Hacker Group opens health insurance practice

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Seattle-based direct agency Hacker Group introduced a health insurance practice on March 29. The HealthHG unit is led by Jill Kaufman, VP of account services, and Tom Reid, chief strategist.

"We've realized how different insurance marketing is from some of our other work," Kaufman said. "Not only is it highly regulated, but the changes to regulations are frequent. We had to develop different processes and strategies internally, so we decided to really fortify that commitment with a different brand.”

Thirty of Hacker's 160 employees work for the group, which serves clients including Highmark Blue Shield, EmblemHealth and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Kaufman said that one of Hacker's goals is to expand the breadth of client campaigns.

"We've mostly focused on the acquisition side, but we're hoping that the retention practice is really going to grow with the new healthcare legislation and the tremendous focus on wellness," she said.

The agency also wants to make its knowledge of regulation more prominent so it can take on new health clients, especially after last week's passage of the long-debated healthcare reform bill, said Kaufman.

"We do expect that our expertise in the category is going to be more meaningful with reform," she said.

A number of agencies have increased their healthcare capabilities over the past year. Razorfish Health opened March 1, and Rosetta acquired healthcare agency Wishbone on January 8. Last year, the Loomis Group entered a healthcare partnership with Capella Advisors and Merkle opened a practice area dedicated to the sector.

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