This excerpt taken from the UNH DEF 14A filed Apr 23, 2009.
The Compensation Committees Use of an Independent Compensation Consultant
The Compensation Committees practice has been to retain independent compensation consultants to advise the Compensation Committee on executive and director compensation matters, assess total compensation program levels and program elements for executive officers and evaluate
competitive compensation trends. From mid-2006 through 2008, the Compensation Committee retained Semler Brossy Consulting Group, LLC (Semler Brossy) as its compensation consultant. Semler Brossy took directions from, and reported directly to, the Compensation Committee and did not perform any work for management except at the direction of the Compensation Committee. In February 2009, the Compensation Committee retained Towers Perrin to act as its compensation consultant. Prior to retaining Towers Perrin, the Compensation Committee considered prior relationships that Towers Perrin had with the Company and the health benefits consulting services that Towers Perrin provides to certain customers of the Company. The Compensation Committee concluded that Towers Perrin is an independent compensation consultant under the Board of Directors recently enacted policy regarding the use of an independent compensation consultant.
In 2009, the Board of Directors adopted a policy formalizing the Compensation Committees practice of using an independent compensation consultant. The policy provides that if the Compensation Committee does not use an independent consultant, the Company will disclose the consultants lack of independence in its proxy statement and disclose by appropriate category the aggregate payments made to the consultant. The consultant will not be considered independent if it or any member of its affiliated group is paid by the Company or its affiliates for any services or products not provided at the direction and under the supervision of the Compensation Committee in an amount that exceeds 2% of the affiliated groups consolidated gross revenues. In addition, the consultant will not be deemed independent if the individuals providing services to the Compensation Committee provide any services or products to the Company, its affiliates or management that are not provided at the direction and under the supervision of the Compensation Committee.