TORONTO, FEB 9 - Great-West Lifeco, Canada's No. 2 insurer, said its profit jumped 34 percent in the fourth quarter, boosted by funds that were freed up from a reserve that had been set aside for litigation.
Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Great-West, which is 72 percent-owned by Power Financial Corp, earned C$624 million ($628 million), or 65 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. That compared with a year-before profit of C$465 million, or 49 Canadian cents a share.
The result was in line with analysts' expectations for a profit of 49 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net profit was helped by a C$124 million reduction in litigation provisions originally taken in 2010.
Great-West, which operates under the Canada Life, London Life and Putnam Investments banners, is the only Canadian insurer expected to turn a profit this quarter, as competitors are seen reeling from one-time charges and the impact of weak markets.
Earlier on Thursday, rival Manulife Financial said it fell to a quarterly loss due to weaker sales and a big writedown.
$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Peter Galloway