It apparently will take more than a visit from the Dali Lama to rebuild Conseco’s name and reputation as a stable financial services leader in Medicare supplement, long-term care, life and annuity products.
The Dali Lama is scheduled to appear today at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, so named after the insurer some ten years ago and current home to the Indiana Pacers and Fever sports teams.
But even as the Conseco name lives on, the Carmel, Ind., insurer announced its shareholders had overwhelmingly approved a rebranding of the parent company, including name and logo.
The move follows Conseco’s annual meeting and first-quarter earnings report, which reflected 1Q profit rising 38% on fewer costs, write-downs and edged the insurer just above financial analysts' prediction for operating profit.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Conseco fared better recently thanks to improved stock markets, after last year was sullied by large losses from discontinued operations. The company has narrowed its focus to a few businesses where it has competitive advantages and has shifted to more customer-driven rather than product-driven operations, said the report.
Originally known as Security Life of Indiana, and once known as a formidable competitor, Conseco plans to call itself CNO Financial Group Inc. The company said the switch will help distinguish the holding company from its main insurance units, Bankers Life, Colonial Penn and Washington National.
The new name, which includes the company's stock ticker symbol, establishes "a unique identity that investors will recognize and that all our stakeholders will be able to keep separate from the identities of our principal insurance companies," CEO Jim Prieur said in a statement.
Prieur has served as CEO since joining the company in 2006, and saw the company through a 2002 bankruptcy filing. The filing came years after the company’s $6 billion purchase of Green Tree, a mobile-home lender. Ultimately, Conseco Finance Corp. was sold to CFN Holdings, whilst Conseco Finance became insolvent after it failed to make a $4.7 million payment. The insurer’s solvency was again under question in 2009.
The company said it will launch a new website, CNOinc.com, today. It had announced plans for the name change in March.
Also at Tuesday's annual meeting, shareholders elected 10 directors including: R. Glenn Hilliard, Donna A. James, R. Keith Long, Charles W. Murphy, Debra J. Perry, C. James Prieur, Neal C. Schneider, Michael T. Tokarz, John G. Turner and David K. Zwiener to serve one-year terms, and approved the insurer's 2010 pay for performance bonus plan.
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