WellPoint Is Now Anthem

Health insurer aims for more consumer-focused identity

The second largest insurer in the U.S., WellPoint, has decided to rebrand as Anthem, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

The company decided to adopt the WellPoint name after merging with WellPoint Health Networks in 2004, but now will revert back to Anthem. WellPoint already sells insurance under the Anthem brand in states like Indiana, California and Kentucky. The company decided to rebrand to the name more of its consumers are familiar with in response to the federal health law, which created insurance marketplaces in each state, causing a shift to market to individual consumers.

"We believe it is important to call ourselves by the name that people know best—Anthem," CEO Joseph Swedish said in statement released Tuesday afternoon, adding that with the "major pivot" toward a consumer-centric approach, "We're not going to swim upstream anymore."

"My gut is that the WellPoint name means nothing to the man on the street," Christopher Lehmann, executive creative director at branding firm Landor Associates, told The Wall Street Journal. The move made sense, he said, because it would "create a greater sense of seamlessness … that will make more sense to their consumers."

The name change will require a shareholder vote at WellPoint, which is expected for November.