Director independence standards
The Board has established guidelines to assist it in determining Director independence.
Independence Standards for Directors
To be considered independent under the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. ("NYSE") rules, the Board must determine that a Director has no material relationship with Aetna (either directly or as a partner, shareholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with Aetna). The Board has established these guidelines to assist it in determining Director independence.
a. An Aetna Director is not independent if:
i. The Aetna Director is, or has been within the last three years, an employee of Aetna, or an immediate family member is, or has been within the last three years, an executive officer of Aetna.
ii. The Aetna Director has received, or has an immediate family member who has received (other than in a non-executive officer employee capacity), during any twelve-month period within the last three years, more than $120,000 in direct compensation from Aetna, other than director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service).
iii. The Aetna Director is a current partner or employee, or an immediate family member is a current partner, of Aetna's internal or external auditor.
iv. The Aetna Director has an immediate family member who is a current employee of Aetna's internal or external auditor and such family member personally works on Aetna's audit.
v. The Aetna Director or an immediate family member was within the last three years (but is no longer) a partner or employee of Aetna's internal or external auditor and personally worked on Aetna's audit within that time.
vi. The Aetna Director or an immediate family member is, or has been within the last three years, employed as an executive officer of another company where any of Aetna's present executives at the same time serves or served on that company's compensation committee.
vii. The Aetna Director is a current employee, or an immediate family member is a current executive officer, of a company that has made payments to or received payments from, Aetna for property or services in an amount which, in any of the last three fiscal years, exceeds the greater of $1 million, or two percent of the other company's consolidated gross revenue.
b. In addition, the following commercial or charitable relationships will not be considered to be material relationships that would impair a Director's independence: (i) if an Aetna Director is an executive officer of another company that is indebted to Aetna, or to which Aetna is indebted, and the total amount of either company's indebtedness to the other is less than five percent of the total consolidated assets of the company he or she serves as an executive officer; (ii) if an Aetna Director is an executive officer of another company in which Aetna owns a common stock interest, and the amount of the common stock interest is less than five percent of the total shareholders equity of the company he or she serves as an executive officer; and (iii) if an Aetna Director serves as an executive officer of a charitable organization, and Aetna's discretionary charitable contributions to the organization are less than two percent of that organization's annual revenue. (Aetna's automatic matching of employee charitable contributions will not be included in the amount of Aetna's contributions for this purpose.) A commercial relationship in which a Director is an executive officer of another company that owns a common stock interest in Aetna will not be considered to be a material relationship which would impair a Director's independence. The Board will annually review commercial and charitable relationships of Directors.
c. For relationships outside the safe-harbor guidelines in (b) above, the determinations of whether the relationship is material or not, and therefore whether the Director would be independent or not, shall be made by the Directors who satisfy the independence guidelines set forth in (a) and (b) above. For example, if a Director is the executive officer of a charitable organization, and Aetna's discretionary charitable contributions to the organization are more than two percent of that organization's annual revenue, the independent Directors could determine, after considering all of the relevant circumstances, whether such a relationship was material or immaterial, and whether the Director should therefore be considered independent. Aetna would explain in its proxy statement the basis for any Board determination that a relationship was immaterial, despite the fact that it did not meet the safe-harbor for immateriality set forth in subsection (b) above.
In addition, members of certain Board Committees, such as the Audit Committee, are subject to heightened standards of independence under various rules and regulations.
September 26, 2008