Benenden Healthcare Society targets broker market
15th February 2011
Benenden Healthcare Society, a 105-year-old mutual that provides healthcare to public sector workers, co-operatives and other mutuals such as John Lewis and Nationwide, plans to sell its low-cost policies via intermediaries for the first time as it aims to increase its share of the market.
York-based Benenden Healthcare, which has almost one million members, is in talks with several high-profile brokers; for example with employee benefits experts Redbourne and Mercer. Benenden Healthcare’s products and services are available to individuals or through group schemes.
Marc Bell, Marketing & Business Strategy Director, Benenden Healthcare Society, said: “Intermediaries are a major route to market for healthcare products and we aim to significantly increase our sales through this channel. We’re engaged in talks with several brokers and expect to enter the market during February 2011.
“Being a not-for-profit organisation means Benenden Healthcare’s policies go far beyond typical private medical products, offering a broad range of discretionary cover. This means we compare extremely favourably in the market and anticipate getting good support from intermediaries.”
Supporting the NHS
For many people the main obstacle in accessing private treatment is the cost. Medical advances mean that treatment is costing more and policies have risen in line with this. In addition, most insurers increase the cost of private medical insurance as policy holders age. Unlike typical private medical insurance (PMI), Benenden Healthcare offers health plans at a flat rate of £1.50 per person per week irrespective of a member’s age or previous medical history.
Rather than competing with the NHS, the Society’s services act as a back-up to the health service by providing treatment if there are lengthy waiting times. In doing so, the Society helps to alleviate pressure on the NHS to ensure patients get the most appropriate treatment in the timeliest manner.
Benenden Healthcare Society provides benefits on a case by case discretionary rather than contractual basis, so pre-existing conditions are not excluded and members can even receive treatment for problems that pre-date their membership.
Members are treated either at Benenden Healthcare’s award-winning hospital in Kent or at one of its 15 contracted regional treatment centres.
Marc Bell added: “Benenden Healthcare understands the vital role that access to quality healthcare has on an employee’s health and well-being. However, the cost of traditional PMI can be substantial and, at a time when budgets are tight, employee benefits can be reduced.
“Because we are a member owned mutual, we can provide members with a product and service portfolio that is not only supportive and affordable when it is taken out, but remains so throughout their lifetime. Our approach and low cost has made us the natural choice for those in the public sector seeking healthcare solutions.”