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Health Insurance HR Execs Get Biggest Base Salary Increase: Survey

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What You Need to Know

  • Top health insurer HR executive base salaries rose an average of 8.3% between 2020 and 2021.
  • Total direct compensation for CEOs increased 23.6%.
  • The increased in the total direct compensation for the CEOs was up from 12.4% between 2019 and 2020.

U.S. health insurers continued to push up the base salaries of top human resources executives in 2021, just as they did in 2020, according to new survey results from BDO USA.

A BDO compensation consulting team found that the base pay of health insurer HR executives who held their posts both in 2020 and in 2021 increased an average of 8.3% in 2021.

The rate of increase was up from 7.6% in 2020.

The HR executives did better, in terms of base pay increases, than health insurers’ CEOs, top financial executives and top legal executives in both 2020 and 2021.

But health insurers increased total compensation more for CEOs than for other top executives.

Total direct compensation — the sum of the base salary, annual incentive pay and long-term incentive pay — increased 23.6% for health insurers in 2021, up from 12.4% in 2020.

The CEOs’ base salaries increased 4.7% in 2020 and 3.9% in 2021. Their annual incentive pay increased 4.9% in 2020 and 8.6% in 2021.

The Survey

BDO is a Chicago-based accounting firm. It gathers health insurer executive compensation by sending insurers a questionnaire every spring.

Participation in the survey is voluntary.

The survey report shows how compensation levels have changed, but it does not show how much the executives were actually getting paid.

What the Numbers Mean

Health insurers may be increasing HR executives’ base salaries partly because they are depending on HR executives to cope with complicated, immediate challenges related to diversity, equity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEOs’ total direct compensation and incentive may be increasing faster than base pay in an effort to reward the CEOs for steering health insurers through the COVID-19 crisis.

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(Image: fizkes/Shutterstock)