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For Cigna, Wind Down of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Is a Headwind

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Cigna Corp. said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not the boon they once were for the health insurer.

The topic of the wars came out of the blue during Cigna’s earnings conference call on Thursday, in response to a question about slow growth overseas. Chief Executive Officer David Cordani told analysts that Cigna’s international unit has been a major supplier to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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“We were and continue to be a major supplier of services, service coordination and service delivery for those suppliers of resources that wrap around the war effort,” Cordani said. “As those wars have wound down, which is a net societal good, that business has dissipated.”

It was the first time that executives discussed the wars on a conference call, according to transcripts of presentations reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Cigna’s international health care operation collected $1.4 billion in premiums in the first nine months of this year, 7.8% of total premium revenue. The company covers about 1.5 million customers with its international unit. The business has been growing slowly, which prompted the question from an analyst Thursday.

The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based health insurer earlier reported adjusted earnings of $2.83 a share, topping the $2.35 average of analysts’ estimates.

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