Symetra Financial Corp. reported Wednesday third quarter net income of $56.6 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, up from $44.1 million in third quarter 2009.
“Symetra turned in a solid third quarter, demonstrating financial and underwriting discipline to moderate the effects of low interest rates and challenging market conditions,” said Tom Marra, Symetra president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
The retirement services group posted pretax adjusted operating income of $22.5 million, driven by interest spreads on increased account values and lower cash balances, according to the company. Total account values hit a "record high" of $9.5 billion, up from $8.2 billion one year ago.
Sales in the retirement services group fell, however, to $286.4 million from $486.9 million one year ago. According to Symetra, the "low interest rate environment" drove the drop in sales, especially of fixed annuities. Sales of income annuities fell as well, dropping from nearly $71 million to $58 million in third quarter 2010. Again, low interest rates contributed to the drop, combined with competition in other markets.