Reinsurance Group Drops as Earnings Miss Estimates on Deaths

Apr 25, 2014 4:52 pm ET

(Updates with closing share price in second paragraph.)

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Reinsurance Group of America Inc., the reinsurer formerly owned by MetLife Inc., fell the most since July after first-quarter profit dropped 26 percent on a surge in costs tied to death benefits in the U.S. and Canada.

RGA slipped 4.2 percent to $75.88 at 4:15 p.m. in New York and is down 2 percent for the year.

Net income for the three months ended March 31 dropped to $136.7 million, or $1.92 a share, from $185.5 million, or $2.49, a year ago, the Chesterfield, Missouri-based company said in a statement late yesterday. Operating income, which excludes some investment results, was $1.61 a share, missing the $1.73 average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Results were hurt by “unfavorable life mortality in the U.S. and Canada, which has been the bane of many a first quarter” at the company, Sean Dargan, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd., said in a note to investors yesterday.

Mortality claims were higher than expected in the period, which coincided with a harsh winter in much of the U.S. and Canada, and should level out, RGA Chief Executive Officer Greig Woodring said in the statement.

“We would expect a return to a more normal pattern as the year progresses,” Woodring said.