Sun Life Financial Inc. has posted net income of $595 million, down from $706 million the same period last year, while announcing a new share buyback program to repurchase up to 15 million shares. 

The company reported July 31 that its underlying net income in Q2 2019 was $739 million, up from $729 million from the same period last year.

Its reported return on equity for the quarter was 11 per cent, down from 13.5 per cent over the corresponding quarter last year.

And in terms of financial strength, Sun Life Financal’s LICAT ratio was 144% while Sun Life Assurance’s was 133%.

Canadian insurance sales down

The company said insurance sales in Canada fell 27% to $194 million in the second quarter of 2019, reflecting lower sales in group benefits due to timing of large case sales and individual insurance. Wealth sales were up 7%, driven by increased sales in group retirement services, which continue to lead the industry in assets under administration.

Sun Life said it was continuing to shape the Canadian market through “innovation and digital capabilities that enhance our client's experience.” It noted its digital platform, Lumino Health, which provides Canadians with one point of contact for a comprehensive range of health resources. It said its Sun Life Health platform delivers value to Canadians, as evidenced by over 10 million health care provider user ratings and average usage of approximately 10,000 searches per day.

Medical stop-loss business in-force rises in U.S.

In the U.S., group benefits sales increased 40% compared to the second quarter of 2018, driven primarily by continued strong momentum and Sun Life’s position in medical stop-loss. Medical stop-loss business in-force increased to US$1.8 billion, up 22% from the same period in the prior year.

Reported net income in the U.S. stood at $94 million in the second quarter of 2019, a decrease of $11 million compared to the second quarter of 2018, reflecting more unfavourable market related impacts, partially offset by lower integration costs.

In Asia, insurance sales were $238 million in the second quarter of 2019, up 12%, with double-digit growth in most markets. Sun Life’s international division experienced lower sales but saw improvements from the prior quarter as a result of a new product launch. Asia wealth sales were down by 28% to $1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2019.