Cigna reported first-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations, though it grew revenue and membership compared with a year before.
Net income was $371 million, or $1.28 per share, for the first quarter, compared with $413 million, or $1.51 per share, during the same period last year. Net income includes special items that accounted for a 14 cents-per-share loss in the first quarter this year and a 9 cents-per-share gain in the same period last year.
Excluding special items, Cigna's earnings were 2 cents below the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
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"We are pleased that our health and wellness programs continue to deliver value for customers who are seeking to improve their overall health status while achieving a more sustainable level of cost," said Cigna CEO David M. Cordani.
Total revenues increased 25 percent to $6.79 billion during the quarter from $5.4 billion during the same period last year. The boost in revenue is due in part to the $3.8 billion acquisition announced in October 2011 of HealthSpring, a Nashville-based provider of private Medicare plans.
The Bloomfield-based health insurer is expecting to hire this year at it fulfills a commitment in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's First Five program, which provides tax benefits to companies that add jobs. Cigna is also committed to capital improvements to its headquarters, and construction is underway in Bloomfield.
"We're seeking, as part of our growth, to be able to be a growing employer in the state, and, to date, we are actually growing our employment base," Cordani said in an interview with the Courant.
He added later, in talking about the company's on-campus IT internship at the University of Connecticut, "We can't just will the employment base to change. We have to drive it to change."
Cigna increased its number of customers to 12.7 million from 11.4 million in the health care division, and to 1.2 million from 1.1 million in its international health care and expatriate business.
"While EPS (earnings per share) missed our estimate by $0.07, the stronger core healthcare earnings outlook for full-year 2012 should be the more important takeaway," Matthew Borsch, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, wrote in a research note.
Cigna shares traded down $46.07 per share, down 48 cents Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.