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Symetra Financial Hikes Div by 11%

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The board of directors of Symetra Financial Corporation recently approved an 11% increase in its quarterly cash dividend. The life insurer will now pay a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share, up from 9 cents per share distributed previously. The first increased quarterly dividend will be paid on or about Mar 28, 2014 to shareholders of record as on Mar 18.

The increased quarterly dividend is equivalent to an annual dividend of 40 cents per share. Based on yesterday’s closing share price of $20.27, the increased dividend implies a yield of 1.97% for Symetra Financial, which is greater than the industry yield of 1.54%.

The dividend hike is primarily supported by the company’s sturdy financial position cushioned by strong retained earnings. Symetra Financial exited 2013 with retained earnings of $975.9 million, up from $798.4 million reported as of 2012-end. Moreover, substantial improvements across Benefits and Individual Life results are driving bottom-line growth at the company which in turn aids the dividend payout.

Based on around 126.6 million shares outstanding, Symetra Financial will have to dish out roughly $12.7 million as quarterly dividend.

Symetra Financial has been consistently distributing profit to its shareholders for the last few years. With the latest dividend increase, the quarterly cash dividend of the company has doubled in about three years’ time.

Among other insurers, the board of directors of FBL Financial Group Inc. (FFG - Free Report) recently approved a whopping 133% increase in its quarterly cash dividend. The multi line insurer will now pay a dividend of 35 cents per share, up from 15 cents distributed earlier.

The board of another insurer, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (AFSI - Free Report) raised its regular quarterly dividend by 43% on Feb 18, 2014. The company will now pay a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, up from 14 cents a share paid previously.

The board of directors at XL Group plc (XL - Free Report) recently sanctioned a 14.3% hike in its quarterly dividend. The company will now pay a dividend of 16 cents per share, up from 14 cents paid on Dec 31, 2013.

Symetra Financial presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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