Prudential profit misses on weak investment returns, underwriting

(Reuters) - Prudential Financial Inc PRU.N missed quarterly profit estimates on Tuesday, as market volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic hurt the U.S. life insurer's investment returns and weaker underwriting weighed on insurance units.

“Market turbulence related to the pandemic adversely impacted our first quarter financial results,” Chief Executive Officer Charles Lowrey said in a statement.

PGIM, Prudential’s asset management arm, reported a 23% fall in adjusted operating income to $164 million (132 million pounds), the company said, despite a 4% rise in assets under management to $1.30 trillion.

The company’s U.S. individual life insurance segment posted an adjusted operating loss of $20 million compared with an adjusted operating income of $105 million a year earlier, hurt by weaker underwriting.

Adjusted operating income at its annuity segment fell 21% to $373 million. An annuity is a long-term insurance contract which allows consumers to generate a steady income during retirement.

After-tax adjusted operating income fell to $939 million, or $2.32 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.26 billion, or $3 per share, a year earlier. (

Analysts had expected a profit of $2.77 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur