Cigna 3Q Profit, Outlook Top Expectations as Fees Rise

Cigna (NYSE:CI) revealed a top-and-bottom-line third-quarter beat on Thursday as fees and premiums increased across the board and the insurer added new commercial customers.

The health benefits manager also predicted full-year adjusted earnings in the range of $6.70 to $6.90 a share, above the consensus view of $6.65.

"The consistent, effective execution of our strategy coupled with ongoing strategic investments is driving strong financial performance in 2013 and positions us for continued long term growth,” Cigna CEO David Cordani said in a statement.

In its most recent quarter, the Bloomfield, Ct.-based health insurer reported net income of $553 million, or $1.95 a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $466 million, or $1.61.

Adjusted for one-time items, Cigna said it earned $1.89 a share, topping average analyst estimates of $1.63 in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three-month period was up 10% to $8.1 billion, beating the Street’s view of $7.24 billion.

The results were padded as Cigna better managed medical costs. The company also benefited from a 29% increase in fees and premiums.

Earlier this week, rival Aetna (NYSE:AET) fell short of Wall Street expectations, while UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) posted in-line earnings but disappointing sales.

Shares of Cigna climbed more than 2% to $76.20 in early trade.