Study: BCBS Health Insurance CEOs Paid Less, Many Provide Higher Returns Per Dollar of CEO Pay than Larger Competitors

Reading, PA (PRWEB) December 23, 2013

Chief Executive Officers at Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield (BCBS) organizations earned significantly less than their counterparts at the large for profit insurance companies yet, in many cases, provided higher returns per dollar of CEO pay, according to a recent study by HR+Survey Solutions (, a leading compensation consulting and research firm.

The study revealed that the average total direct compensation (TDC) for the CEOs of BCBS organizations is only about 25 percent of the average level of pay reported in proxies for the large publicly held health insurance companies while executives return an average of $ 2,000 in premium revenue per dollar of CEO pay and some BCBS organizations boasted returns upwards of $ 4,000 per dollar of CEO pay. Although the CEOs of the larger for profit insurance companies average a return of $ 2,800 per dollar of CEO pay, the figure does not account for the added expense of the larger and highly paid senior staff required to run these companies.

The findings are based on the eighth annual Executive Total Potential Remuneration (TPR) Compensation, Benefits and Perquisites Survey which assessed pay for the CEO and other executive positions at 19 BCBS organizations.

Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield organizations are a great example of how companies can provide targeted regional health insurance solutions and effectively manage their resources, says Judy Canavan, managing partner, HR+Survey Solutions.

The shift in CEO pay over the last five years has been more toward variable compensation. Annual and long-term incentives comprise about 56 percent of the pay package in 2012, vs. 46 percent in 2007. This is still significantly less leveraged than publically held companies. The variable pay for general industry mid cap companies comprises over 75 percent of the pay package; for large publically held health insurers, its approximately 90 percent of their compensation package.

There is a war for talent right now, particularly in this industry. If you want to attract top talent, you have to pay them well, and that requires creative thinking around compensation, explains Canavan. Im seeing a lot of room to grow the use of performance-based annual and long term incentives for the top team members. BCBS organizations could expand the use of long-term bonuses to better align pay with company performance, she adds.

Other study highlights

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