In another sign of how insurance companies are jockeying for position in a fast-consolidating environment, Cigna Corp. agreed to sell its individual life and annuity operations to Lincoln National Corp. for $1.4 billion in cash.

The transaction comes on the heels of Cigna's purchase of Healthsource Inc., a managed-care company, for about $1.7 billion, and Lincoln National's sale of its property-casualty business, American States Financial Corp., to Safeco Corp. for $2.82 billion.

For Cigna's part, the sale to Lincoln National refines its strategy of focusing on health-care and employee benefits. And the deal reinforces Lincoln National's goal of becoming a top seller of life insurance, retirement benefits, and annuities.

Cigna no longer will sell annuities, and its individual life-insurance sales will be limited to international business, the company said.

The transaction adds about $37 billion of individual life insurance in force to Lincoln National, more than doubling the size of its life insurance business, said Larry Mayewski, a senior vice president with A.M. Best Co., a rating agency.

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