Genworth's mortgage insurance income rises on lower taxes, losses

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Genworth's U.S. mortgage insurance unit's adjusted operating income increased over the previous year as the lower corporate tax rate and lower loss ratio overcame a 9% reduction in new insurance written.

The unit had adjusted operating income of $124 million, up 68% from $118 million in the third quarter and $74 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

New insurance written was $9.3 billion for the fourth quarter, compared with $10.3 billion in the third quarter and $10.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017. Fewer refinance originations caused the lower NIW, the company said.

For the full year, the U.S. mortgage insurance business had adjusted net operating income of $490 million, up 58% over 2017.

Genworth had a cushion of over $750 million under the existing Private Mortgage Insurance Eligibility Requirements as of Dec. 31, 2018. If the PMIERs 2.0 calculation were used, the cushion was over $550 million; the updated standard is effective March 31.

Parent company Genworth Financial reported a net loss of $329 million for the fourth quarter, compared with net income of $353 million one year prior. The company and China Oceanwide recently agreed to another extension of the merger deadline, this time until March 15.

The holding company had net investment losses (net of taxes and other adjustments) of $33 million, primarily due to equity investments and derivatives held by the Canadian mortgage insurance business it owns a stake in because of changes in interest rates and forward foreign exchange rates.

But Genworth Financial had adjusted operating income of $48 million for its share of the Canadian MI business and $18 million from its stake in the Australian MI company.

In addition, its life insurance business had operating losses of $425 million in the fourth quarter, including a $258 million after-tax charge as it added to its long-term care insurance reserves.

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