August 5, 2010

CIGNA Reports 32% Q2 Loss on Variable Annuity Business; Stock Rises Despite Loss

Insurance company's health-care and international segments report positive results

CIGNA Corp.'s second-quarter 2010 earnings fell 32% to $294 million, or $1.06 per share, compared to $435 million, or $1.58 per share, a year ago, the insurer reported Thursday, August 5.

Shareholders' net income included a loss of $0.37 per share in second-quarter 2010 compared to income of $0.40 per share in second-quarter 2009 from results for the guaranteed minimum income benefits and death benefits businesses, also known as variable annuity death benefits, which have been included in CIGNA's run-off reinsurance operations since 2000.

To support its stock price, the company has repurchased approximately 6.2 million shares for approximately $200 million through August 4.

Despite the variable-annuity loss, CIGNA's results beat analyst expectations for earnings of $1.01. The company now estimates full-year 2010 earnings per share, on an adjusted basis, to be in the range of $4.10 to $4.40 per share compared to its earlier forecast of $3.75 to $4.15. The new estimate would put adjusted income from operations in the range of $1.13 billion to $1.21 billion.

CIGNA (CI) stock after the earnings release was up $1.35 per share, or 4.2%, in early trading, at $33.50 versus yesterday's close of $32.15.

The managed-care company, which has a large health insurance segment, saw earnings grow in that area to $247 million versus $177 million a year ago. The positive health-care results reflect strong retention of membership along with new sales and "competitively attractive medical costs" for customers, according to CIGNA's quarterly release.

Further, adjusted income from operations in the quarter was $384 million, or $1.38 per share, compared to adjusted income from operations of $313 million, or $1.14 per share, for the same period last year.

The increase reflects the benefit of CIGNA's diversified global portfolio, with the International business reporting positive results of $542 million versus $462 million a year ago. The Disability and Life segment, however, reported $650 million in premiums and fees versus $661 a year ago. CIGNA's outlook for full-year 2010 adjusted income from operations for the International and Group Disability and Life segments is now in the range of $510 million to $530 million.

"Our second-quarter 2010 results demonstrate that we continue to effectively execute our global growth strategy," said CIGNA President and CEO David Cordani in a statement.

In other insurance earnings news, Allstate reported Q2 earnings fell more than 60% to $145 million. But Allstate stock was higher in early trading as the insurer's operating profits on homeowners, auto, and personal liability policies were $441 million, ahead of expectations.

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