(Bloomberg) – MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, posted profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates as results improved in Asia, fueled by growth in Japan and sales of accident-and-health coverage.
Net income slipped 18 percent to $1.12 billion from $1.37 billion a year earlier on losses tied to derivatives, New York- based MetLife said in a statement Wednesday. Operating profit, which excludes some investment results, was $1.56 a share, compared with the $1.49 average in a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts.
MetLife has sought to boost sales in segments such as disability, dental and accident-and-health insurance after scaling back on retirement products such as variable annuities to reduce risks tied to financial markets. The company expanded in Asia with the 2010 purchase of American Life Insurance Co.
“The Japanese market is a good market,” Steven Schwartz, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc., said in a phone interview before results were announced. “It gets a little bit more competitive every year but it’s a reasonable market, a very, very large market,”
MetLife rose 1.7 percent to $57.22 as of 4:05 p.m. in New York, extending its gain for the year to 5.8 percent. That compares with the 5.5 percent increase of the 21-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Insurance Industry Index. Results were released after the close of regular trading.
Book value, a measure of assets minus liabilities, fell to $60.27 per share from $64.37 at the end of the first quarter. Insurers including Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Aflac Inc. have reported that their bond portfolios lost value in the period as interest rates climbed.