Risk & Compliance

MetLife Stock Falls on News of Accounting Error

The insurer says an internal review determined it had incorrectly stated its combined risk-based capital ratio.
Katie Kuehner-HebertOctober 14, 2015

MetLife shares fell Wednesday on news that the insurer’s combined risk-based capital (RBC) ratio was lower than reported due to accounting blunders tied to annuity claims.

MetLife disclosed in a regulatory filing late Tuesday that the ratio a key measure of the financial solvency of insurers was 398% as of Dec. 31, 2014. It had previously stated an RBC ratio “in excess of” 400% in its annual 2014 report and a ratio of  410% in a May earnings call.

The correction followed an internal review of the RBC models of MetLife’s insurance subsidiaries.

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“In performing this review, management concluded that an adjustment was needed to a component of the RBC ratio of a company subsidiary, MetLife Insurance Company USA, relating to the amount of projected claims on certain variable annuities with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits,” the filing said.

MetLife’s stock dropped 1.6%, to $47.12 in trading Wednesday, the biggest fall in the 21-company Standard and Poor’s 500 Insurance Index, according to Bloomberg.

The company said last month that third-quarter profit will probably be cut by $792 million on tax costs tied to a U.K. investment subsidiary.

“Between the two seemingly one-off items, we think the reduction in [MetLife’s] excess capital position amounts to about $1.5 billion,” Thomas Gallagher, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, said in a note to investors.