Thursday, 2nd May 2019

The ‘exciting’ future of the fast-changing healthcare industry is ‘now’, delegates at the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) AGM were told.

Nearly 130 delegates were in attendance at the AMII AGM and Conference at Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes to hear from leading industry figures, including keynote speaker, Tracy Garrad.

Tracy, who gave one of her first public addresses to healthcare intermediaries since taking on the CEO role at AXA PPP healthcare in January, told the event: “My motivation to move to AXA PPP healthcare stemmed from the opportunity to work in a sector that has the possibility to improve someone’s life. I recognise that the health industry is at a real tipping point and I see huge opportunities for transformation and evolution.

“I’ve spent the first few months in the role getting to know all of our stakeholders: our people, our customers and our partners and provider networks – everyone here at the conference today as we are all part of a single team working together.

“Health, along with so many things in the world, is changing and changing fast. There is the advancement of new drugs and the increasing demand for personalised medicine as we move into a world where ‘one size fits all’ is no longer acceptable to consumers, alongside ever-new health technologies and people increasingly taking control through digital health innovations.

“Furthermore, attitudes are changing and we’re finding people want new guidance about how to access and choose from an array of providers and partners.

“We can’t ignore the very uncertain times we’re living in and further declines in consumer confidence over coming months are expected. Against this uncertainty, we’re focused on ensuring healthcare is affordable for more people and we’re delivering this in a number of ways.

“As one of the biggest players we have a real opportunity to be a force for good and we’re well underway with our move from payer to partner.

“I personally believe that there are huge opportunities ahead for us all to work together and grow the market – the future is exciting, and, in many ways, the future is now.”

Ted Townsend, Strategy Consultant in Private Healthcare and Author of the LaingBuisson Report: Private Acute Medical Care in Central London, shared the latest healthcare market statistics from LaingBuisson.

He said: “In 2017, 6.9m people had private medical cover in the UK – 10.4% of the population and London and south east continue to dominate PMI spend.

“While individual PMI continues to decline slowly, company-paid PMI seems to have become disconnected from growth in Full Time Employment/Equivalents – employment (FTEs). Large corporates are increasingly turning to self-insured schemes and, while intermediaries still dominate company paid new business, individuals are increasingly going direct.”

Ted discussed some of the issues the industry may face going forward, including the potential for further rises of IPT above 12% and the potential impact of Brexit leading to potential loss of large UK employers, as well the opportunities and areas driving growth.

Carl Laidler, Director of Health Screening at Health Shield said: “All businesses have to comply with health and safety legislation, and many don’t have in-house Occupational Health expertise. With 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury in 2018, the need for specialist Occupational Health intervention is evident.

“We offer a handful of Occupational Health services, delivered by our team of experts, to support employers to provide healthy working environments, reduce the risk of absence and prevent ill-health before new employees even set foot in the building.

“For example, we offer a simple online new starter Occupational Health questionnaire to help identify health and wellbeing needs from the outset. This allows for relevant preventative measures to be put in place or existing health issues assessed and managed from day one. Alongside this, we also offer face-to-face Occupational Health Risk Surveillance Assessments, for jobs that require a ‘Fit for Work’ certificate, an employer support helpline and management referral service for employers that require greater support.”

Branko Bjelobaba, Director of Branko Ltd and AMII Compliance Consultant, also provided an overview of recent changes to FCA Regulations, and an insight into what intermediaries need to do in preparation for the forthcoming Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR), which replaces the Approved Persons Regime in December.

In AMII business, Executive Chairman Stuart Scullion was offered and accepted the role of Executive Chair for a further 12 months, and the current Treasurer, Paul Swanson, was re-elected into the role.

Closing the conference and thanking delegates, speakers and presenters, Stuart Scullion said: “We’ve had a good mix of topics and while there are some challenges facing the industry it is nothing we’ve not been used to before.

“We’re up for the challenge and are determined to continue giving good advice and putting customers at the core of everything. It is through this approach that we will continue to thrive and flourish.”