Prudential, MetLife & Willis

Feb 7, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

By Darla Mercado

Prudential Financial Inc. of Newark, N.J.'s fourth-quarter net income fell to $792 million, or $1.75 per share, from $893 million, or $1.88 per share for the same period last year.

Investment division operating income fell to $305 million from $361 million, due to losses on commercial mortgage-backed securities.

MetLife Inc. in New York saw a 71% plunge in profits, with net income falling to $1.08 billion, or $1.44 per share. Thatís down from $3.83 billion, or $4.95 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2006.

The company was hit with investment losses of $182 million during the fourth quarter, including $49 million in credit-related losses.

Quarterly profits declined by 52% for Assurant Inc., also of New York, bringing earnings to $120.8 million, or $1.01 per share.

The insurerís investment portfolio took a beating in the final quarter, racking up $51.6 losses after a book of stocks and bonds fell in value. In 2006, Assurant had a $116.7 million increase in its investments.

Willis Group Holdings Ltd., the New York-based insurance broker, said that its profit fell 36% from the fourth quarter of 2007, hitting $95 million, or 66 cents a share.

A $71 million tax credit boosted earnings from the same quarter in 2006, raising those earnings to $148 million and exaggerating the disparity between the two periods.

Revenue at Willis also rose to $615 million from $598 million.

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