Business Briefs: Anthem gives up bid for Cigna insurance

Business Briefs: Anthem gives up bid for Cigna insurance

May 13th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Anthem gives up bid for Cigna insurance

Anthem has ended its soured, $48 billion bid to buy rival Cigna, but the nation's second-largest health insurer isn't giving up a fight over whether Cigna deserves a termination fee for the scrapped deal.

Anthem said Friday that Cigna sabotaged the merger agreement and caused "massive damages" for Anthem, which provides Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage in several states. It said it plans to "vigorously pursue" its claims against Cigna.

Representatives of Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna Corp. did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Cigna has sought a $1.85 billion termination fee and damages from Anthem.

The Indianapolis-based insurer announced its decision a day after a Delaware judge refused its request to extend a ban blocking Cigna from pulling out of the deal.

The deal, announced in 2015, had already been rejected by a federal judge and an appeals court after antitrust regulators sued last summer to stop it. Anthem Inc. said last week that it would seek a Supreme Court review of the case.

Anthem had said a combination with Cigna would have helped the companies negotiate better prices with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and doctor groups. But critics argued that it would have resulted in fewer choices for health insurance consumers.

Fire station construction starts on Jasper Mountain

Jasper Highlands, owned by Thunder Enterprises, launched construction Friday on a new $500,000 fire station for the mountaintop community near Kimball.

The privately funded station atop Jasper Mountain in Marion County will include four fire engines, equipment storage and adequate room to facilitate various training opportunities. Additionally, the fire station will include a community room that will serve as a welcoming forum and meeting place for residents who wish to become more involved in the department.

The fire station groundbreaking today marks the first year of operation for the volunteer fire department, which earned an ISO Class 4 rating. Both the ISO rating and fire department-based medical assistance were the first of their kind in Marion County.

"The Jasper Highlands Fire Department has put in hours of training in order to provide our community the best protection possible and has exceeded all of our expectations," said John Thornton, owner and developer of Jasper Highlands and CEO of Thunder Enterprises.

Chrysler recalls pickups over air bag problems

Fiat Chrysler is recalling approximately 1 million Ram pickups in North America due to a software glitch that could prevent side air bags and seat belts from deploying during a rollover.

The company's U.S. division said Friday that it is aware of one death, two injuries and two accidents that may be related to the problem.

The recall includes some 2013-16 Ram 1500 and 2500 pickups and 2014-2016 Ram 3500 pickups. It also affects about 216,007 vehicles in Canada, 21,668 in Mexico and 21,530 outside the NAFTA region.

After some trucks experience significant underbody impact, a computer module may incorrectly determine that one of its sensors has failed, temporarily disabling the side air bag and seat belt pretensioner, the company said.

If the vehicle is turned off and then back on, those restraints become functional again.

The company plans to reprogram the software in affected vehicles free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 23.

Apple buys Corning for $200 million

Apple says it will invest $200 million in a rural Kentucky facility that it credits with rescuing the company's signature smartphone from a design flaw that would have led to scratched screens.

The California-based company announced Friday it would give the money to Corning Inc. to use at its facility in Harrodsburg, Ky. Apple and Corning first teamed up 10 years ago when former Apple CEO Steve Jobs ordered the plastic screen on the company's first iPhone to be replaced with a scratch-resistant glass just a few months before the product was to launch.

Since then, Corning says it has made 552 million square feet of its Gorilla Glass product for iPhones and iPads, or roughly enough glass to cover 10,000 football fields.

"All of that work happened right here in Harrodsburg, and Apple owes you a big thank you," Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams told workers at Corning's Harrodsburg facility on Friday.

Williams said the money is the first of $1 billion the company plans to spend on U.S.-based companies from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund.