THOUSAND OAKS, CA: The final hurdle for the pending merger between WellPoint and Anthem, the nation's second- and fourth-largest insurance companies, respectively, turns out to be angry outcries from political and consumer advocacy groups in WellPoint's home state.
But Ken Ferber, staff VP of corporate communications, said the company is approaching what has become a familiar challenge with a "cool head and a very sharp mind."
California is the last of 11 states that must approve the merger deal.
A core group of staff from IR, corporate communications, government affairs, and legal has been addressing what it says are factual inaccuracies in media reports, Ferber said.
But groups like the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights have publicly scrutinized the terms of the merger, particularly severance pay for executives. Legislators have called for public hearings around the consequences of creating the nation's largest insurance company.
Ferber emphasized the experience CEO Leonard Schaeffer has as a former state and federal legislator.
"Ingrained in the culture of the company is an understanding of and respect for the regulatory process," Ferber said.
Ferber declined to discuss the course of action that would be taken if California does not approve the merger.