Profits up by more than 50% at Sun Life

By Andrew Rickard | November 10 2016 01:50PM

Photo: Freepik

Sun Life Financial’s worldwide reported net income reached $737 million in the third quarter of 2016, an increase of 53% compared to the same period last year.

Financial results released after the market closed yesterday show that Sun Life's net income in Canada was $184 million in the third quarter of 2016, up about 37% from the $127 million reported in the third quarter of 2015. However, only the individual insurance division managed to increase its year-over-year sales, which grew 4% from $98 million to $102 million. The insurer attributes much of this boost in sales to the efforts of its career agents. Over the last twelve months has increased the size of its sales force from 3,943 to 4,054 advisors.

Year-over-year sales results in all the other Canadian divisions were down: individual wealth fell slightly from $1.244 billion to $1.216 billion, group benefits declined from $139 million to $106 million, and group retirement services sank by 30% to $2.177 billion to $1.520 billion. Sun Life says that exceptionally strong sales in the third quarter of last year skewed the year-over-year results in its group business.

Year-to-date, Sun Life's Canadian operations saw underlying net income of $644 million, up from the $625 million reported in the in the first nine months of last year. These results reflect gains from investing activities on insurance contract liabilities, net realized gains on available-for-sale assets, and morbidity gains. The increases were partially offset by lower gains on new business and expense experience, including investments Sun has made in growing its individual wealth business.

At the end of the quarter Sun Life Assurance's MCCSR ratio was 221%, down from the 240% as at December 31, 2015; the insurer says the decline is primarily due to its acquisition of employee benefits business in the United States.

In an accompanying statement, Sun Life Financial president and CEO Dean Connor noted that the insurer has been working on digital solutions that will make it easier for people to do business the company.

"In the Philippines, we launched a first of its kind mobile app with account management capability, which enables clients to conduct self-serve financial needs analysis and easily transact on personal accounts, anytime," said Connor. "In Canada, our clients' overall mobile usage is growing by 50% annually, due to features such as fingerprint recognition and photo capture for insurance claims."