MetLife 2nd quarter profit more than doubles

Insurance giant MetLife reported on Wednesday its second-quarter profit more than doubled from the same period a year ago as gains from derivatives the company uses to manage risk helped offset losses on its policies.

Profit rose to $1.3 billion, up from $471 million a year earlier.

Operating earnings were $1.6 billion, roughly flat from a year ago. Operating earnings, the measure commonly used by insurance companies to assess their financial results, excludes investment income.

MetLife, like other insurers, uses derivatives to hedge risks, such as fluctuations in interest rates. In the recent second quarter, the company reported after-tax net derivative gains of $202 million, as it benefited from declining interest rates.

MetLife, the largest U.S. insurer, maintains its U.S. retail hub in Charlotte. In the second quarter, its retail business, which sells life insurance and annuities, reported profit of $627 million, up from $301 million the same period a year ago.