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Sun Life Financial Inc. posted in the fourth quarter of 2011 a more than half-billion dollar loss, an amount comparable to the profit the company enjoyed in the same period of 2010.

Sun Life Financial Inc., Toronto (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF), recorded a $525 million (CDN) or $0.90 per share loss in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to net income of $504 million or $0.84 per share in the same period last year.

The company’s operating loss was $221 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with operating net income of $485 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company’s operating loss per share was $0.38 in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to operating EPS of $0.85 in the fourth quarter of 2010.

“While results for the fourth quarter were impacted by a number of one-time items, our overall results for 2011 reflect challenging global market conditions that affected the entire industry, including low interest rates as a result of global economic uncertainty and monetary policy actions in the United States,” says Sun Life Financial President and CEO Dean Connor in a press statement.

“Despite these challenges, we made excellent progress in a number of areas central to our strategy, including record insurance and rollover sales in Canada, strong earnings in Asia and assets under management at MFS in excess of US$250 billion.”

“We continue to maintain a strong capital position, while investing in product and service innovations across our business groups to improve service to customers,” Connor adds.

Separately, Sun Life’s board of directors declared a quarterly shareholder dividend of $0.36 per common share, maintaining the current quarterly dividend. The dividend is payable to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 7, 2012.

In other company news:

The Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford, Conn., (NYSE:PNX), reported full-year 2011 net income of $8.1 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, and operating income of $42.0 million, or $0.36 per diluted share. These results compare with a net loss of $12.6 million, or $0.11 per share, and an operating loss of $9.6 million, or $0.08 per share, for full-year 2010.

For the fourth quarter of 2011, the company reported a net loss of $22.0 million, or $0.19 per share, and operating income of $1.1 million, or $0.01 per diluted share. The fourth quarter of 2010 had a net loss of $11.6 million, or $0.10 per share, and operating income of $7.8 million, or $0.07 per diluted share.

Excluding unusual items totaling $16.5 million, full-year 2011 pre-tax operating income was $64.7 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, the company reports. Excluding $15.1 million of unusual items, fourth-quarter 2011 pre-tax operating income was $17.7 million, or $0.15 per diluted share.

Unum Group, Chattanooga, Tenn., reports that its company and employees contributed more than $12 million to charitable causes in 2011.

The corporation gave more than $7.2 million in donations and $520,000 in in-kind contributions. Unum employees donated more than $2.7 million to non-profit organizations and through special events such as the United Way campaigns in the U.S. and the Site2Site challenge in the U.K. In addition, employees volunteered nearly $2 million worth of time to organizations that are important to them.

The Professional Insurance Marketing Association, Chicago, has installed a new president and elected a 2012 board of directors at PIMA’s 38th Annual Meeting. Themed “Changing Markets, Changing Opportunities: Embrace the New Affinity Marketplace,” the event was held in Palm Coast, Fla. 

The PIMA membership appointed as president Edwin Miltenberger, president of Carrier & Affinity Group Strategies of Covington, La.

The newly elected or appointed board directors include:

Alfred Drowne, AXIS Accident & Health, New York, N.Y.

David McCarty, AGIA Insurance Services, Maple Grove, Minn.

William Suneson, AAI, Next Generation Insurance Group, Boston, Mass.

Stephanie D’Amico, SourceLink, Westerville, Ohio

Other new PIMA officers are:

President-Elect – Samuel Fleet, AmWINS Group Benefits, Warwick, R.I.

Treasurer – Daniel O’Brien, CLU, New York Life, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Secretary – Michael Mercer, Transamerica Affinity Services, Baltimore, Md.

Immediate Past President (ex-officio) – Denise Friday, CLU, AMA Insurance Agency Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Hanleigh, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based Crump Insurance Services Company and a division of insurance wholesaler Crump Group, Inc., announced that Rick Fitzke, Eric Olivo, and Carla Trolio have joined the Hanleigh business.

Rick Fitzke and Eric Olivo join as directors of sales, and Carla Trolio as senior underwriter. Hanleigh says that Fitzke and Olivo bring to the company more than 36 years of combined experience in disability sales with an expertise in individual, corporate and group disability insurance.