About Health Shield

Why we're different

Since 1877 we’ve put smiles on the faces of our members and provided peace of mind by helping them cover their everyday healthcare needs.

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An award-winning provider of health cash plans, we now cover over 330,000 members and their families.

There’s much more to Health Shield than first meets the eye. We’re a non-profit making Friendly Society. This means we have no shareholders, so all of our surplus funds are reinvested for the good of our members. We’re different in many other ways too.

Were an award-winning health cash plan provider
We’re very proud to have won a number of highly prestigious industry awards. These include ‘Best Health Cash Plan Provider’ at the Health Insurance Awards 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013, COVER Excellence Awards 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 & 2014, Corporate Adviser Awards 2019, 2018, 2016 & 2015 and Reward VIB Awards 2015.

We offer great health benefits
Our health cash plans don’t just provide cashback on such health costs as dental, optical and physiotherapy. They cover many complementary therapies, so our members can improve their health and wellbeing and enjoy less stressful lives.

We offer good value for money
We provide competitively priced products and excellent customer service.

Our members can claim back the costs of everyday healthcare treatments up to annual limits. We also review membership plan contributions and benefits every year, so we can continue to look after and meet the changing needs of our members.

Weve looked after our members for over 140 years
We were established at a time when there was no such thing as the NHS or welfare state. So workers without the money to pay for their healthcare had to find a way to provide for themselves and their families in times of need and sickness. Today, we’re still driven by the same caring and sharing ideals of our founder members.

We pay claims quickly
We’ve got a great reputation for paying claims quickly. In 2018 we processed 99% of claims within 2 working days. We’ve also made a big investment in our IT, so you can claim online and receive the money back into your bank or building society even quicker. To discover more about making a claim, please click here.

Our brand values

We live and breathe our brand values every day. Everyone in our team goes the extra mile for our members and customers and strives to do things even better.

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Were member focused

  • We’re a mutual, not for profit Friendly Society
  • We’re always open, clear and fair – we don’t mislead
  • We provide a quality service and good value, competitive health cash plans
  • Our members can trust and be confident in our transparent, friendly and professional Society

Were continually improving

  • The skills of everyone in the Health Shield team
  • Our claims payments and procedures
  • Our membership and customer service
  • Our member communications
  • Our innovative products in every way from design and development to quality, delivery and price

Were always listening

  • We’re friendly, consultative, interactive and responsive
  • We learn from our communications with all of our stakeholders
  • We really value the needs, concerns and suggestions of all our stakeholders

Vision & values

  • Continuous improvement
  • Our members
  • Our people
  • Our customers
  • Our mutual status
  • Future growth
  • Be the best and deliver what we promise

Our Board

Our Board of Management makes sure our Society is managed in the best interests of our members.

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All of our surplus funds are reinvested for their benefit and we put our members at the heart of every decision we make. We also encourage our Member Representatives to have a big say in the way we run things, inviting them to take part in our Area Meetings and AGM.

  • David Allen


    In my years as Chairman I have seen the Society and its remarkable team blossom in what has been a period of unprecedented growth. Recent industry awards and commendations are a fitting tribute to all the innovation, resolve and hard work which has underpinned this.
    I am proud to report furthermore, that it has been achieved in the toughest of economic and competitive environments without compromising either the creative instincts or dedication to customer care which are at the heart of our corporate belief. It is this belief, and the success which it has brought, which will continue to drive our future development.

  • Alan Phizacklea

    Deputy Chairman

    I first became associated with Health Shield in 1974 when as an investment manager I became involved in managing the Society’s investment portfolio. I was appointed a trustee in 1998 and following incorporation of the Society was appointed as a Non-Executive Director.
    Health Shield has grown rapidly over the past few years with great products, fantastic customer service and fully committed staff and Executive, and continues to win many industry awards. With the planned expansion into other areas of health and wellbeing, I am confident that the Society will continue to live up to its Mission Statement of ‘improving people’s lives by being even better tomorrow than we are today’.

