High levels of Covid-19 deaths hurt fourth-quarter results in MetLife Inc.’s business of providing employer-sponsored life insurance as the Delta variant persisted in the U.S., but the outsize payouts were more than offset by unusually strong investment gains.
The New York company’s net income soared to $1.18 billion, compared with a year-earlier period that had been hurt by mark-to-market losses on financial hedges that aim to protect against falling interest rates. MetLife’s adjusted earnings, which analysts track as a measure of recurring profitability, were flat at $1.84 billion.
Another household-name insurer, Allstate Corp., reported a 70% drop in net income to $790 million, and a 50% decline in adjusted net income to $796 million, primarily driven by worsened car-insurance underwriting income. Accident volume increased on more-crowded roads, and inflation pushed repair costs higher.
Catastrophe costs were also higher. U.S. property insurers ended the year with two high-profile catastrophes: deadly tornadoes in and around Kentucky, and devastating wildfire between Denver and Boulder, Colo.
Author(s): Leslie Scism
Publication Date: 2 Feb 2022
Publication Site: WSJ