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Health insurer Cigna posts profit gains

Health insurer Cigna Corp. on Wednesday posted a higher quarterly profit as it saw growth in its health care segment and recognized a gain on the sale of its retirement benefits business.
/ Source: Reuters

Health insurer Cigna Corp. on Wednesday posted a higher quarterly profit as it saw growth in its health care segment and recognized a gain on the sale of its retirement benefits business.

The Philadelphia-based insurer said it earned $320 million, or $2.34 per share, compared to $195 million, or $1.39 per share a year earlier.

The year ago figures include special items.

“Our health-care segment earnings reflect the progress we continue to make in medical management, service and underwriting,” said H. Edward Hanway, Cigna’s chairman and chief executive in a statement.

He added that the strong results were “building a strong foundation to improve membership results.”

Wall Street analysts polled by Reuters’ Estimates had on average been predicting $1.34 per share for the quarter, as of Tuesday.

Cigna said that its consolidated revenues had fallen slightly, to $4.5 billion in the third quarter from $4.8 billion in the comparable year-ago quarter.

The company increased its full-year health care segment outlook for 2004, seeing a range of $6.65 to $6.85 per share from continuing operations before realized investment results and special items.

Cigna added that in 2005, it saw a continuing operations share range of $5.50 to $6.00 per share in its health care segment, before investment results and special items.