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Michigan Blues' CEO Daniel J. Loepp Reinforces Company's Commitment to Minority Business Partners

Doing business with minority-owned firms helps Michigan's economy

DETROIT, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is striving to further develop its partnerships with Michigan's Minority Business Enterprises and is dedicated to working to address the economic and health security needs of Michigan's diverse communities, Blues' President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp said Thursday.

As the keynote speaker on the final day of the three-day Minority Procurement Conference held at Cobo Center in Detroit, Loepp addressed nearly 3,500 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) owners and representatives of their companies.

"Blue Cross views Michigan's diversity, represented within our state's multitude of minority-owned enterprises, as an asset and competitive advantage for our state," Loepp said. "Diversity within our company's supplier network likewise is a competitive advantage for the Blues. It helps the Blues do business better and more efficiently, and it helps our local economies and workforces."

In a recent survey, 53 percent of MBE owners polled indicated the current Michigan marketplace is not conducive to growing their businesses. But Loepp pledged that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to helping MBEs who want to remain here and build their businesses in the state.

Loepp thanked the Michigan Minority Business Development Council for selecting Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as Corporation of the Year in Health Care for consecutive years in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, the Michigan Blues exceeded their corporate goal for doing business with diverse suppliers by 51 percent -- procuring more than $59 million in goods and services from MBEs or combined minority and women-owned businesses.

The Blues President and CEO characterized minority and women-owned businesses as an economic engine in Michigan, accounting for more than $12 billion in revenue annually and employing more than 30,000 people.

Loepp noted that BCBSM scored in the 87th percentile on a "best practices" scorecard that DiversityInc magazine uses to grade more than 400 large national companies. The Blues were in 10th percentile in supplier diversity when measured with all these companies and scored 30 percentage points higher than the national benchmark for organizations of similar size.

"The partnerships we have with Minority Business Enterprises are critical to our success," Loepp said. "That is not only because our diverse vendors provide quality goods and services at fair prices. It's often because they are best-in-class businesses that help us run our own extremely complex business well."

Loepp acknowledged that providing health insurance for employees and their families is a major concern for MBEs and has become an even larger issue due to the difficult economy.

"Blue Cross is committed to sustaining relationships with Michigan's diverse communities by understanding unique challenges and offering quality health coverage that meets specific needs," Loepp said. "More than any other health insurer, Blue Cross is committed to representing Michigan's diversity in the employees we hire, the products we offer and the companies we choose to have as partners."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is nonprofit and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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