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Blues exec pay and bonuses could be target of North Dakota investigation

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Blues exec pay and bonuses could be target of North Dakota investigation
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FARGO - North Dakota's insurance commissioner today is considering a "targeted examination" of executive pay and bonuses and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Adam Hamm said he wants to know more about the health insurer's administrative expenses following reports of a sales reward trip to the Grand Cayman Islands, which could cost up to $227,500, and executive compensation.

The North Dakota Blues just filed executive pay figures with state regulators showing CEO Mike Unhjem received total compensation, including salary and bonus, totaling $664,431 in 2008.

The year before, Unhjem's total compensation was $523,769, an increase of $140,662, or almost 27 percent.

Hamm said the trip expenses and executive pay increases come at a time of a national financial crisis and when the Blues are seeking premium increases of 15 to 20 percent and experienced a loss last year of $28 million.

"The policy holder looks at that and can't rationally understand that," Hamm said. "It just does not compute."

Hamm said he wants to get a "complete picture" of the Blues' administrative expenses.

Meanwhile, the company's board of directors met this morning and is expected to issue a statement today.

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