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Life Insurers Q1 Earnings to Watch on May 10: SLF, UAM

The first-quarter earnings season is approaching the finishing line with results from 87.2% of the S&P 500 members already on board. So How is the Earnings Picture Evolving? The 436 index members that have reported have seen total earnings decline of 7.5% on 1.5% lower revenues. However, the beat ratio is 71.3% for the bottom line and 56.4% for the top line.

Within the Finance sector, earnings results from about 97.7% players so far point to an earnings decline of 7.3% though revenues managed a 1.9% improvement. The beat ratio also compares unfavorably with the S&P 500 index.

The life insurance industry is part of the broader Finance sector. In this corner, redesigning and re-pricing of products acted as catalysts to premium growth in the first quarter of 2016. Also, prudent cost management should boost profitability.

Nonetheless, a still soft interest rate environment will keep investment results under pressure. However, the slight rate rise by the Fed was a silver lining for life insurers that suffered spread compression on products like fixed annuities and universal life due to sustained low rates.  

With earnings releases nearly at the home stretch, let’s find out what’s in store for the life insurance companies that will report first-quarter results on May 10.

Sun Life Financial Inc. SLF is the third largest insurer in Canada. The company is well diversified by geography and product, providing protection and wealth management products and services to individual and group customers worldwide, including in Canada, the U.S., U.K. Ireland, Japan, China, India and the Philippines and the British overseas territory of Bermuda. Last quarter, the company delivered a 15.87% positive surprise. Sun Life has an http://www.zacks.com/earnings/earnings-surprise-predictions/">Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 65 cents.

Sun Life’s U.S. and Asia businesses are likely to benefit from stronger economic growth. The company may experience a rise in the Global Asset Management Business that should boost earnings. However, exposure to low interest rates and hedging costs may exert pressure on earnings. (Read more: Will Q1 Earnings Hold a Surprise for Sun Life Stock?)

With respect to the surprise trend, Sun Life surpassed expectations in each of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 11.35%.

Universal American Corp., UAM via its healthcare companies, provides health benefits and services to people covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The company delivered a 600% negative surprise in the last quarter. For the first quarter, Universal American has an Earnings ESP of -25.00%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 4 cents per share.

With respect to the surprise history, Universal American missed expectations in each of the last four quarters, with an average miss of 265.00%.
 

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UNIVL AMERICAN (UAM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SUN LIFE FINL (SLF): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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