MetLife ( MET) said second-quarter earnings dropped sharply from a year ago, but the insurer's operating earnings breezed past Wall Street estimates.

The New York-based company made $617 million, or 80 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30. That's down from $2.25 billion, or $3.02 a share, a year earlier.

But on an operating basis, excluding realized investment gains and losses, earnings rose to $1.28 a share from $1.17 a year ago, beating the $1.14 Thomson Financial target. Revenue rose to $11.41 billion from $10.96 billion a year earlier.

MetLife said earned total premiums, fees and other revenue rose 11% to $8 billion, while U.S. annuity deposits rose 69% to a record $4.2 billion. MetLife said it achieved record operating earnings available to common shareholders in its institutional business.