  • Philip Wood

    Executive Director

    I help provide leadership, support and direction for the sales and marketing team to achieve Health Shield’s strategic objectives, and have been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing for many years. Health Shield has a clear vision and growth strategy in place as we continue to deliver market leading health and wellbeing products and service propositions, through cost effective channels.
    Our team has delivered another record year of business growth, moving the Society forward in an ever-changing digital landscape. The team have further increased new business volumes and membership numbers to impressive new highs, on a sustainable trajectory, whilst managing all associated risks.
    With the support of all our people, Health Shield has proven the strength of its market leading reputation by winning more major industry Awards. We are committed to delivering Health Shield’s vision and challenging strategic company objectives as we improve our business capability and build on our strengths whilst maximising the opportunities.

  • Courtney Marsh

    Chief Executive

    I have worked at Health Shield since 2010, though have worked with Health Shield since 1999. 2016 was another record breaking year for the Society and it again picked up the leading industry awards for best cash plan. The first year under the Solvency II regime went very smoothly and we look forward to receiving feedback from the regulator on our Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA).
    Operationally the teams performed excellently especially taking into account the growth achieved. 2017 will be a year when we look to streamline our processes even more in order to provide our members with a more efficient and user friendly service. The acquisition of Prevent plc enhances the offering we can provide to our members and I look forward to working to develop this and other propositions over the coming year.

  • David Maddison

    Non-Executive Director

    I was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Society in 2012. My current job is Deputy CEO for RPMI, the executive arm of the Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited. My responsibilities cover trustee and governance services, administration, communications, marketing, corporate finance, technical, policy and client services for all clients of RPMI, both rail and third party. I am also responsible for the finance and information technology functions for the group of companies.
    I want to continue to bring my broad management and governance experience and my passion for customer service to help Health Shield continue to develop as a Society. I already operate within a mutual environment and am a champion of RPMI’s clear communications programme and I want to bring a healthy challenge to the impressive Executive team for the benefit of our members. I am currently chairman of the Business Development and Investment Committee and a member of the Pensions Governance and Risk Committees.
    I am married with 3 children and am a Newcastle United season ticket holder.

  • Michael Carpenter

    Non-Executive Director

    I joined the Board in 2003, after holding a number of posts in the European Commission, the Government Legal Service and the House of Commons, involving complex international negotiations and frequent contact with ministers.
    This experience has taught me the value of combining independence of mind with being an effective ‘team player’. I have had a particular responsibility for treating customers fairly and have chaired the Risk Management Committee. I retired from my post in the House of Commons in September 2016 and have since had more time to devote to the affairs of the Society (as well as becoming a grandfather for the first time).

  • Christopher Chappell

    Non-Executive Director

    I am a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and have had over 23 years’ experience in the financial services sector. It is an honour to be asked to join a team for whom passion about members and customer service is so evidently at the heart of what we do. This passion underpins the fantastic achievements of Health Shield over the past years. It is a privilege to be offered the opportunity to bring my risk and capital management experience to support the future development of our great business.

  • Julie Hansen

    Non-Executive Director

    I have worked within financial services for 20 years and currently run my own consultancy company working with businesses to improve their products and services in addition to coaching sales teams to greater levels of success.
    I strongly support mutuality and I’m delighted to be working with the strong Executive team and staff at Health Shield. I am particularly keen to ensure that the members of Health Shield continue to receive the highest standards of services and best products possible. I am proud to be associated with this award-winning Mutual that looks after, and makes a difference to, its members.

  • Scott Robinson

    Non-Executive Director (Designate)

    I have worked with friendly societies and insurers for over 25 years, both in industry and as a consultant. I am a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and am the CEO and founder of an actuarial and software business that I started in 2016. I am a strong supporter of mutuality and the ethos and culture within mutual organisations. As a member of the Board I am looking forward to being part of Health Shield as it develops its business further, and continues to provide great service and benefits to its members. I have a wide range of experience to bring to the Society, which ranges from financial reporting, capital management, actuarial analytics, pricing and mergers and acquisitions.

