Aetna Sets The Record Straight

I am astounded that BUSINESS WEEK could so wrongly interpret Aetna's strategy ("Aetna's Brave Old World," Finance, Mar. 30). This strategy has been clearly and consistently articulated the same way for the past three years.

I am equally mystified as to how anyone could miss the point that the $1 billion acquisition of NYLCare, a managed-care company with 2.2 million members, represents "another important step in our strategy of continuing to grow our health business," as we stated in our Mar. 16 press release announcing the deal. To conclude otherwise defies all logic.

Abandoning our strategy would make no sense at a time when managed care, which meets the customer need for access to affordable, high-quality health care, continues to grow at double-digit rates. We were a leader in managed care prior to this acquisition, which unquestionably strengthens our position.

In addition, among the other numerous inaccuracies in your story is a serious misstatement of fact that is misleading to our customers: Far from having been sold, our annuity business is going strong, with more than $32 billion in customer assets under management at yearend 1997, up 23% over 1996.

Further, I never made the statement that "we are an insurance company." What I have said consistently is that since 1995, when we decided we could no longer be all things to all people, Aetna's strategy has been to focus on the two areas that matter most to people--their health and their financial security--and to be a leader in those businesses in the U.S. and

in selected international markets.

Richard L. Huber

President and CEO



Editor's note: The story misstated Aetna's strategy. We regret the error.

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