Health Shield delivers strongest organic growth for third successive year, says Laing & Buisson report

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Health Shield – the award-winning corporate health cash plan provider – has delivered the strongest organic growth in the UK health cash plan market for the third year running, according to a report from Laing & Buisson.

The Health Cover UK Market Report has revealed that despite continuing economic pressures – which have resulted in the volume of demand for UK health cash plans falling by 1.5 per cent in 2011 – Health Shield has bucked the trend and increased its overall turnover by £3 million.

Rising from fifth to fourth place, in terms of market share by income, the organisation’s growth mirrors its decision to focus solely on the company-paid market. Total contributors in that sector rose strongly by 13.5 per cent in 2011, following similar strong growth (up 11.2 per cent) in 2010 – more than doubling in the past five years, growing by an estimated 120 per cent between 2007 and 2011 inclusive.

According to the report, in 2011 the not-for-profit Friendly Society bolstered its overall turnover to £26 million, strengthening its position in the top five of health cash plan providers. This compares to the majority of other leading providers that either remained static or decreased their overall turnover during another testing year for the entire market.

Jonathan Burton, chief executive of Health Shield, said: “The decision to concentrate our efforts on the company-paid market continues to prove the correct one, having strengthened our premium income for the third successive year, in line with the market’s expansion.

“The sector remains extremely challenging, but we are confident that by investing in robust and innovative business processes, listening carefully to our members and intermediary partners, while being sensitive to the changing market, we will continue to rise through the ranks and deliver an excellent service.”

He continued: “In 2011, we maintained momentum in executing our ambitious expansion plans, once again recruiting over 40,000 new members to the organisation in 2011. We also successfully increased both our contribution income and margin, resulting in a surplus of over £5.7 million after taking into account the movement in our long-term business provision.”
The Health Cover UK Market Report is published annually by Laing & Buisson – the provider of information and market intelligence on the independent health, community care and childcare sectors. It stated that key factors driving very strong growth in company-paid subscribers included increased interest from intermediaries, the widening appeal of workplace health solutions as cash plan benefits, including add-ons such as occupational health, screening and employee assistance programmes (EAPs), and generally increased focus on flexible tailored policy designed by cash plan providers.

The report follows another successful year for Health Shield. The 2011 annual results revealed that the organisation increased overall active membership by a further 16 per cent and now provides cover to over 140,000 members. As a result, it now provides cover to 20 per cent of the company-paid market.