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November 2015

AFM member news

This month’s newsletter includes a range of stories from members, with news on a new video from Foresters Friendly Society on the benefits of mutuals, new branding from The Exeter, a new contractual tie-up by Benenden, and a first award for new brand OneFamily.

Foresters Friendly Society’s new video explains what friendly societies are all about

With trust in the ‘big banks’ at a low, the UK’s friendly societies have an important role to play when it comes to savings options. Foresters Friendly Society’s new video shines a spotlight on friendly societies and explains what they are all about.

“Foresters, as well as other friendly societies, offers a genuinely helpful solution for those who don’t have a lot of money to put away, but still want to save for the future.  We wanted to make it easy for savers to work out where Foresters and friendly societies fit in the bigger scheme of things and a video is an ideal way to convey that information.” says Paul Osborn, Foresters Friendly Society’s Chief Executive.

In a climate where only 32% of consumers trust retail banks, and that figure falls to just 15% for investment banks (as reported by PwC), the video aims to demonstrate how friendly societies, such as Foresters Friendly Society, offer a genuine alternative for those looking for a customer-focused savings organization.  The video highlights three key points:

1. Friendly Societies have a good story to tell

Friendly Societies’ origins date back to the days before the welfare state, when a group of people got together to contribute to a mutual fund that they could then receive social and financial support from in times of need. Today, that principle still stands and Foresters Friendly Society offers financial services with a member benefits package focusing on healthcare, educational support and discretionary financial assistance, at no extra cost.

It’s a positive story, particularly when consumer confidence in financial organisations is, at times, still shaky.

2. No shareholders means profits are used for customers’ benefit

As a mutual, member-owned business which takes a responsible, long-term approach to savings and investments, Foresters Friendly Society has no shareholders. With no shareholders to pay, any profits made are instead used for the benefit of Foresters policyholders (otherwise referred to as members) in the form of policy payouts, a member benefits package (which includes a 24-hour GP consultation service) and through the provision of excellent customer service.

3. Affordable saving

Foresters focus is on medium to long-term savings and investment plans that are simple and affordable. The Society aims to make saving for the future an attainable goal for as many people as possible, with a return that has the potential for more growth than that offered by a traditional interest-only cash savings account but is less risky than direct investments into stocks and shares.

To find out more about what a friendly society is and how they differ to other financial providers, watch Foresters Friendly Society’s video.

 

Introducing ‘The Exeter’

 

Exeter Family Friendly has been rebranded as The Exeter from Monday 5th October 2015. The mutual insurer will later announce product enhancements as part of a programme of development.

Andy Chapman, CEO of Exeter Family Friendly, said: "The launch of The Exeter is more than just a new logo. It represents an ambitious statement of what we want to be as an insurer.

"The market is in need of a provider dedicated to constant improvement - and that's what we plan to be.

"Advisers can expect to see enhanced products, clearer and simpler product literature along with an improved online journey."

Simon Philp, director of distribution and marketing, said: "We will make enhancements that will deliver better value from day one, but there will be more to come.

"This brand is just the start of a series of developments which we think are needed to take the healthcare and protection markets into the future."

The Exeter, has also completed its acquisition of the cash plan provider Engage Mutual Health from OneFamily.

The Exeter has confirmed that it will continue to offer the One Fund corporate cash plan to help companies meet their employee benefit needs, and will also offer a Health Cash Plan to individuals.

Existing policyholders have been contacted about the move to welcome them to The Exeter and inform them that their premiums and policies have not changed as a result.

The deal, which was announced subject to regulatory approval in July this year, was completed on 1 November.

 

Benenden and Bupa agree new healthcare partnership

The UK health and wellbeing provider Benenden has entered into a contractual relationship with Bupa, in a deal worth more than £200m over the next five years.

Bupa will now administer the Benenden Personal Healthcare product on behalf of Benenden and arrange local diagnostic and treatment services for covered members.

Bupa will also become the plan provider for the Benenden Health Cash Plan products.

Overall, Benenden Personal Healthcare provides approximately £65m per year in member benefits which includes payments across all services available as part of its healthcare product. The significant proportion of these services - the provision of diagnosis and treatment services - will be administered by Bupa under this deal.

Marc Bell, Chief Executive, at Benenden, said: “This relationship we’re announcing today is significant in the healthcare sector, with two of its leading players coming together. It enables us to further improve the overall service offering to our own 900,000 members.”

Diagnostic services are one of Benenden Personal Healthcare’s most requested services, where members of the not-for-profit healthcare provider can request up to £1,500 to secure a prompt diagnosis for a wide range of medical conditions. Over 53,000 members requested this one Benenden service alone in 2014, with more than £22 million of benefits paid out.

Marc Bell continued: “As a mutual organisation, our primary aim is always to use member funds wisely and to best benefit. Through the arrangement we now have with Bupa, Benenden is improving its value for money offering and we are able to provide our members with a greatly extended network of UK hospitals through which, they will have improved access to services closer to where they live.”

The new provider relationship offers an easier and more streamlined service to Benenden members by removing the need for them to pay upfront for diagnostic services before seeking reimbursement. Payment for the service will be between Bupa and providers.

Improved provision of treatment services for members will also be introduced from late October – Benenden members requiring treatment will continue to be directed to Benenden-approved hospitals but will do so via Bupa. This will offer members increased flexibility and wider choice, helping to improve access to surgical services.

Marc Bell added: “Because Benenden is an organisation that is looking to play a greater role in the future of UK healthcare, it’s important that we look to develop relationships with other leading healthcare organisations such as Bupa. Like Benenden, Bupa has no shareholders and invests any surpluses to provide more and better healthcare services and this makes them a good fit with our own own ethos as a mutual, not-for-profit organisation.”

The relationship also sees the transfer of the Benenden Health Cash Plan, which provides additional cover for such things as dental and optical treatments, to Bupa. All existing cash plan products, customers and claims were transferred to Bupa in July 2015.

Simon Chrisp, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Bupa UK, said: “The strategic relationship for the provision of local diagnostic and treatment services represents a great opportunity for both ourselves and Benenden. By administering the Benenden Personal Healthcare product, Bupa is able to give Benenden members access to the high quality healthcare they’re already used to, without them having to worry about paying for treatment out of their own pocket.”

 

OneFamily picks up its first accolade from prestigious Moneyfacts!

OneFamily, the modern mutual which counts more than one in 12 UK families amongst its customers, has won its first award, just six months since it was formed by the merger of Family Investments and Engage Mutual. 

OneFamily was named 2015 Best Junior ISA Provider at the prestigious Investment, Life and Pensions Moneyfacts Awards in London, beating a number of high profile names to the top slot.

Chief executive, Simon Markey commented:

“Families, and incomes, come in all shapes and sizes, but most parents share a desire to secure a better financial future for their children. We’re thrilled with the award, which is reflective of the hard work the OneFamily team has put in to ensure that our JISA is accessible and available to a wide range of parents, allows lower minimum contribution levels, and focuses on service and user friendliness.“ 

Key criteria on which the JISA category was judged included the product’s availability, fund choice, charges, and ease of use.

Through its shared mutual heritage OneFamily combines more than 40 years’ experience of providing financial products for families and is dedicated to helping families work together to meet the financial demands of modern life.

For details on OneFamily’s JISA please visit : http://goo.gl/avUHyH.


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