Canada’s third-largest insurance company posted $453 million in third-quarter earnings. Last year, the company lost $140 million during the same quarter.

Sun Life points to an improved credit market and interest rate swaps tempering the impact of lower interest rates for the company’s recovery. Sun Life is estimated to have $455 billion in assets under management, A 10% increase over last year.

“Earnings in our Canadian operations reflected an improved economic environment—including equity market gains and an improved credit environment—as well as excellent sales performance,” said Donald A. Stewart, CEO of Sun Life Financial.

Group benefits sales were up 58% from the third quarter of 2009 to $106 million, particularly in the large-case market segment. In group wealth, group retirement services sales were down 15% primarily due to lower industry activity; however, pension rollover sales remained strong, with a four-quarter average retention rate of 49%.

In its outlook, Sun Life warned that volatility in the equity markets and a weak economy were continuing factors that could affect the company’s bottom line.

“Compared to the same period last year, SLF Canada reported increases in sales of fixed interest products and life and health insurance in our individual insurance and investments business, while the group benefits business also achieved significant sales growth,” Stewart said.