Of­fer­ing healthy ad­vice

‘Our clients must ben­e­fit from our ser­vices’

Finweek English Edition - - Verso financial 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

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