CNA jumps the hiring gun, says no to full-time PR firm

CHICAGO: CNA Financial Corp., a dollars 17.1 billion insurance giant that had been considering hiring a PR agency of record (PRWeek, August 2), has decided not to do so and instead will continue to work with a variety firms on a project basis.

CHICAGO: CNA Financial Corp., a dollars 17.1 billion insurance giant that had been considering hiring a PR agency of record (PRWeek, August 2), has decided not to do so and instead will continue to work with a variety firms on a project basis.

CHICAGO: CNA Financial Corp., a dollars 17.1 billion insurance

giant that had been considering hiring a PR agency of record (PRWeek,

August 2), has decided not to do so and instead will continue to work

with a variety firms on a project basis.



The insurer, which has shuffled several top executives as part of a

refocusing of its business over the last year, may have been getting

ahead of itself in considering taking on an agency of record, according

to Karen Foley, group VP for corporate development.



’Our business strategy is continuing to take shape,’ she said. ’We might

have been ahead of the curve in looking for an agency.’



Foley would not name the firms with which CNA met before making its

final decision. These reportedly in the hunt included several of the

industry’s biggest names: Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton,

Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Edelman. CNA’s annual business was

estimated to be worth more than dollars 1 million in annual fees.



In lieu of a full-time PR partner, CNA has awarded new project

assignments to Ketchum’s Chicago office and to the Washington, DC-based

Eddie Mahe Co. Foley, though declining to discuss details about the new

assignments, stressed that CNA will continue to work with a wide range

of firms on a project basis.



As part of the business refocusing, CNA has been selling off some

insurance lines and acquiring others. The company maintains a core of

commercial insurance businesses and a business risk management

operation, but also boasts a consumer-based life insurance unit. From a

PR perspective then, there are multiple challenges: addressing

commercial and consumer interests as well as the network of independent

CNA insurance agents.



Recently, Foley has been examining the overall flow of the company’s

marketing efforts. To date, CNA has taken an integrated approach to

communication issues, starting with a business objective and then

deciding which marketing component (PR, ads) can best achieve that

objective.



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