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Sun Life Financial Inc. logo is shown at the company's annual general meeting in Toronto on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungChris Young/The Canadian Press

Canada’s Sun Life Financial Inc. SLF-T on Monday reported better-than-expected quarterly profits, helped by growth at its wealth and asset management unit and higher fees.

The insurer, however, reported a fall in underlying earnings hurt by weakness in the United States and fewer sales of personal health insurance.

Sunlife has been diversifying its business across the globe and expanded its U.S. footprint with the US$2.5-billion acquisition of DentaQuest last year.

Sales of dental insurance in the U.S. fell 75 per cent in the reported quarter hurt by the impact of Medicaid renewal following the end of the public-health emergency and investments in the Advantage Dental+ business, Sun Life said.

“The dental business reported middling results this quarter ... short-term volatility is a part of this business, from a long-term perspective, the investment should be positive,” Morningstar analyst Suryansh Sharma said.

The company said it had extended its partnership to DentaQuest in the U.S. and expects about 3.5 million people across 20 states to access oral and dental care.

The results follow those of bigger rival Manulife, which also beat earnings estimates, boosted by insurance sales in Asia and higher returns on investment amid rising interest rates.

Sun Life said underlying earnings from its U.S. segment were down 19 per cent. Underlying net income from wealth and asset management rose 9 per cent to $457-million.

The insurer posted underlying net income of $930-million, or $1.59 a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $949-million, or $1.62 a share, a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting $1.57 a share, according to LSEG estimates.

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