MetLife, the largest life insurer in the US, has reported impressive 68% growth in profits for the first quarter of 2005 on the back of increased revenues from life insurance, annuities and investments.

The New York-headquartered insurer’s net income has soared to a record $987 million, or $1.33 a share, from $598 million, or 79 cents a share, for the previous year. Operating income profit, excluding income from investments, increased by 42% to $821 million, or $1.11 a share. Income from investments was up by 9.5% to $3.22 billion in the quarter. Premiums rose 11% to $6 billion.

MetLife had a remarkable first quarter, said Robert Benmosche, chairman and CEO. We generated record quarterly net income, record operating earnings and grew our top-line results. We continue to leverage MetLife’s leading market positions to identify growth opportunities in the marketplace that not only enable us to provide comprehensive financial solutions for our customers, but also generate strong returns for shareholders.

Meanwhile, MetLife has revised its full year 2005 operating earnings guidance up from between $3.50 and $3.65 per share, which was announced in December, to between $3.90 and $4.05 per share. Furthermore, the insurer has given preliminary guidance for full year 2006 operating earnings, which it expects to be between $4.25 and $4.50 per share.