Bright Health, Clover Health CEOs led insurance compensation in 2021

CEOs at some of the nation’s largest insurance companies raked in tens of millions of dollars a piece last year, with insurtech leaders easily topping the list in terms of total compensation, according to data AIS Health published this month.

Clover Health awarded CEO Vivek Garipalli with $389.6 million in total compensation, which consisted entirely of stock awards, in 2021, according to the AIS Health analysis of insurance company documents and regulatory filings.

Since going public in January 2021, Clover Health suffered financially; the company reported a net loss of $75.3 million in the third quarter of this year. As a result, Garipalli will likely only see a fraction of those stock awards, said Ari Gottlieb, principal at A2 Strategy Group. “You take them for what they are, which is: These are fantasy numbers for fantasy companies,” he said. Clover Health shares closed at $1.13 on Friday, a 93% plunge from its $15.30 initial public offering.

Clover Health announced in August that President Andrew Toy will replace Garipalli as CEO on Jan. 1. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Similarly, Oscar Health awarded CEO Mario Schlosser with $60.8 million in total compensation, also largely based on stock awards. The company announced last month that it would exit almost all Medicare Advantage markets next year. Oscar Health closed at $2.68 Friday, a 94% decline since its shares debuted in March 2021.

“Our executive compensation program, which includes Mr. Schlosser, follows the same principles we apply to our broader employee compensation program,” an Oscar Health spokesperson wrote in an email. “It includes a mix of base salary that recognizes their individual roles and responsibilities, an annual bonus tied to our annual goals and equity grants tied to our longer-term business goals.”

Bright Health Group’s compensation package for CEO Mike Mikan last year was $180.8 million, about 99% of which were stock and option awards. Bright Health recently raised $175 million to curb its financial losses, which exceeded $430 million in the third quarter. Bright Health shares closed Friday at $0.82, 95% lower than its $18 IPO in June 2021.

Bright Health, which declined to comment, stands out in that it awarded Mikan a $1.3 million bonus despite the company’s woes, and continues to give him more shares, Gottlieb said.

Newer companies tend to focus more on equity compensation and be conservative on salary so they can reinvest that cash into the business, said Ed Steinhoff, managing director at consulting firm Pearl Meyer.

Among legacy insurers, Florida Blue and Centene offered their top executives the highest compensation.

Guidewell Mutual Holding, the holding company for Florida Blue, awarded CEO Patrick Geraghty $24.6 million in total compensation, including a $1.3 million base salary, a $4.8 million bonus and $18.5 million in other compensation, which typically includes additional executive benefits. His compensation grew 11.5% from 2020.

Centene CEO Michael Neidorff, who died this April, was awarded $20.64 million in total compensation last year, including a $1.8 million base salary and $12.8 million in stock awards. Neidorff’s compensation declined 17.3% from the previous year.

Here is a summary of how much other large health insurance companies compensated their chief executives in 2021:

  • Molina Healthcare CEO Joseph Zubretsky: $120 million in total compensation; 12.1% increase; includes $1.5 million in base salary and $15 million in stock awards.
  • Cigna CEO David Cordani: $19.9 million in total compensation; 0.3% decrease; includes $1.5 million in base salary and $11.8 million in stock awards.
  • Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux: $19.4 million in total compensation; 13.1% increase; $1.6 million in base salary and $9.9 million in stock awards
  • UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty: $18.4 million in total compensation; 43.4% increase; includes $1.5 million in base salary and $10.8 million in stock awards.
  • Humana CEO Bruce Broussard: $16.5 million in total compensation; 0.2% increase; includes $1.4 million in base salary and $9.8 million in stock awards.

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