Why do we love Insurance Execs?

Yesterday morning I caught New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner advocate for a public health insurance option on Morning Joe.. you can catch the 13 minute video of the conversation here. In the course of the conversation the congressman compared the director of Medicare's $150,000 salary to the mega-millions that insurance company execs make as they collect premiums from us and supervise the disbursement of payments to doctors and hospitals. Curious guy that I am.. I googled a bit and found these numbers:
Aetna CEO: John Rowe
2005: 22.1 mil / 5-year:57.8 mil

Caremark Rx CEO: Edwin M Crawford
2005: 77.9 mil / 5-year: 93.6 mil

Cigna CEO: H. Edward Hanway
2005:13.3 mil / 5-year:62.8 mil

PacifiCare Health CEO: Howard Phanstiel
2005: 3.4 mil / 5-year: 8.5 mil

United Health Group CEO: William W McGuire
2005: 124.8 mil / 5-year: 342 mil

Well Choice CEO: Michael Stocker
2005: 3.2 mil / 5-year: 10.7 mil

WellPoint CEO: Larry Glasscock
2005: 23 mil / 5-year: 46.8 mil
So I was just wondering.. why is it that we love these guys so much? What have they done to merit all this advocacy that they are getting? Are they part of the solution or part of the problem?


  1. Well, someone did say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Insurance and drug company execs are about as close to an enemy as we can have without someone strapping bombs on or pointing guns at us.

  2. It's a free country and a free market, isn't it?

    If our insurance was configured properly, set up like auto or homeowner's insurance, we could take our business elsewhere on an individual basis if we didn't like what people are being paid. As it is, my company could do it with sufficient urging.

    Since when can't for-profit companies do what they want within the law? And since when would a law limiting private enterprise to specific salary limits be anything by either nannyism or socialism?

    Would you like the government telling you what you can pay an employee or yourself?

    I'm surprised at you!

  3. They're no different from executives in any other industry. They rape and pillage the shareholders, just like any other executives do. It's a good old boy system. They sit on each others' boards (for which they pay themselves) and vote themselves ridiculous compensation packages. The shareholders are too clueless to do anything about it because each of us only owns a tiny, tiny fraction of the company.

    The health insurance industry is especially evil though because the system is set up so that they have incentive to collect premiums and deliver as little service as possible. Insurance is the one industry where the less product (service) you can deliver, the more money you make. Couple that with playing with people's lives and you have a recipe for disaster.

  4. Therese,

    I do not want to see the government setting caps on anyone's compensation. Companies should be free to squander their money any way they please. But, I would like to see real competition in the health insurance industry which operates as a virtual monopoly in most parts of the country. Their compensation packages aren't our biggest problem. Far from it. That's just a drop in the ocean.


  5. Free market? Guess your company must let you shop around for insurance TZ.

    I am surprised that you are surprised TZ.. all I am doing is asking a few questions :)

  6. What I find personally offensive about all of this is that a significant number of these executives are making record profits at a time when we are in a serious recession and our premiums are going up, and up, and up...and...why aren't more people at the townhalls up in arms about this?....I just don't understand it.

  7. CEO salaries would be limited if the shareholders had input on compensation. The free market will only destroy investor equity. It will not regulate CEO compensation. Corporations want us to be believe that limiting their salaries will lead to limiting our Freedom. I don't think the government should limit compensation but I do believe that the shareholders should.

    Greed is, as usual, the root cause.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.