Health Insurer Humana Opens Review for Possible $100 Million Account

Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic to Pitch Business That Includes Digital, Media and Creative

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NEW YORK ( -- Health insurance marketer Humana has kicked off a holding-company review involving at least three ad giants -- WPP, Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group of Cos. The wide-ranging pitch is expected to encompass direct, digital, creative and media duties, industry executives said.

Spokespeople for the holding companies referred calls to the client or could not immediately be reached. One agency network, Havas' Euro RSCG, is also believed to be vying for Humana's ad account, but a representative there did not respond by deadline.

A spokesman for the insurer confirmed the search to Ad Age but would not comment beyond saying that a "final decision [is] expected by early April 2010." Meetings are taking place this week between agency teams and Louisville, K.Y.-based Humana, executives said.

Two people familiar with the matter told Ad Age the account is worth upward of $100 million in billings. But according to Kantar Media figures, Humana spent $55 million on domestic measured media between January and November of 2009, down from $77 million in 2008.

Humana predominantly buys local and direct-response spots and relies heavily on direct mail.

Cost efficiencies
For a pitch at the holding-company level, the fee on the business isn't sizable; according to people familiar with the matter, the collective revenue for the account is in the range of $5 million to $10 million. The insurance provider is believed to work with several different agencies, and the review is said to be in driven, at least in part, to drive cost efficiencies.

Humana announced this week it will cut 1,400 jobs, or 5% of its workforce, over the course of the year, despite an increase in revenues. For the fourth quarter of 2009 the company reported revenue of $7.63 billion, up 2% over the $7.49 billion it reported for the same period last year. For all of 2009 the company's revenue increased 7% to $30.9 billion from $28.9 billion in 2008.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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