Cigna profit exceeds expectations; low costs help


Cigna Corp on Thursday reported a second-quarter profit that beat analysts' expectations as medical costs were low and revenue increased from health insurance, supplemental benefit plans like dental and vision, and disability and life insurance.

Net income rose to $505 million, or $1.76 per share, from $380 million, or $1.31 per share, a year earlier.

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Excluding investment gains and a loss on its pharmacy benefit management contract, earnings were $1.78 per share. On that basis, analysts had expected $1.60, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The weak U.S. economy has caused people to cut back on medical services during the past few years, helping to reduce insurers' payments on claims. Companies including UnitedHealth Group Inc, WellPoint Inc, and Aetna Inc have beaten analysts' expectations for the second quarter because of this trend.

Cigna said revenue rose to $7.98 billion from $7.42 billion, while analysts had foreseen $7.4 billion.

The company said it expected 2013 earnings of $6.25 to $6.65 per share. The analysts' average estimate is $6.49.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)