Cigna expands Middle Eastern reach with joint venture

Cigna continues to expand its international reach, launching a new joint venture focusing on health and wellness in the Middle East.

This time the insurer is joining forces with the Saudi Arabian Insurance Company (SAICO), which it has partnered with for 11 years selling health, wellness and insurance products to employers and other groups in the Middle East, reported the Hartford Courant.

Cigna and SAICO will each own 50 percent of the new joint venture, which will be a stand-alone company selling health, wellness and insurance products to regional and multi-national employers and organizations throughout the Middle East, according to an announcement from both organizations.

The move further improves Cigna's position in the Middle East, which boasts a huge market and growth opportunities. Cigna has long considered the Middle East an important part of its global strategy, reported the Gulf Daily News.

"We want to deepen our commitment to serve the local population as well as the globally mobile workforce on assignment in the region," Andrew Kielty, president of Cigna Global Health Benefits, said in a statement. "SAICO is a well-regarded general insurance company in the region and in partnering together, we have developed a solid reputation in the marketplace through our collective strength and focus, market knowledge, vast network and combined service proposition."

Cigna and SAICO will announce the new company's name and and headquarters after the deal is finalized, the Courant noted.

To learn more:
- here's the Cigna and SAICO statement
- read the Hartford Courant article
- check out the Gulf Daily News article