Health & Accident Group
Theyâ€™ve got health insurance covered
They’ve got health insurance covered Editorial: Tim Hands Production: Ajuanne Payne Health and Accident Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd is the healthcare expert in South Africa, providing its innovative products exclusively through the independent broker market. Managing Director, Adrian Hofman has been involved in the personal accident and health insurance market for 20 years, and details some of the operations which help to make the company unique in the country.
Health and Accident Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd is an underwriting manager, and has dealt exclusively via the independent broker market. It acts as a provider of innovative products in the accident and health-related markets, responsible also for the development, distribution and administration management of a wide range of products distributed through the broker market. It is proud to be able to offer a comprehensive choice of accident and health insurance-related products, and to develop innovative products and packages, in order to meet the needs of niche markets at competitive rates. It strives at all times for service excellence, through building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with its clients. “Where we are different,” says Managing Director, Adrian Hofman, “is we’ve become the healthcare insurance experts.”
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Beginning life in 1990 as Major Medical Expenses (Pty) Ltd, responsible for the healthcare insurance dealings of Aegis, a subsidiary at the time of Rand Merchant Bank, the company then moved on to fulfilling the healthcare insurance needs of Momentum Life. Momentum Health would later become Discovery Health, now the biggest medical aid scheme in South Africa. Alongside this in 1992, Health and Accident also took on the health insurance needs of FedLife, a Life insurance company, who in turn purchased Reef medical aid in South Africa, changing the name to FedHealth medical aid scheme, a company still going strong in South Africa today. Hofman describes Health and Accident’s early years as such; “between 1990 and 1994, we were basically the developers, designers, launchers and marketers of health insurance for those three companies, before each decided to go on their own way.”
Health & Accident Group
1994 saw Hofman become a Lloyds of London agent, and subsequently the winding up of Major Medical Expenses (Pty) Ltd to form Health and Accident Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd. “We are an underwriting manager, we design, develop, distribute and administer various products on behalf of our various insurers,” explains Hofman. Health and Accident distributes solely through the broker market, as Hofman explains; “We deal only through the broker market. The broker is our sole distribution channel, and that is ultimately the client that we look after and give service to. As such, in order to be insured persons on our various policies, their own clients then have to come through them, to us.” Experts in the healthcare insurance field, this is the one area on which Health and Accident focuses its attentions.
“All our products are health insurance-related,” explains Hofman. “We do Group Life, with risk-only funeral, Medical Aid gap cover, Medical Travel Cover, Aetna cover for ex-pats on the health cover side - in short, we don’t insure assets, we only insure people and/or the health of people.” This is partly what helps to make Health and Accident stand out in the sector, as Hofman explains; “It is unique to have five underwriters in our game, and the reason that we have ended up in that environment is because, in South Africa, there is no one underwriter who is prepared to write all aspects of health insurance. “So, they might be prepared to do Travel Insurance cover only, but not Group Personal Accident (GPA) or Group Life, because they don’t have a life license. This means that we get brokers coming to us with unique insurance cases.
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company profile For example; we could have a case of a professional gym instructor who wants income protection. We want to make sure we give ourselves a 99% chance of being able to solve that problem. Of course, the rate might not be so attractive, but at least we’ve got a solution.
“The broker is our sole distribution channel, and that is ultimately the client that we look after and give service to” “As a result, we’ve ended up with multiple underwriters, and so when we deal with a broker and we are presented with the client’s need, we could usually solve the problem.” Despite the fact that Health and Accident use multiple underwriters and multiple products they never have
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underwriters compete with each other. “We never have any of our underwriters compete with each other, through us but they may compete in the open market,” says Hofman. The company endeavours to offer unique insurance solutions rather than offering a ‘one fit for all’ type of package as Hofman explains. “There are certain brokers in South Africa who only have a life license, so they can only look at half our products because they don’t have the short term license, and vice versa” he says. “Once we’ve then established the license they hold, and the area of business in which they operate – the individual or corporate market – we only put forward insurance solutions relevant to their needs.” With such a vast range of products available – 29 in total – this allows Health and Accident to put forward perhaps only the five or so which really cater to the specified needs of this client, and so streamline the process for all involved.
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With the global economy in such widely-publicised turmoil at present, one could quite reasonably expect a certain ‘hardening’ within the insurance industry, an increase in rates and generally raised costs across the sector. Not so, for Health and Accident. “I wouldn’t say we live in a controlled environment,” details Hofman, “because potentially we could of course have a health epidemic which would inevitably affect our rates, but as a rule when it comes to health insurance, if we manage people’s lives in terms of underwriting, we might make a mistake in the case of one person, but there is no way that we will have, say, 10,000 births suddenly hit us which we hadn’t planned for. “It’s the same with heart attacks, and with people being injured and not able to work – it’s a statistically calculated business which, while it could take a hit and have a spike, is protected by measures which aim to limit massive losses. We’re in a different space to the asset-based insurers, and as such we’re not affected one bit by the regular mishaps which hit other companies.” 2014 looks set to be a particularly exciting, full year for Health and Accident. “We’re expecting quite a lot of growth next year,” states Hofman. “We’re starting a brand new initiative with AIG on the Group Personal Accident
and Corporate Travel next year, which has taken two years to get into fruition, while Aetna purchased InterGlobal a month ago, and they’ll be coming out to South Africa to re-launch and merge the two aspects of business, which will in turn make a difference to us.” Alongside this, the continuing challenge, for Health and Accident, is to make sure that when the brokers receive an enquiry, they are consistently able to provide a solution
“When you call us, you’ll receive a quick response, a competitive rate, and one call will solve that type of problem” to the problem. “If you’ve got a health insurance-related problem, you phone us,” states Adrian Hofman, “and all things being equal, you’ll receive a quick response, a competitive rate, and one call will solve that type of problem. Our challenge is to make sure that they know who to call when they get that enquiry.”
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+27 11 234 7333 www.healthacc.co.za
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