Empire Life reportedthat common shareholders’ net income was $157-million at the end of the first quarter, ended March 31, 2021, up from a loss of $32-million reported for the same period last year.
The increase in first quarter earnings was primarily the result of favourable market and interest rate movements resulting in a decrease in policy liabilities for segregated fund guarantees, says the company.
“Experience gains in the first quarter of 2021 were primarily driven by a reduction in policy liabilities for segregated fund benefit guarantees compared to an experience loss from a strengthening of these guarantee liabilities in the first quarter of 2020,” the company said in an April 29 statement announcing its quarterly results.
Profit on in-force business declined
Expected profit on in-force business decreased 13 per cent in the first quarter, primarily brought lower by wealth management and individual insurance lines.
Earnings on surplus, meanwhile, declined in the first quarter, primarily due to lower unrealized fair value gains on the company’s equity hedging program relative to the same period in 2020.
The company’s Life Insurance Capital Adequacy Test (LICAT) total ratio was 148 per cent at the end of March, compared to 136 per cent at the end of December 2020.
For shareholders, the company declared cash dividends of $14.21 per common share, payable June 8, 2021 to shareholders of record on May 14, 2021. Preferred share dividends of $0.31 will also be payable July 17, 2021 to shareholders of record on June 17, 2021.
New board member
The company also announced that Stephanie Bowman has joined the company’s board of directors after being elected at its annual general meeting, held virtually in April.
Bowman, a member of the board with the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, is also a council member with the Accounting Standards Oversight Council. Bowman has also held several senior positions with Scotiabank, CIBC and EY (Ernst & Young).