MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) says it expects low interest rates will impair its profits this year and next but that it does not expect the impact will be significant.

MetLife, New York, was responding to concerns expressed by some analysts that low interest rates will hurt insurers in general by reducing their returns from investments in bonds and other interest-sensitive portfolios.

MetLife says it estimates that its earnings for 2011 could be reduced by about $0.20 per share if the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury bond is 2.5% through 2011.

-tt