Health Shield announces strong results in a competitive market

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Health Shield – the award-winning corporate health cash plan provider – continues to ride the economic roller coaster, after increasing gross annual premium income to over £25 million in another year of strong organic growth.

Despite the on-going economic difficulties facing the UK, the Society has maintained momentum and announces strong results – as part of an ambitious growth strategy to provide ‘affordable healthcare support to the widest possible community’ – recruiting over 48,000 new members to the organisation in 2012. It has also set out a new five year mission and vision after undertaking a thorough review of its strategy and business plan. This sets out key targets and goals that will help to attract new members, retain existing clients and build the organisation.

During the last four years, it has continued to achieve growth in market share, while significantly enhancing its reputation amongst peers and intermediaries in the health cash plan sector.  The Society – which was recognised in 2013 as one of the top 100 not-for-profit companies to work for in the UK by the Sunday Times – has made improvements in the performance of its investment portfolio, which has further strengthened the balance sheet and strong results.

Despite difficult trading conditions, which have resulted in other health cash plan providers struggling to increase turnover, Health Shield’s earned premiums rose by four per cent in 2012.  It also recorded the highest annual recruitment figures for new members in its recent history – this increased to 48,085, building on the previous record of 44,743 new members for 2011.

Company-paid health cash plan solutions continued to record strong growth, including Tailored scheme bespoke offerings and off-the-shelf Essentials and Essentials Plus sales. The organisation also made good progress in the Flexible benefits market, with the overall number of new group schemes increasing by 46 per cent to 617 new corporate client wins.

Jonathan Burton, Chief Executive at Health Shield, commented: “Health Shield has seen unprecedented growth, both in its membership levels and its turnover. This has not been achieved by accident – it has been brought about by investing in our staff, who have demonstrated absolute commitment in helping to grow the organisation. This is not purely in terms of numbers, but also in the way we are regarded by our members.

“We firmly believe that the foundation of our success lies in a market-leading product portfolio, which is why we have launched a number of new health cash plans in 2013 to respond to the ever-changing landscape. This is coupled with exceptional levels of service from the dedicated Health Shield team.”

Customer care surveys continue to highlight extremely high levels of member satisfaction, with 99 per cent of members stating that they are happy with the Society’s service level standards regarding claims payments.

In 2012, the number of claims paid increased by nine per cent to 407,759 in line with the significant membership increase. In the last year, the non-profit making Friendly Society paid out 78 per cent of its net contributions (75 per cent in 2011) back to members in the form of benefits. This figure is both sustainable for the Society and still significantly higher than many of Health Shield’s competitors.

Burton added: “The Society has entered a new chapter in our development – and our dedicated team continues to deliver further service and product improvements, while remaining loyal to our not-for-profit Friendly Society values.”

The 2012 annual results also revealed that Health Shield increased overall active membership by a further eight per cent and now provides cover to in excess of 150,000 contributing members and their families (2011: 139,735). As a result, these strong results have further increased its market share and provides cover to 20 per cent of the company-paid market.

In addition, the Friendly Society has completed a comprehensive project to ensure compliance with Solvency II, while continuing to make on-going improvements to its risk management procedures and their embedding within the organisation.

Furthermore, the balance sheet strengthened at the end of 2012, with total assets under management increasing by four per cent to £54.5 million.

health shield announces strong results in a competitive market