Brighthouse Financial Releases First Quarter Annuity Sales Report

Brighthouse Financial recently released their first quarter sales numbers, and the company’s index-linked annuities showed massive improvements. According to a recent InsuranceNewsNet article, sales of their Shield brand of products rose nearly 60% from this time last year, reaching $729 million. Brighthouse president and CEO, Eric Steigerwalt, attributes the success to the strength of the company’s distribution relationships and advertising and marketing campaigns.

Sales of both the Shield annuities and the company’s other fixed indexed annuities rose 35% overall, reaching $1.3 billion since last year.

“We intend to continue focusing our efforts on offering simpler, more transparent products, enhancing our broad network of independent distribution partners, and building a recognized and respected brand,” Steigerwalt states.

Index-linked annuities are created to buffer buyers against some market losses in exchange for a higher cap on credited interest. Charlotte-based Brighthouse remains bullish on buffered annuities, according to Myles Lambert, the company ’s chief distribution and marketing officer.

Brighthouse, which broke away from parent company MetLife last August, is still working on exiting several “transition service agreements” that heavily contribute to the company’s corporate expenses. While Brighthouse managed to exit 8 of those agreements in the first quarter, 139 still remain. The company expects to incur about $1 billion in expenses in the first year following the separation.

Despite the increase in sales of Shield annuities, the company reported a loss of $67 million in its first quarter. On a per-share basis, a loss of 56 cents was reported. Earnings were $2.36 per share, after being adjusted for non-recurring costs. While the numbers don’t seem encouraging, the results still surpassed Wall Street expectations. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research predicted an average earnings estimate of $2.04 per share. The annuity and life insurance company posted revenue of $1.82 billion in the 1st quarter, with an adjusted revenue of $2.15 billion. Brighthouse Financial shares have decreased 14% since the beginning of the year.

Written by Rachel Summit

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