Cigna starts search for new AOR

BLOOMFIELD, CT: Cigna issued an RFP to eight undisclosed agencies as part of a search for a global AOR.

BLOOMFIELD, CT: Cigna issued an RFP to eight undisclosed agencies as part of a search for a global AOR.

Maggie FitzPatrick, chief communications officer at the health insurer, said that while the selected firm may be asked to provide public affairs counsel, the goal of the relationship will focus on “advancing the business interests of the company.”

“It's about long-term integrated communications for the enterprise,” she said.

A former EVP at APCO Worldwide, FitzPatrick was named CCO at Cigna in August.

The RFP was sent to eight agencies on February 4. Cigna plans to narrow the eight agencies down to two finalists with a selection expected to be made March 31. Budget was not available.

FitzPatrick said Cigna is seeking a firm to provide integrated communications services that will focus on three areas: "value-added" customer engagement, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility.

She noted that the customer engagement part of Cigna's strategy includes engagement with employer groups and businesses as well as direct-to-consumer outreach.

The insurer has worked with a number of agencies in recent years, including Hill & Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard, and APCO Worldwide. It is understood that the company's last AOR relationship was with Weber Shandwick in 2001.

Cigna reported a higher-than-expected 40% increase in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2010, citing the fact that people used fewer medical services last year.

CEO David Cordani told media outlets that Cigna's 2011 outlook is "clearly affected" by the new healthcare reform law, which requires health insurers to spend at least 80% of premiums on medical care. The law is also seen as a potential boon for insurers as the Congressional Budget Offices reports the industry may gain up to 32 million new customers by 2019. 

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