(Image: CDC) An illustration of an influenza virus particle. (Image: CDC)

 

(Related: The Spanish Flu Centennial: A Look at Influenza’s Continuing Pandemic Risk)

How bad was this year’s flu season?

Bad enough to hurt a major life reinsurer’s earnings.

Reinsurance Group of America Inc. is reporting $100 million in net income for the first quarter on $3.2 billion in revenue, compared with $146 million in net income on $3 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2017.

The RGA unit that provides traditional reinsurance in the United States and Latin America, but not in Canada, is reporting $2.9 million in income before income taxes for the quarter on $1.5 billion in revenue, compared with $30 million in income before taxes on $1.5 billion in revenue for the year-earlier quarter.

RGA said the harsh flu season in the United States and Latin America contributed to the drop in overall net income, by increasing the number of non-large death claims.

Anna Manning, president of the Chesterfield, Missouri-based company, said flu often causes fluctuations in claims during the first quarter of the year.

“Any volatility tends to even out over longer periods,” Manning said.

— Read What If Annuity Holders’ Life Expectancy Spikes? on ThinkAdvisor.

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