Mountain of mergers transforming industry

by Donald Horne14 Aug 2015
The recent spate of mergers and takeovers is changing the landscape of the life insurance industry, with execs heralding the trend as transforming health care for consumers.

“The complementary nature of our businesses will allow us to leverage the deep global health care knowledge, local market talent, and expertise of both organizations to ensure that consumers have access to affordable and personalized solutions across diverse life and health stages,” said David M. Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, following the recent takeover of his company by Anthem Inc.

The takeover is expected to place the company at more than $115 billion in pro forma annual revenues for 2015, with some 53 million medical members.

The takeover is part of an industry-wide trend of mergers, consolidations and takeovers – which has been accelerating since the early1980s as firms look to remain competitive, as was the case in July when Aetna Inc. announced plans to purchase Humana for $34 billion (US).

Earlier this week, it was a Japan-based life insurance carrier Sumitomo Life that acquired Washington State’s Symetra Life for $3.8 billion (US).

Here in Canada, the life landscape changed dramatically in June with the $18 billion merger of Willis Group Holdings and Towers Watson.

As the Willis Group/Towers Watson merger was touted as a joining of complementary businesses, Anthem execs view the Cigna takeover as helping to better position themselves in the market.

“We believe that this transaction will allow us to enhance our competitive position and be better positioned to apply the insights and access of a broad network and dedicated local presence to the health care challenges of the increasingly diverse markets, membership, and communities we serve.,” said Joseph Swedish, president and CEO of Anthem.

The Cigna deal will bring together Anthem’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield footprint in 14 states and Medicaid footprint via its Amerigroup brand in 19 states with Cigna’s broad portfolio of health and protection services.