TORONTO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial is
considering a range of options to expand in Asia, including
buying insurance and asset management firms and taking bigger
stakes in existing joint venture partners, Chief Executive Dean
Connor said on Thursday.
In the United States, Canada's second-largest life insurer
is seeking opportunities to add group benefits and stop-loss
businesses to expand on its offerings in those areas, Connor
said on an analyst call.
On Wednesday, Sun Life reported third-quarter core earnings
of C$1.44 a share, beating analyst expectations of C$1.28,
helped by growth in its Asia and asset management businesses.
Its shares rose 2.9% to C$56.51 on Thursday, compared with a
1.7% gain in the Toronto stock benchmark.
""Asia has gone from 7% of our earnings to closer to 20% in
this quarter," Connor said in an interview. "In my mind, there's
no doubt that... at some point, it'll be 25% or more."
The company has deliberately chosen markets in Asia that
have "significant runway to grow" and is avoiding more mature
countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, he said.
Sun Life's U.S. unit posted a loss in the three months
through September, albeit narrower than a year ago, and
executives acknowledged the stop-loss policy business - which
protects against large claims - is highly competitive.
But it is one of the biggest contributors to Sun Life's
U.S. growth, and the company is seeking to grow the business,
From a historical focus primarily on high-claim risk
protection, "we'd like to step further into the health care
space, providing care management, navigation-type services to
the members we work with," Daniel Fishbein, president of Sun
Life U.S., said on the call.
(Reporting By Nichola Saminather
Editing by Marguerita Choy)