  • Cecilia Gannon

    Non-Executive Director

    I am a solicitor and I have worked in the mutual insurance sector for over 25 years. I am currently General Counsel and Company Secretary for a small mutual insurer based in Cheshire and I was delighted to be elected to the board of Health Shield in 2017.
    I am particularly interested in all aspects of corporate governance, risk and compliance which are paramount to a regulated mutual insurer. Health Shield constantly strives to meet the changing needs of its membership and its award winning achievements are testimony to this.
    The Board continually challenge themselves to maintain this progress in a competitive market while at the same time meeting the demands of an ever changing regulatory landscape. It is a privilege to be a member of the Board and to work with such an energetic and talented team.

Our mission

Health Shield will help to improve people’s lives by being even better tomorrow than we are today. Our vision is to improve the health and wellbeing of as many people as possible.

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We’re committed to providing competitively priced products that are sustainable and affordable. We also strive to continually enhance our award-winning reputation in the market.

Trustworthy, friendly and caring, we’ll continue to improve our business performance to benefit our members. While our friendly and dedicated team will always provide excellent customer service.

Role of the Audit Committee

Our Audit Committee helps to ensure we’re managed ethically, fairly and for the benefit of our members.

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Reporting to our Board, they take a close look at our operations to check we’re effectively run in line with our ethos, vision, internal controls and compliance procedures.

They also make sure that we meet our statutory requirements and follow our Society’s principles, policies and practices when we prepare our annual accounts and financial statements.

The Audit Committee monitors the way that Health Shield is run and provides independent assurance to the Board of Management. It is free to act independently of the Executive Team and to investigate and advise on any issue that has been highlighted or it feels needs closer inspection. The Audit Committee is also empowered to obtain information from any officer or employee of the Society and can also seek out independent advice.

Audit Committee responsibilities:

  • Liaise with external auditors and the management team to make sure that the accounting principles, policies and practices used to prepare Health Shield’s accounts and annual financial statements comply with all statutory requirements and accounting standards. A particular focus is on where judgement is exercised to reach conclusions.
  • Ensure that Health Shield has an effective risk management system in place.
  • Recommend ways that the Board of Management can optimise Health Shield’s accounting and financial controls within the risk management framework and policy. It can also recommend the appointment of external and internal auditors, the terms of appointment and the audit fee.
  • Review the performance of Health Shield’s internal control systems.
  • Agree and review the planned internal audit programme with the internal audit team, making sure it fully addresses the key risks in the risk register.
  • Examine and review reports from the internal auditors about internal controls and make sure all recommendations are reviewed and acted on where necessary
  • Provide advice to the Board of Management about the internal control environment, taking into account Health Shield’s risk management framework and the appropriateness of policies and procedures designed to maintain control over transactions and events.
  • Examine and review accounting, risk management and financial controls with internal and external auditors. Also, the Committee must ensure that the planning and co-ordination of internal and external audits provides an appropriate, efficient and cost-effective service.
  • Review and examine audit findings with the external auditors and review and agree the scope of their audit for the following year.
  • Consider summaries of audit findings and request any specific reports.
  • Ensure that Health Shield complies with all relevant sections of the Annotated Corporate Governance Code for Mutual Insurers.
  • Receive the Compliance Manager’s report.
  • Consider FCA and PRA regulatory matters, including the timely submission of statutory returns.
  • Review the draft annual report and accounts to ensure that it presents a fair view of Health Shield’s financial position and that it is clear, balanced and understandable

Note: All recommendations made by the Audit Committee will be subject to the approval of the Board of Management unless the Board of Management has given prior delegated authority for the Audit Committee to act on its behalf.

Whos on the Audit Committee?

The Audit Committee consists of seven members of the Board of Management. Either the Deputy Chair of the Board of Management or the Senior Independent Director will act as Chairman of the Audit Committee.


Health Shield’s Audit Committee usually meets four times per year. At one of these meetings the Committee will meet separately with both the internal auditor and external auditor. The Actuarial Function will attend at least two meetings per year, as well as other Audit Committee meetings as judged appropriate by the Chairman of the Committee. A quorum of four members is required, at least 50% of which must be non-executives. The non-executive members of the Audit Committee may elect to hold a meeting without any executive representation.

If you would like to view our Internal Audit Charter, please click here.

The way we're run

We’re committed to our members and passionate about providing an excellent customer service.

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So, we really value the views of our members and actively encourage member feedback at Area Meetings.

To make sure all of our members have a voice, our members elect member representatives from across the UK. They can be a member you know or a colleague in your workplace who is part of the same scheme. These member representatives ask questions, raise issues and put forward the views and feelings of our members at our Annual General Meeting and annual area meetings.

Area meetings

We hold four area meetings across the UK in the North, Central region, South West and South East. These usually take place in March. At these meetings our senior management team gives a presentation, reports on business matters and answers any questions or queries.

Annual General Meeting

This is normally held in May each year. Here we approve matters that are required by law and present our annual report & accounts that are approved by delegates at the meeting.

At our AGM we also elect and re-elect our Board of Management. Each Non-Executive Director is elected for a period of three years and retires at the relevant AGM. They are then eligible for re-election in line with corporate governance and appropriate approval from the Nominations Committee and Board.

Memorandum and Rules
An incorporated Friendly Society, we’ve clearly set out our purposes, powers and conditions in our Memorandum and Rules. So, it’s important that all of our members read these along with their membership plan.


Conduct risk

This covers the way we conduct ourselves as a Society both internally and with our external stakeholders.

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We put the best interests of our members at the heart of our service and every decision we make. Through effective risk management, we aim to create value for our members while making sure we deliver our promises.

We manage conduct risk by analysing 4 key areas:

  • Product design – ensure our products are designed with our members in mind.
  • Sales process – make sure all of our sales channels provide the most suitable product for our customers.
  • Post-sales service – ensure we deliver and continually improve industry leading levels of customer service.
  • Culture & governance – champion a culture where our members always come first.

Our Conduct Risk Focus Group is made up of people from a variety of our teams and considers the risk of poor member and other stakeholder outcomes. They meet twice a year and make recommendations to the Conduct Risk Committee.


We at Health Shield take great pride in our high levels of customer service, but from time to time things can still go wrong. If you feel the need to complain to us, our Internal Complaints Procedure will ensure that your problem is dealt with quickly, fairly and impartially.

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You can complain to us by doing one of the following:

  • Write to us at our Head Office address
  • Telephone us on 01270 617723
  • Contact us via email at – complaints@healthshield.co.uk
  • Contact us via our website at – www.healthshield.co.uk
  • Speak directly to a member of our sales team or call in to our Head Office.

If we can’t resolve your complaint immediately we will strive to do so by the close of three business days following the date of receipt. Where this is not possible, we will send you a written acknowledgment of your complaint within five business days, to inform you of who is investigating your complaint.

Below are our timescales and your options should you be unhappy with the outcome of the final response letter:

  • We aim to respond to your complaint within four weeks. However, if we are not able to provide you with our response after four weeks we will write to you to explain why.
  • We will keep you updated throughout the whole process but if we still cannot give you our response after a further four weeks we will write to you again with a full explanation.
  • If you are unhappy with our response, or we fail to respond to your complaint within eight weeks, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The details of the Financial Ombudsman Service will be included within the final response letter. However, if you don’t have this to hand you can refer to the Financial Ombudsman Service details below.

Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
E14 9SR

Tel: 0800 023 4 567
Tel: 0300 123 9 123
Tel from outside the UK: +44 20 7964 0500

Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

If you joined the Health Shield Connect scheme online, you can also submit a complaint via the EU Online Dispute Resolution Platform at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr. However, the complaint will still be dealt with by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Health Shield Friendly Society Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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Treating customers fairly

We’re totally committed to the Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ initiative. We’ve even developed 10 codes of conduct to make sure we always treat our members fairly.

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  1. We’ll put you first in everything we do
  2. We’ll strive to identify your needs
  3. We’ll create products to meet your needs
  4. We won’t provide our employees with incentives that may put you at risk of being sold an unsuitable product
  5. We won’t hide behind any small print and will always be open and clear in all our dealings with you
  6. We’ll be courteous, responsive and consistent
  7. We’ll listen to what you have to say
  8. We’ll keep you informed of any product changes
  9. We’ll deal with any complaint promptly and impartially
  10. We’ll treat you as we would want to be treated ourselves

Tackling fraud

Committed to protecting our members, we take a firm stance against fraud. We aim to ensure all claims are genuine, so we can continue to provide our members with sustainable and competitively priced products.

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We’re committed to Treating Customers Fairly. Our members’ interests are at the forefront of everything we do. So, we’ll take action against any member who attempts to make a fraudulent claim. If we don’t, fraud can have a negative impact on Health Shield and our members.

Safeguarding our members
We employ a Claims Investigator who is also an Associate Member of the Health Insurance Counter Fraud Group. This group aims to stamp out fraud across the industry through joint working and sharing intelligence. It also provides a technical platform to pass on information to prevent and detect fraudulent behaviour within the healthcare market. Members of the group regularly meet up to highlight issues, such as medical negligence, benefit cheats and new scams.

Ending your membership

We’ve a section in our terms & conditions that safeguards against misuse and fraud. In line with our Memorandum & Rules it makes sure our membership as a whole is protected.

Our Board of Management may end your membership if they believe:

  • You’ve broken our rules
  • Your continued membership will have a negative impact on the interests of our members
  • You have failed to act with utmost good faith, including:
    • repeatedly making claims that threaten our financial wellbeing
    • deliberately providing misleading or false information (or not providing information specifically asked for)
    • behaving in a threatening or abusive way towards our team
    • making a claim that is fraudulent or that we believe to be deliberately false, misleading or exaggerated.

We’re committed to preventing financial crime. So we’ll report all instances of fraud or attempted fraud to the Police.


Social Media Terms & Conditions

By using our social media channels and interacting with Health Shield we ask that you agree and abide to our terms and conditions.

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We aim to interact with users across our social media channels and encourage you to interact appropriately via our Health Shield pages in accordance with these rules. We monitor the pages during our UK business hours (8am – 6pm Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays).

We will try to check that all social media content and interactions comply with our terms and conditions as soon as reasonably practicable after publication. If an individual makes use of the channels in breach of these terms, we reserve the right to remove their access to the channels without prior warning.

Use of Health Shield social media channels
When using our social media channels, you must acknowledge that:

  • Any views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Health Shield
  • Any medical advice or information posted to the pages should not be regarded as a substitute for professional medical advice. You must always seek medical advice from your doctor or a suitably qualified medical professional. 
    Contributions must:
    • Be accurate – avoid quoting out of context
    • Be genuinely held – where they state opinions
    • Comply with all applicable domestic, foreign and international laws where the content is posted

    Contributions must not:
    • Be defamatory, unlawful, obscene, offensive, hateful, abusive, threatening or invasive of anyone’s privacy
    • Discriminate for any reason on the grounds of race, age, sex, nationality, religion or disability
    • Infringe on any intellectual property including copyright, design right, database right, trade mark, patents or other third party right of any other person
    • Be likely to harass, cause distress or upset, embarrass or alarm any other person
    • Disclose any individual personal contact details or other personal data
    • Contain an instruction, advice, or content that could cause harm or injury to individuals or to computers or systems
    • Breach any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence
    • Give the impression that the contribution has been posted by Health Shield if this is not the case, or impersonate any person or identity
    • Encourage or condone anyone to commit any unlawful or criminal act
    • Contain any advertising

By submitting a contribution on our social media channels, you agree to grant Health Shield copyrights to freely use, publish, edit, reproduce and distribute the content or imagery contained in your contribution in any format and media.

We may consider that a breach of our content or media has occurred, if this occurs we may take any action we deem appropriate.
This may include:

  • Immediate, temporary or permanent withdrawal of your right to post any content or media to our social media channels
  • Immediate, temporary or permanent removal of any content or media posted on our social media channels
  • Legal proceedings may be brought against you for reimbursement of all costs on an indemnity basis (including, but not limited to, reasonable administrative and legal costs) resulting from the breach
  • Disclosure of any information to law enforcement authorities as we reasonably feel is necessary or as required by law

If you wish to complain about any contribution posted on our social media channels, please contact us at marketingteam@healthshield.co.uk.


Solvency Report

You can download and view the Health Shield Friendly Society Ltd Solvency & Financial Condition Reports (SFCR) here.

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