Premium Gains Lift MetLife

Earnings rise 11% from a year ago despite Katrina losses.
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MetLife's

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third-quarter earnings jumped 11% from a year ago, as several acquisitions helped raise the insurer's premium income.

The company earned $773 million, or 97 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $695 million, or 92 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding items like investment gains and discontinued operations, MetLife posted operating earnings to $780 million, or $1.01 a share, in the quarter, compared with $618 million, or 82 cents a share.

On the latter basis, analysts had been forecasting earnings of 94 cents a share in the quarter. Revenue -- which includes premium income, policy fees and investment gains -- rose 20% from a year ago to $12 billion.

The company said that total earned premiums rose 19% from a year ago to $8 billion in the third quarter, helped by the acquisitions of Travelers Life & Annuity and

Citigroup's

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international insurance business. The additional operations contributed about 10% of operating earnings in the quarter.

The premium revenue increase was paced by solid gains in individual business and institutional business insurance, offset by a $26 million operating loss in the auto and home segment. The loss reflected $130 million in catastrophe losses, mostly related to Hurricane Katrina.

Shares added 19 cents to $50.79 after hours.