Filed Under:Annuities, Fixed Indexed

Symetra and Ameriprise Earnings Decline in the Third Quarter

Earnings for Symetra Financial and Ameriprise Financial declined from the year-ago period, the companies reported on Thursday.

Symetra Financial Corp., Bellevue, Wash. (NYSE: SYA), reported third quarter 2011 net income of $11.1 million, or $0.08 per diluted share. This compares with $56.6 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in third quarter of 2010. Net realized investment losses of $56.8 million (pretax), primarily from mark-to-market accounting of the company’s equity investments, drove the decline in third quarter 2011 net income, the company says.

Adjusted operating income was $47.6 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, in third quarter 2011, compared with $43.8 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.

Symetra President and CEO attributes the reduced earnings compared to the year-ago period to low interest rates in the Symetra’s income annuities business and increased claims in its life insurance business.

“The fair value of our equity investments also took a substantial hit given overall declines in the stock market,” he adds.

Symetra’s deferred annuities business, which includes fixed and variable deferred annuities, generated $28.0 million in pretax adjusted operating income in third quarter 2011, up from $22.5 million in third quarter 2010. The increase in operating income was driven by higher fixed account values and higher interest spreads, the company says.

Sales of deferred annuities (predominately fixed annuities) were $393.6 million in third quarter 2011, a 37% increase over $286.4 million reported in third quarter 2010. Fixed annuity sales through financial institutions held up well despite the significant drop in interest rates during the quarter, teh company says.

Separately, Ameriprise Financial, Inc., Minneapolis (NYSE: AMP), reported third quarter 2011 net income from continuing operations of $271 million, or $1.12 per diluted share. This compares with $346 million, or $1.33 per diluted share, a year ago. Operating earnings were $251 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, compared to $352 million, or $1.35 per diluted share, a year ago.

The company says that third quarter results were impacted by a negative $106 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, year-over-year change from the unfavorable market impact on deferred acquisition costs and deferred sales inducement costs, as well as the company's annual review of insurance and annuity valuation assumptions and models.

Ameriprise’s operating net revenue was $2.5 billion compared to $2.3 billion a year ago.

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