Cigna profit misses Wall Street target as earnings slip in segment

PHILADELPHIA, Thu May 3, 2012 – Insurer Cigna Corp. posted a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit on Thursday, as earnings slipped in its segment offering disability and life coverage policies.

Cigna is the latest health insurer to miss Wall Street’s earnings target in the period, following Aetna Inc., Coventry Health Care and Humana Inc.

Cigna did raise its full-year earnings forecast.

Net income fell to $371 million, or $1.28 per share, from $413 million, or $1.51 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Cigna’s earnings of $1.28 per share fell 2 cents below the analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue jumped 25 percent to $6.79 billion, helped by the acquisition of Medicare specialist HealthSpring.

Profit in the main healthcare segment rose 6.5 percent to $262 million, helped by rising membership in its plans.

But earnings in its disability and life segment fell 16 percent to $65 million. The company cited strategic investments in its disability management programs as a factor pushing down profit.

Cigna forecast 2012 earnings of $5.20 to $5.55 per share. It previously projected $5.00 to $5.40. Analysts have been looking for $5.41.

Ford to pay bonuses, raises for salaried workers; first since 2008

DETROIT ― Ford Motor Co. will give bonuses and merit-based raises to salaried workers in the United States and Canada this spring, the first time the No. 2 U.S. automaker has paid out both since the onset of the financial crisis.

The company will offer an average 2.7 percent salary increase that is based largely on individual performance, Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said.

The raises will be effective April 1 and bonuses will paid in March, Evans added.

Mark Fields, who runs Ford’s operations in North and South America, sent a note last week to 20,000 salaried employees in the United States and Canada confirming that both bonuses and merit pay increases will be offered.

Ford last offered both in 2008, when the U.S. automaker was in the early stages of its turnaround plan “One Ford” under CEO Alan Mulally.

Then in the fall of 2008, investment Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, sending global markets into a tailspin and pushing Ford’s crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC to the brink of collapse.

Ford, the only U.S. automaker not to take a federal bailout, paid neither bonuses nor pay increases in 2009.

In 2010, Ford offered only merit-based pay increases to salaried workers. Last year, salaried employees received only a bonus.