Lebanon Businessnews News

U.S. health insurer
starts Beirut operation
Fortune 100 company

acquires Zurich Middle East

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U.S.-based health and wellness insurance company Cigna Corporation has launched local operations. Headquartered in Beirut, it will operate throughout the Middle East.

Cigna announced today it has purchased Zurich Insurance Middle East, which was also based in Beirut. It will operate in the region through Zurich’s insurance license. Zurich will be rebranded with time under Cigna. Due to its license, Cigna will be present in the UAE, Kuwait, and Oman.

Jason Sadler, President of International Markets at Cigna, said: “The Middle East region as a whole is a market we have identified as very attractive from a growth opportunity. We have been working with local partners in the region for the past 15 years.”

He said that working with local insurance companies by providing international services is “what got us excited to work in the region and drove us to acquire this entity.”

“We view the market as dynamic, especially in light of several factors: The rise of chronic diseases, people’s need for accessible affordable quality healthcare and because we can differentiate ourselves from others,” he said.

“A lot of Lebanese travel and have property around the world. We have access to over a million healthcare providers and nine call centers around the world. It is the size of the network and scope of capabilities that differentiate us from local competitors,” said Howard Gough, CEO of the MENA region.

The company has not yet chosen a third party administrator.

Arthur Cozad is the CEO of Cigna Middle East. Although the interim manager for the local branch has yet to be appointed, Carlos Saba, previously the assistant General Manager of Zurich, is a candidate.

“The asset was available, but we also see great benefit because we see a strong health and insurance talent pool. The globally mobile nature of the locals will help us tap into our international services, which really gives us an edge,” Gough said.

Cigna, a publically listed company in the U.S., has access to more than 95 million customers and has $39.7 billion in revenues. It is a Fortune 100 company.

U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said: “I hope Cigna will open the door for other American companies to access the local market, because it is one of the biggest and most successful companies. If this kind of experts found the market interesting, other experts will as well.”
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jul 10, 2017
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