Wellpoint pays for executive security

The company became a target for criticism during the healthcare debate, causing concerns about executive safety.

By Kim Peterson Apr 7, 2010 11:41AM
Health insurance © Don Carstens/JupiterimagesWellpoint (WLP) handed President Barack Obama a nice gift in the middle of the healthcare debate. Its Anthem Blue Cross unit decided to raise insurance premiums as much as 39% -- giving much-needed ammunition to Congressional Democrats advocating for changes to the system.

The ill-timed premium increase turned WellPoint into a hot topic, and its president, Angela Braly, justified the move and became the target of criticism from all sides.

Perhaps it's not surprising, then, that Braly was so concerned for her personal safety that Wellpoint spent $151,000 on her security, according to the Footnoted blog. The money went toward bodyguards, a security-enhanced vehicle and an in-home alarm system.

Wellpoint was so worred about the anger brewing over healthcare that it even hired external security experts and reviewed its personal safety policies. The experts apparently recommended more security for Braly.

But, Footnoted writes, "given that Braly’s public profile and subsequent flogging didn’t really become significant until February once Anthem customers began receiving notices of those hefty premium hikes, one can only imagine how much higher those security costs will be for 2010."

How much anger was directed at Wellpoint? Firedog Lake says of the company: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

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