claims; (f) changes in the federal income tax laws and regulations which may
affect the relative tax advantages of some products; (g) increasing competition
in the sale of insurance and annuities and the recruitment of sales
representatives; (h) regulatory changes or actions, including those relating to
regulation of insurance products and of insurance companies; (i) ratings and
those subsidiaries by independent rating organizations which the Company
believes are particularly important to the sale of products; (j) the performance
of investment portfolios; (k) the impact of changes in standards of accounting
for derivatives and business combinations, goodwill and other intangibles and
purchase accounting adjustments; (l) the Company's ability to integrate the
business and operations of acquired entities; (m) expected life and annuity
product margins; (n) the impact of anticipated investment transactions; and (o)
unanticipated litigation or regulatory investigations.

         There can be no assurance that other factors not currently anticipated
by the Company will not materially and adversely affect results of operations.
You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements
made by the Company or on its behalf. Forward-looking statements speak only as
of the date the statement was made. The Company undertakes no obligation to
update or revise any forward-looking statement.


            Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the
undersigned hereunto duly authorized.

                                 AMERUS GROUP CO.

                                 By:  /s/ Melinda S. Urion
                                          Melinda S. Urion
                                          Executive Vice President
                                          and Chief Financial Officer

Dated: January 13, 2004


Exhibit No.   Description
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99.1        Press Release dated January 12, 2004 (furnished pursuant to Item 9).