Health Shield revenue hits record high

Health cash plan provider Health Shield has reported solid results for the year ended 31 December 2017. The company, which acquired health screening and occupational health firm Prevent and PMI excess specialist Medex Protect during the year, said premium income had risen to the highest level in its 140-year history despite stagnation in the health insurance market and increases in Insurance Premium Tax.

Premium income was up 11% to £37.7m as total membership increased by the same amount to 311,000. After premiums ceded to reinsurers, discounts and other provisions, the balance on the technical account came in at £38m against £33.7m the previous year.

However, investment income fell by 39% to £3.3m while claims costs rose almost 12% to £30.3m. Operating expenses increased from £11.5m to £12.7m, which after tax and other expenses gave rise to a deficit of £3.6m (2016: deficit £530,000).

Nevertheless, the not-for-profit society is now the third largest health cash plan provider by revenue and is proud of its claims record, with 80% of annual contributions paid back to members in benefits, almost 95% of submitted claims paid, and nine out of ten claims paid within two working days.

Commenting on the results, chief executive Courtney Marsh (pictured) said:‘2017 could be characterised as a year of change, with two key acquisitions, plus various new launches and associated restructuring and refocusing of the team and its approaches. And also a year overshadowed by sadness. Towards the end of 2017, our CEO Jonathan Burton – who’d been at the helm for 17.5 years – was taken sick and, as previously reported, passed away early this year. This had a profound impact on our close-knit team.

‘It’s down to our people, plus our investment in them, the support for our local communities, and the clear focus on our purpose as a Friendly Society, that we continue to deliver success year after year.We’re proud to say that we’re paying more claims than ever and our online service is making claiming easier and faster.’