International operations helped MetLife Inc. hold profits steady during the third quarter.

MetLife, New York, is reporting $1 billion in net income for the latest quarter on $13 billion in revenue, compared with $1 billion in net income on $12.5 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

U.S. life profit margins shrank, but rising separate account fee income contributed to a 22% increase in annuity operating earnings, to $235 million, MetLife says.

Due in part to business growth in Latin America and the Pacific region, international operating income increased to $134 million, from $72 million.

In Japan, MetLife attracted the equivalent of $1.7 billion in annuity deposits, up 10% from the total for the third quarter of 2006.

At the corporate level, “MetLife took advantage of higher interest rates to improve its investment portfolio return,” the company says.

The portfolio realignment led to the realization of $339 million investment losses, MetLife says.

In other earnings news:

- Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., is reporting $867 million in net income for the third quarter on $8.4 billion in revenue, compared with $1.2 billion in net income on $8.4 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

Sales of term life and universal life increased to $94 million from $69 million, and net annuity sales increased to $444 million from $197 million, Prudential says.

Group life and disability sales fell to $54 million, from $127 million.

When Prudential reports financial results, it prefers to separate results for its “closed block business” from the results of its “financial services business.”

Prudential says after-tax adjusted operating income for the financial services businesses increased to $905 million, from $828 million, Prudential says.

Adjusted operating income excludes the effects of changes in the investment climate.

Investment gains on trading account assets fell to $36 million, from $257 million, and Prudential realized $109 million in net investment losses during the quarter.

The company realized $257 million in investment gains during the third quarter of 2006, the company says.

“Net realized investment losses in the current quarter include $44 million of losses from impairments and sales of credit-impaired securities and $67 million from disposals of asset-backed securities collateralized by subprime mortgages, Prudential says.

At the end of the third quarter, “gross unrealized losses on general account fixed maturity investments of the financial services businesses” amounted to $1.5 billion, including $1.3 billion on investment-grade securities and $318 million related to asset-backed securities collateralized by subprime mortgages, Prudential says.

- Lincoln National Corp., Philadelphia, is reporting $1.1 billion in net income for the third quarter on $8.1 billion in revenue, compared with $934 million in net income on $6.4 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

The net flow of cash into individual variable annuities increased 49% during the quarter, to $1.5 billion, but individual annuity operating income fell to $107 million, from $129 million, primarily because of “hedge program performance and the impact of fair value accounting on liabilities … related to indexed annuity products,” Lincoln National says.

Individual life income increased to $174 million, from $123 million, and group protection income increased to $33 million, from $29 million.

- Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $240 million in net income for the third quarter on $2.8 billion in revenue, compared with $259 million in net income on $2.4 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

International and U.S. asset management operating earnings were up, Principal says.

- Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, is reporting $147 million in net income for the third quarter on $1.1 billion in revenue, compared with $162 million in net income on $1.1 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

Retirement plan sales increased 7%, to $2.6 billion, and sales of individual variable annuities increased 17%, to $1.4 billion, Nationwide says.

- Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford, is reporting $36 million in net income for the third quarter on $644 million in revenue, up from $34 million in net income on $638 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

Life sales were up, especially through the brokerage general agency channel, but results were affected by higher net death benefits, the company says.

- American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, West Des Moines, Iowa, is reporting $7.4 million in net income for the third quarter on $189 million in revenue, compared with $9.4 million in net income on $259 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

American Equity, which focuses on selling fixed and indexed annuities, notes that stock market price swings increased the cost of the options the company uses to fund the index credits on its indexed annuities.

- Unum, Chattanooga, Tenn., is reporting $187 million in net income for the third quarter on $2.6 billion in revenue, compared with a $64 million net loss on $2.6 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

Sales of group long-term disability insurance fell 5.9%, to $24 million, and sales of group short-term disability fell 13%, to $8.5 million, as Unum continued an effort to focus on writing only business that appears likely to be profitable, the company says.

Group life sales fell 2.3%, to $17 million.

Sales at the Colonial Life worksite unit increased 2.2%, to about $75 million.

- Assurant Inc., New York, is reporting $187 million in net income for the third quarter on $2.1 billion in revenue, up from $151 million in net income on $2 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

Operating income was down at the health and benefits units but up at the specialty property unit. Benefits loss experience was good, but small group health claims were high, Assurant says.

- Universal American Financial Corp., Rye Brook, N.Y., is reporting $27 million in net income for the third quarter on $738 million in revenue, compared with $30 million in net income on $328 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

The Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D drug plans and senior administrative operations did well, but income was down at a “legacy insurance” unit that sells products such as disability insurance, long term care insurance and annuities, the company says.

- Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky., is reporting $302 million in net income for the third quarter on $6.3 billion in revenue, up from $159 million in net income on $5.6 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for 11 million people, about as many people as it was covering a year earlier.

- CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, is reporting $365 million in net income for the third quarter on $4.4 billion in revenue, up from $298 million in net income on $4.1 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

The managed care company ended the quarter providing or administering health coverage for more than 10 million people, up from 9.3 million people a year earlier.

- EHealth Inc., Mountain View, Calif., is reporting $3.7 million in net income for the third quarter on $23 million in revenue, up from $2.7 million in net income on $17 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2006.

Membership at the Web insurance broker increased to 491,300, up from 363,000 a year earlier.