AMSTERDAM ( TheStreet) -- Dutch insurer Aegon ( AEG), which owns the Transamerica insurance company in the U.S., swung to a fourth-quarter profit as it benefited from gains on investments and lower impairments.

Earnings were 393 million euros, a swing from a year-earlier loss of 1.18 billion euros.

"Clearly, the steps we have taken over the past year have delivered solid results -- a return to profit, reduced expenses, and continued customer confidence, resulting in increased sales in all country units," said CEO Alex Wynaendts, in a statement.

In the Americas, underlying earnings were $446 million compared with a loss of $412 million a year earlier as a recovery in financial markets had a positive effect on both technical results and fee income.

Given the uncertain environment, we believe that it continues to be prudent to maintain a substantial capital buffer, as reflected in our strong capital position. Although impairments improved during the quarter, they remained at elevated levels for the year, which led to lower cash flows from our operating units," the CEO said. "Consequently, Aegon will not declare a dividend to common shareholders."

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

If you liked this article you might like

Bullish and Bearish Reversals in the Market

European Markets Higher As Global 'Trump Rally' Continues

Euro 'Trump Stocks': Top Gainers in the Continent's Post-Election Rally

Beef Up Your Dividend Portfolio With These Two Insurance Gems

3 Insurance Stocks On The Rise