Despite the continuing economic difficulties, the Friendly Society has reportedly maintained momentum — as part of an ambitious growth strategy to provide ‘affordable healthcare support to the widest possible community’ — recruiting more than 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 that will help to attract new members, retain existing clients and build the organisation.
During the past four years, the company has continued to achieve growth in market share, while enhancing its reputation among peers and intermediaries in the health cash plan sector.
Health Shield — 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 improved the performance of its investment portfolio, which has further strengthened the balance sheet.
The company’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.
Customer care surveys continue to highlight extremely high levels of member satisfaction, with 99 per cent of members stating that they are happy with Health Shield’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 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.
The 2012 annual results also revealed that Health Shield increased overall active membership by a further eight per cent and now provides cover to more than 150,000 contributing members and their families. As a result, it has 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 improvements to its risk management procedures and their embedding within the organisation.
Finally, the balance sheet strengthened at the end of 2012, with total assets under management increasing by four per cent to £54.5m.
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