TORONTO - Sun Life Financial met expectations as its net income surged 24 per cent to $719 million in the fourth quarter.

The Toronto-based insurer says it earned $1.22 per share in the three months ended Dec. 31, up from 96 cents per share or $580 million a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, underlying earnings grew 10.3 per cent to $792 million or $1.34 per share. That compared with $718 million or $1.19 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

For the full year, its net income rose 3.8 per cent to $2.62 billion.

Underlying profits rose to $3.6 billion or $5.16 per share, up from $2.95 billion or $4.86 per share in 2018.

The fourth-quarter and full-year results matched analyst forecasts, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv.