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 270,000 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 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013, COVER Excellence Awards 2016, 2015 & 2014, Corporate Adviser Awards 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 135 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 2014 we processed 93% 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 evolved steadily during this period, continually striving to improve the service and benefits to members and, as a winner of many prestigious industry awards, is now a real force in the health cash plan market. This year has again seen very strong growth and I feel confident that with our committed and professional staff, this growth, not only in member numbers, but in the benefits and products we offer, will continue.

  • Courtney Marsh

    Executive Director

    I have worked with and for Health Shield since 1998 and it was with great pride that I joined the Board in November 2013. 2014 was a year of positive change for the Society as our customer journey exercise was implemented while we maintained our award winning status and place in the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit organisations to work for. My role has continued to focus on risk management but has also developed to work on some aspects of the operations side of the business. With the help of our excellent management team we have implemented a new structure that will serve the Society well in the years ahead.

    The Society’s Risk Function was expanded this year to help embed risk further in line with Solvency II. I also worked closely with the other Executives to produce Health Shield’s first Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) report. The ORSA process itself is on-going and being embedded at all levels of the Society. Solvency II and conduct risk will be key priorities for 2015 with the Society looking to maintain its financial strength while continuing to improve its service and offering to members.

  • Jonathan Burton

    Chief Executive

    Record levels of membership recruitment, improvements in service levels, achieving significant staff engagement and success at numerous awards have contributed towards making 2014 yet another successful year. We are ready for the forthcoming implementation of Solvency II and the results of the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment indicated that Health Shield remains in an excellent position financially. We regard managing the business on a cost effective basis to be a strategic priority and, whilst our costs are controlled, we continue to undertake initiatives to ensure that the Society is achieving value for money for its members.

    As a result we have been able to invest in our strategic growth plans and have made good progress towards achieving our long-term objectives. The successful restructuring of the Society’s departmental structure during 2014 should help to underpin this progress and I would like to record my thanks to all the staff whose contribution has made the transition appear so seamless.


  • Maxine Wilson

    Executive Director

    I am a Chartered Management Accountant and have worked for Health Shield for almost 16 years, nine of which have been in the capacity of Finance Director. In my role I am responsible for Finance, HR, IT, Pricing & Underwriting, Fraud and Complaints. 2014 was a busy year for my teams as a result of the reorganisation brought about by the implementation of the Customer Journey project.

    This year will be an important year to consolidate the benefits of this project in conjunction with the further growth and expansion that the Society has enjoyed in recent times. Part of the success of Health Shield is the reaccreditation of Investors in People and for the third consecutive year being one of the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit organisations to work for. I am proud to work for a successful organisation which continues to provide a supportive and positive working environment for all our staff.


  • Philip Wood

    Executive Director

    I am responsible for sales and marketing and was appointed to the Board in 2005. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and have a wide range of experience. Health Shield has an exciting future as we aim to deliver market leading products and outstanding levels of service that exceed membership and stakeholder expectations. Despite the economy and competitor challenges, the Society has had an outstanding year. We have increased new business volumes and grown overall turnover and membership numbers to record highs, whilst managing all associated risks. Health Shield has proven the strength of its market leading reputation by winning more major industry awards.

    I am looking forward to working with the Board, Executive and management teams to deliver Health Shield’s company objectives, key performance indicators and business plan.

  • David Maddison

    Non-Executive Director

    I have been a member of Health Shield since 1 May 2003 and it was a pleasure to join the Health Shield Board in October 2012.

    I have worked in the railway industry for 26 years, currently as Managing Director of RPMI’s Administration and Trustee Services business, which also operates as a mutual for our rail business. Like Health Shield, RPMI is committed to first class customer service. As a Director, I want to bring my general management experience and a healthy challenge to the Executive team at Health Shield. I have been fortunate enough to chair the Business Development Investment Committee this year and have overseen a change in Investment Manager.
    I am passionate about customer service delivery and clear and concise communications. I have already been impressed with the calibre of the team at Health Shield and have enjoyed working with the Executive team. I am determined to help contribute to its continued success.

  • Michael Carpenter

    Non-Executive Director

    I joined the Board in 2003, after holding a number of posts in the European Commission and the Government Legal Service, 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, but now chair the Risk Management Committee.

  • Michael Yates

    Non-Executive Director

    I have worked within the railway industry for over 37 years and have been a member of Health Shield more than 32 years so I am a big believer in our product. It is in my opinion the best on the market. I am actively involved in union matters & have qualifications in employment law. In the past 12 years I was a local councillor & school governor and have recently decided to serve my community as a local councillor. I feel this experience has helped me to develop skills that I now use as a Non-Executive Director. I am committed to the principles of mutuality and not for profit and, as the Society grows, I feel it is very important to stay in touch with our members and improve the products we offer.

    By sending out regular customer surveys, we encourage our members to feed back their opinions, whether good or bad, as we believe that by listening to our members, we will be able to continue to improve our already high service levels. I am delighted with the success that Health Shield has achieved in recent years and this is reflected in the awards and accolades received. I would like to say a big “Thank You” to all our staff as these awards are a testament to all their commitment and hard work.

  • Mel Welsh

    Non-Executive Director

    Health Shield has seen a rapid expansion of its members over the last 10 years and has now grown to over 200,000 members. My role as a Non-Executive Director is one that brings independence from the Executive but remains supportive of it as well.

    I have over 40 years of experience in Human Resources and IT. I am proud to serve on the Board of Health Shield as it strives to improve the health and well-being of its members and continually aims to improve the benefits it offers and develop new ones. Through these challenging times of financial & regulatory change, we as Directors will ensure that Health Shield and its staff delivers on its targets.

  • Brian Stringer

    Non-Executive Director

    I have been a member of Health Shield for over 40 years and have seen many changes over this time. Under the direction of the Executive team, Health Shield continues to increase its market share in a highly competitive cash plan market and has seen its customer base grow to over 200,000 members. My professional expertise, as a Human Resources Manager within the rail industry, has provided me with a wealth of knowledge on people issues and the necessary strategic direction to ensure the continued growth of the Society.

    A non-Executive’s role is challenging and we have to ensure that the Society delivers the best for our members whilst managing risk and ensuring good governance. Health Shield has been recognised as the “Best Healthcare Cashplan Provider” at two awards ceremonies in 2014 – these awards demonstrate the high levels of service and competitive product that we offer.
    I am pleased to be part of the Health Shield Team as the Senior Independent Director and look forward to another challenging year as the Society goes from strength to strength.

  • Christopher Chappell

    Non-Executive Director

    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.

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.

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.


We’re currently looking for more member representatives. So, to discover more and volunteer, please call Nina Pitts on 01270 503947 or email Nina at: npitts@healthshield.co.uk

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 take great pride in our customer service. But if you feel something doesn’t live up to our high expectations, you can trust us to deal with your issue quickly, fairly and impartially.

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Ways you can make a complaint

Resolving your complaint

If we can’t resolve your complaint immediately, we’ll strive to do so by the close of 3 business days following the date of receipt. If this isn’t possible, we’ll send you a written acknowledgment of your complaint within 5 working days, so you know who is investigating and dealing with your complaint.

Our complaints process

  • After you receive your letter, we aim to respond to your complaint within 4 weeks. If it’s going to take any longer we’ll write to you to explain why.
  • We’ll keep you updated at every stage of the process. But if we still can’t respond to your complaint after a further 4 weeks we’ll write to you again with a full explanation.
  • If you’re unhappy with our response or we don’t respond to your complaint within 8 weeks, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. You can find the details below.
  • If you’re not satisfied with their outcome, you can appeal directly to our Board of Management. But we’re legally obliged to comply with any decision already made by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
E14 9SR

Tel: 0300 123 9 123

Web: 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.

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 marketing@healthshield.co.uk.

Terms and Conditions 
To view the full terms and conditions for the social media competitions that are running throughout March 2017 please view here.