The acquisition of Travelers Life & Annuity helped MetLife Inc. overcome the effects of hurricane-related losses in the third quarter.[@@]

MetLife, New York City, is reporting $742 million in net income on $12 billion in revenue for the latest quarter, up form $695 million in net income on $9.9 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2004.

But some analysts say MetLife’s latest earnings report is unclear.

Although MetLife reported earnings per share at a “normalized” rate of $1.03, that normalization process will confuse investors, according to Suneet Kamath, life sector analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Company L.L.C., New York.

The consensus earnings estimate for the quarter was 94 cents per share.

“In our opinion, the true normalized result in the quarter is open to debate,” Kamath writes in a note about MetLife’s earnings.

Travelers Life and other operations acquired from Citigroup Inc., New York, accounted for about 10% of MetLife’s operating earnings, excluding the effects of integration and related expenses for the quarter, MetLife says.

MetLife estimated losses from Hurricane Katrina to be $130 million, net of income taxes and reinsurance recoverables.

Individual business operating earnings rose 66%, to $331 million.

MetLife says the Travelers Life acquisition drove the strong performance in the individual business line, while annuity results benefited from strong investment performance.

The Travelers Life deal helped increase institutional business earnings 30%, to $386 million, and it helped increase retirement and savings net investment income 61%, MetLife says.