Good performance from Genworth's life insurance unit outweighed by slumping mortgage sector

Feb 21, 2011

Unexpectedly low numbers from Genworth

Unexpectedly poor financial numbers announced recently by Genworth drove the company's stock price lower and could make it more difficult to get a favorable life insurance quote from the firm, experts said.

Nevertheless, the Associated Press reported, Genworth CEO Michael Frazier said the company enjoyed "good sales momentum" during the last three months of 2010.

"[Genworth is] intensely focused on restoring underperforming business lines to acceptable return levels," he told the news agency.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a sharp drop in the number of U.S. homeowners who returned to a stable rate of payment on their mortgages was behind the poor performance of that part of the company. This resulted in a $350 million loss, which more than canceled out the $138 million made by the company's life insurance and retirement wing, the AP said.

While the overall price of life insurance in the U.S. might not founder based solely on Genworth's troubles, experts say consumers would do well to keep an eye on their rates in the future.

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