The head office building of AMP Ltd, Australia's biggest retail wealth manager, is seen behind ferries docking at Sydney's Circular Quay in Australia, October 28, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

Financial services company AMP suffered its first full year loss since 2003. The loss comes as the company goes through crisis in its life insurance and wealth protection divisions.

On Thursday, AMP posted a drop of 57 percent in full-year underlying earnings. The company suffered a $344 million net loss following last year’s write-downs in its life insurance business.

Nevertheless, AMP was able to keep its dividend steady. With an on-market share buyback, the company said it would return $500 million to investors. AMP’s underlying earnings for the year ending on Dec. 31 amounted to $486 million.

"The year saw strong results from AMP Capital, AMP Bank, New Zealand and a resilient performance from wealth management despite challenging market conditions," AMP Chief Executive Craig Meller said in a statement. "However, these results were overshadowed by a poor performance in (life insurance)."

In contrast, AMP’s underlying earnings for 2015 were $1.12 billion – which also constituted an operating loss of $415 million in its life insurance business. "The wealth protection market deteriorated in 2016 and we took action to reset and stabilise our business," Meller said.

Consumer, government and regulatory concerns regarding unethical behaviour in relation to payouts and treatment of customers have been significant factors that have contributed towards AMP’s loss. Other banks and insurers have also suffered damage. As of 11:20 a.m. on Thursday, AMP shares enjoyed an increase of 3.2 percent to $5.19.

Meanwhile, Meller faces pressure to restore AMP’s life insurance division. In lieu of this, the senior management of the company was reorganised in November last year. In January 2017, it closed its venture capital division in an attempt to focus more on its principal business. Nevertheless, AMP shares have seen a rise of 10 percent since Donald Trump was elected as the United States president in November.

While insurer Suncorp also faced a difficult time with regards to its life insurance business, its profit recorded higher. The company’s net first-half profit was $537 million, an increase from last year’s $530 million. Meanwhile, Suncorp’s cash earnings upped 6 percent to $584 million.

With new business declining by 13 percent, the net profit of the company’s life insurance business slumped by half to $11 million. "Life insurance was impacted by an industry deterioration in lapse and claims trends," Suncorp chief executive Michael Cameron said. As of 11 a.m. on Thursday, the company shares jumped 0.2 percent to $13.06.