WellPoint Names Ricochet Public Relations 'Agency of Record'

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WellPoint, Inc., the nation's largest health benefits company, named Ricochet PR its first Agency of Record. WellPoint selected Ricochet to handle its PR account in part because the agency requires all Account Executives to undergo a 6-month healthcare certification program. Additionally, Ricochet developed a customized 6-week WellPoint Training Module for all members of the account team, during which Ricochet executives study health care policy, managed care and the history of WellPoint and its competitors.

Ricochet Public Relations, Inc., a full-service PR firm serving healthcare, technology and industrial clients, today announced it has been named Agency of Record (AOR) for WellPoint, Inc., the nation's largest health benefits company. Ricochet will provide strategic PR services, including corporate branding, media relations and reputation management to WellPoint's corporate team, 14 Anthem and Blue Cross plans, Unicare and the WellPoint Foundation.

"America's health care system is at an historic junction, and choosing the right communications partner has never been more important," said Shannon Troughton, VP of WellPoint. "Our communications team must be able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, and we expect the same from our partners. Our relationship with Ricochet allows us to work with an account team that blends seamlessly with our internal team and our corporate culture."

Ricochet PR has worked with WellPoint since July 2006 on an array of high-profile projects, including WellPoint's announcement of Angela Braly as the company's president and CEO. The communications strategy that accompanied this announcement, which showcased Ms. Braly's deep background in public policy, generated significant media coverage in leading magazines, newspapers and TV stations around the world and contributed to a smooth leadership transition at WellPoint. WellPoint's account team is led by Joshua Silverman, the CEO of Ricochet PR and Banks Willis, who leads Ricochet's Washington D.C. office.

"This is a significant partnership for our company," said Todd Aydelotte, President and Founder of Ricochet Public Relations and finalist for last year's PR Week PR Professional of the Year Award. "While building the WellPoint team over the past 2 years, we worked closely with WellPoint to identify their specific communication needs and then recruited individuals uniquely qualified to meet those needs. In some cases, WellPoint actively participated in the recruitment of candidates who joined the Ricochet team."

Ricochet Public Relations' unique business model requires all staffers to participate in a proprietary six-month training program, known as the Ricochet Publicist Certification ProgramTM, before joining the front lines of any account. In a first for the agency, Ricochet developed a customized WellPoint Training Module for all members of the account team. In addition to mastering Ricochet's healthcare training program, designed and led by Ricochet PR's full-time educator, every member of WellPoint's account team is required to study health care policy, managed care and the history of WellPoint and its competitors.

About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint, Inc. is the largest publicly traded commercial health benefits company in terms of membership in the United States. WellPoint, Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan counties and as Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Blue Cross Blue Shield in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at http://www.wellpoint.com.

About Ricochet Public Relations, Inc.:
Based in New York City, Ricochet is a mid-size, full-service PR firm which works in three practice areas: Technology, Healthcare and Industry. With a broad reputation for media relations, Ricochet is the only PR firm in the world which requires all new publicists to the company to be experts in the fields they work in. Publicists in Ricochet's Technology Group, for example, must study hardware, software, IT, and the Internet for a period of 4-6 months „Ÿ passing two written examinations each week „Ÿ before being "certified" to represent Ricochet clients working in these areas. For developing this innovative business model, and successfully introducing it to a growing audience of Fortune 500 companies, PR Week named Todd Aydelotte, Ricochet's Founder and President, a finalist for its 2007 PR Professional of the Year Award.


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