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UPDATE 1-MetLife quarterly profit doubles on derivative gains

Bharath ManjeshR and Suzanne Barlyn

(Adds details about 2018 pension transfer deal)

July 31 (Reuters) - U.S. insurer MetLife Inc on Wednesday reported quarterly profit that doubled from a year-ago, boosted by strong derivative gains.

MetLife recorded $724 million in derivative gains in the second quarter, reflecting changes in equity markets and interest rates. In the year-ago quarter, the company had a derivative loss of $59 million.

Premiums and fees dropped 29% to $12.02 billion, from a year earlier when the insurer inked a deal to provide pension benefits for about 41,000 FedEx Corp retirees and beneficiaries through an annuity.

The 2018 deal was the first "jumbo-sized U.S. transfer of pension obligations to an insurer, measured by premium, since 2013, an analyst said at the time. A comparable deal, which included about $6 billion in pension obligations and the premium generated, did not occur during the 2019 quarter.

Claims fell 33% to about $10 billion.

The insurer grew its business grew across U.S. and Latin America, but Asia and EMEA slipped.

Net investment income rose 5% to $4.69 billion, from a year earlier. Life insurers make money by investing premiums they receive for coverage, hoping to earn more than what they pay in claims.

Net income available to MetLife common shareholders rose to $1.68 billion, or $1.77 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $845 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.38 per share.

Analysts on average had expected a quarterly profit of $1.34 per share, according to Refinitiv data. It was not immediately clear if the numbers were comparable. (Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru and Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Cynthia Osterman)