Insurers Expand Business Overseas
News outlets report on the insurer marketplace.
The Wall Street Journal: "Cigna Corp. is expanding overseas, leading a push by health insurers to find growth amid uncertainties at home. Next month, the Philadelphia-based firm will launch an insurance policy in Spain that it says is the first of its kind to be sold by U.S. insurers. The new plan is sold directly to local individuals, as opposed to employer-sponsored or supplemental policies offered by Cigna in 26 other countries. In August, Cigna bought Vanbreda International, a Belgian firm that administers benefits to expatriates. And last November, Cigna launched what it called the first comprehensive health plan for employers in China. Cigna and other U.S. insurers are looking abroad as the federal health overhaul casts doubt on future profits" (Johnson, 9/14).
The Wall Street Journal, in a separate story: WellPoint is positioned for mergers and acquisitions activity. "WellPoint Inc. (WLP), the largest U.S. managed-care company by membership, needs to maintain enough capital and borrowing ability to take advantage of stepped-up industry consolidation in the next two years as the health overhaul kicks in, Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt said Monday. 'I think ultimately for us, it's going to be very important we maintain enough capital at the parent, or enough liquidity and ability to lever up, to be able to do transactions, because I really do think they're going to present themselves over the next couple of years, and I think you'll see further consolidation in the industry, significantly more than what we have seen over the last four, five years' DeVeydt said at a Morgan Stanley health-care conference" (Brin, 9/13).