While much has been said on how health care reform will impact sponsorship activity in the health insurance category, most players continue to use the medium to accomplish two primary objectives: Promote health and wellness and community involvement.

And companies are increasingly signing new deals to promote those objectives. Case in point: Humana, Inc. earlier this year kicked off its multiyear title of the Humana Challenge PGA Tour golf tournament, while Kaiser Permanente last year expanded a partnership with the NBA Golden State Warriors to become the team’s presenting sponsor for the 2011/2012 season.

In addition, UnitedHealth Group, Inc. recently came on board as the presenting sponsor of two 5K races hosted by Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia.

In keeping with their mission of promoting healthy lifestyles, health insurance companies typically activate sponsorship by promoting health and well-being. For example, Humana activated the Humana Classic by offering on-site health screenings, while Kaiser Permanente has leveraged the Golden State Warriors by creating healthy food options sold in Oracle Arena.


Aetna Inc.
151 Farmington Ave.
Hartford, CT 06156

Floyd Green, vice president, community relations and urban marketing

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: Marketer of health, life and other insurance products has expanded its sponsorship portfolio over the past year, including new deals with the AHL Connecticut Whale and WTA New Haven Open at Yale. Aetna uses sponsorship to accomplish three primary goals: promote healthy lifestyles, improve local communities and engage minority populations. “Aetna is very much interested in making sure that all people get the information they need to make informed decisions about their health,” said Green. Aetna activates through educational messaging and activities that encourage healthy behavior, such as the Aetna Kids Zone at the New Haven Open. The company also leverages the event to engage employees through volunteer opportunities.

Current deals: AHL Connecticut Whale; The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford, Conn.; Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon; ING Hartford Marathon; Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Va.; Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run (Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla.); Musikfest, Bethlehem, Penn.; PGA Tour Travelers Championship, Cromwell, Conn.; Taste of Atlanta; Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla.; USTA US Open; WTA New Haven Open at Yale.

Additional comments: Aetna over the past two years has promoted healthy cooking through the Aetna Healthy Food Fight mobile marketing program. The program visited four events in 2011 including the LA County Fair; State Fair of Texas and Taste of Atlanta. AHL Connecticut Whale sponsorship affords title of the team’s amateur hockey program and clean team of the month award. Uses Aetna Voice of Conscience Awards to honor people who emulate tennis legend Arthur Ashe’s commitment to humanitarian ideals; Ashe served on the Aetna board of directors from 1983 until his death in 1993.


Cigna Corp.
900 Cottage Grove Rd.
Bloomfield, Conn. 06002

Patty Caballero, director of sponsorships

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: Cigna largely focuses on its four-year-old presenting sponsorship of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, an event it uses to build visibility and position itself as a health advocate. The company activated the 2012 event with a tie-in with the Achilles Freedom Team, a running team comprised of wounded veterans. Cigna in 2011 announced a new partnership with the AHL Connecticut Whale, a sponsorship that affords title of the team’s Hockey in the Streets youth outreach program. Cigna in 2011 moved its corporate headquarters from Philadelphia to Bloomfield, Conn.

Current deals: Co-title: Cigna/Elliot 5K Corporate Road Race, Manchester, N.H. Presenting: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Co-presenting: NBC Connecticut Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride. Cosponsor: AHL Connecticut Whale; March of Dimes’ March for Babies; NFL Houston Texans; PGA Tour AT&T National; Pittsburgh Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

Additional comments: Cigna in 2011 partnered with www.DailyFeats.com to promote its Go You brand campaign. The company dropped title of Massachusetts’ Falmouth Road Race after the 2010 event.


Humana, Inc.
500 W. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202

Ed Farley, director, brand advertising and sponsorship

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: Humana over the past few years has placed more focus on sponsorship to support its ‘well-being’ brand positioning and encourage consumers to lead active, healthy lives. The company this year activated its new title of the Jan. 14-20 Humana Challenge PGA Tour stop by distributing pedometers and offering body mass and other health screenings to attendees. “Sponsorship gives us the opportunity to connect with our audience and bring our brand to life,” said Farley. Hosts brokers and agents at the Humana Challenge and other PGA Tour events.

Current deals: Title: PGA Tour Humana Challenge, La Quinta, Calif. Presenting: Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Ky.; Cosponsor: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl; Chicago Flower & Garden Show; Churchill Downs; Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; National Senior Games; Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo.; PGA Tour; Taste of Chicago.

Additional comments: Sponsors Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on behalf of Humana Military Healthcare Services. Sponsors Dollywood and Silver Dollar City as a platform to promote Medicare products to seniors. Leverages Taste of Chicago by promoting healthy food options to attendees.


Kaiser Permanente
1 Kaiser Plaza
Oakland, Calif. 94612

Diane Gage-Lofgren, senior vice president, communications & public relations

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: Kaiser Permanente offers health care services through a network of more than 15,000 physicians and two dozen hospitals.  While the company is national, it focuses sponsorship activity on properties located in California and Colorado. For example, Kaiser Permanente in late 2011 expanded its partnership with the NBA Golden State Warriors with presenting status of the team’s 2011/2012 season. The company titles marathons and other endurance sports events to support its ‘thrive’ brand campaign and promote healthy lifestyles.

Current deals: Title: Colfax Marathon, Colorado; Great Aloha Run, Hawaii; San Francisco Half Marathon & 5K Fun Run; Southern California Half Marathon & 5K. Presenting: AHL Lake Erie Monsters; California Int’l Marathon, Sacramento; NBA Golden State Warriors. Cosponsor: Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, Calif.; MLB Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Los Angeles Dodgers; Napa Valley Marathon; Nautica Malibu Triathlon; Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade presented by Honda; San Francisco Fleet Week; San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.

Additional comments: Kaiser Permanente has leveraged the Golden State Warriors by creating healthy food options sold at Oracle Arena.


UnitedHealth Group, Inc.
United Health Center
9900 Bren Rd., East
Minnetonak, MN 55343

Diane Slayton, vice president, consumer marketing

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: Like other health insurance companies, UnitedHealth Group has expanded its sponsorship portfolio over the past year. Deals include jersey sponsorship of the MLS New England Revolution and a renewal of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. The company uses both ties to promote healthy living: Members of the pro cycling team made more than 30 appearances at hospitals, schools and community events in 2011.

Current deals: Title: Momentum Sports Group pro cycling team. Cosponsor: Amgen Tour of California cycling race; March of Dimes; MLB New York Mets; MLS New England Revolution; New Jersey Marathon; Temple University athletics; University of Pennsylvania athletics.

Additional comments: UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team runs through 2015.