Manulife, Sun Life warn of more COVID-19 hurdles in Asia

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The Sun Life Financial logo is seen astatine their firm office of One York Street successful Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren//File Photo

TORONTO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Senior executives astatine Canada's 2 biggest beingness insurers said connected Thursday they were bracing for much COVID-19 related uncertainties successful their fastest-growing marketplace of Asia aft a resurgence of the microorganism and lockdowns successful the portion weighed connected their quarterly earnings.

Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) and Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO) person been targeting enlargement successful the region, which has been their maturation motor successful galore past quarters. But waves of COVID-19 that person deed antithetic countries astatine antithetic times and repeated lockdowns person accrued claims and weighed connected concern growth. work much

"What we person experienced successful Asia from clip to clip is that determination is the resurgence of COVID and the containment measures bash travel backmost and person an interaction connected volumes," Anil Wadhwani, main enforcement of Manulife's Asian business, said connected an expert telephone connected Thursday. "We don't judge that the betterment is going to beryllium immediate."

Manulife's halfway nett from Asia fell astir 5% owed to pandemic-related challenges successful Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, but maturation successful plus absorption and Canada net helped thrust a 4.5% summation successful company-wide profit.

Smaller rival Sun Life paid retired astir C$87 cardinal ($70 million) successful full claims related to COVID-19 this quarter, bringing payments since the pandemic began to astir C$700 million, Sun Life's Chief Executive Kevin Strain told Reuters.

Death claims related to COVID-19 successful Indonesia, the Philippines and India contributed to a 12% simplification successful underlying net for Asia successful the 3rd 4th from a twelvemonth earlier for Sun Life.

Its U.S. concern besides came nether immoderate unit from the pandemic, with the 3 months done September the worst for decease claims related to COVID-19 for working-age people, Strain said.

Underlying nett wide roseate 7% acknowledgment to spot successful its plus absorption unit, and the institution raised its medium-term instrumentality connected equity people to implicit 16% from the existent 12-14%. work much

"It's hard to archer whether there's going to beryllium caller variants," Strain said successful an interview, referring to the virus. "What you are seeing successful Asia is higher vaccination rates. That should assistance successful presumption of claims, but I don't deliberation we're retired of COVID yet."

Sun Life shares fell 0.8% to C$70.80 successful greeting trading successful Toronto. Manulife shares dropped 2.6% to C$24.36. The Toronto banal benchmark added 0.5%.

($1 = 1.2431 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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