Offering healthy advice
‘Our clients must benefit from our services’
VERSO HEALTH, the newest addition to the Verso Group, provides professional advice and planning of medical aid cover. MD Tania Lloyd says that as such the business is strongly based on building trusting relationships with clients.
“A relationship of trust with our clients is most important. We want to grow the business, but it’s as important to us to keep clients.” In that regard Lloyd points to Verso Health’s client book, which she says has a persistency ratio of 97%.
Says Lloyd: “In every relationship you get into – every business, social or personal transaction – make sure that the other person gets as much benefit from it as you do. I believe in being good at what I do and good in doing it. It’s the way you conduct yourself in business that can give you success, peace of mind and happiness.”
SA’s major medical aid schemes are very similar. Therefore Verso Health helps clients to choose a scheme that will suit their particular individual or family needs. “We advise people on choosing a medical aid scheme to best suit their needs. Then we offer an ongoing service, advise of changes and other options and helping with claims.”
Lloyd says the business markets products it believes in, schemes that have a track record of low premium increases, a growing reserve fund and sustainable benefits.
When Verso Health launched, it concentrated on local authorities. “There are huge opportunities there. Over the past three years we’ve grown the local authority health book quite rapidly.” Lloyd says the company now has a large client base with local authorities, including all the major municipalities in the Western Cape.
But the business is also active in the private market. “There are four or five medical schemes we usually advise on, though the choice remains with the clients. In terms of benefits offered there’s not much difference between the top five schemes. But we have to know what might be best for the client in terms of the benefits they might need.”
Lloyd says educating clients on the benefits available and on how best to use them is therefore an important part of the services offered by Verso Health. “That’s the sort of advice they need – for example, on benefits and stipulations that may apply to chronic conditions.”
Around 60% of the company’s clients in the private market are companies – “Mainly small firms from about 10 to 50 people, though there are some large groups too” – and the rest consists of individuals and families.
“Our clients must benefit from our services. We want them to understand the plan option they’ve chosen, the benefits and changes throughout the year,” Lloyd says. “As simple as that sounds we strive to put every client first, solving queries in record time or simply explaining benefits that they had trouble understanding or were never aware of.”
She says one problem Verso Health keeps stumbling over is pensioners that have been put into the larger medical schemes without having the options explained to them. “We have an aftercare service that’s especially important for pensioners. We’ll drive out to the pensioners’ homes and explain the benefits to them and advise them on making changes if necessary.”
Lloyd says that by educating clients, Verso “keeps the client for life”. As professional healthcare intermediaries the business draws on its knowledge to educate and inform clients on their medical aid scheme of choice. “Our natural tendency is to listen to people’s needs, address them and ensure that they invest in the right medical aid scheme.”
The company pushes for schemes where doctors and other medical specialists are contracted into the scheme. “Contracting in is the route medical aid schemes should follow. It offers benefits for the scheme and members.”
Lloyd also believes that, like so many other aspects of financial services, people should start planning and making provision early in life. “People have to realise they must start funding future medical aid benefits earlier in their working life.”
Apart from understanding clients’ medical aid scheme needs and specific requirements, client communication is also important. It’s not just about finding the right scheme and explaining the benefits to the client; communication must be ongoing as benefits or a client’s needs change.
“Our goal is to make our clients rich – rich with knowledge, understanding their medical aid scheme and the benefits they’ve chosen,” Lloyd says.
A relationship of trust with our clients is most important. Tania Lloyd