Philadelphia based health insurance firm Independence Blue Cross (IBC) has posted its first growth since 2008 by adding 45,020 members last year, for the Center City nonprofit, which serves nearly 3.1 million people.

IBC president and chief executive Daniel Hilferty said the company continued its recovery from losses in 2008 and 2009 and expected to report an improvement over 2010, when it had a profit margin of 2.2%.

"We have enough income to invest in the technologies, the programs, the partnerships that we need … to truly transform the way health care is delivered, improve quality, and drive down costs," Hilferty added.

Hilferty said that IBC has adapted by selling individual insurance policies and does not expect traditional employer-based insurance to end.

IBC membership declined by 9% to 3.1 million from 3.4 million between 2005 and 2010 while in the Philadelphia region alone, the drop-off was higher by 15% to 2.2 million from 2.6 million.

According to Florida based Weiss Ratings, IBC’s Pennsylvania market share by subscribers fell to 13.39% in 2010 from 15.52% in 2009.