While you might think it is easy to dismiss, insurance is something we all need. Whether life insurance, health insurance or critical illness protection, it’s always good to know that if the worst happens, our finances will at least be protected.
But how do you make sure you find the best policy for you, without being cheated?
Switch Healthcare is a health insurance comparison firm that prides itself on putting clients first.
Founded two years ago, the company scours the whole market
to find the best private medical insurance deals and recently expanded to life insurance protection, critical illness protection and other life insurance products.
Director Dan Parker says it’s the company’s focus on customer service that sets it apart from its competitors.
“We’ve got a sales team of 12 and an in-house retentions team that we call the loyalty team, who are solely in charge of looking after all the renewals,” he says.
“Unlike many other brokers, who pass their existing clients onto other services and get paid a commission if they sell anything else, we’re very much focused on making sure that the customer is always getting the best policy and best deal.”
Parker also says it’s the experience clients have with Switch Healthcare that makes them want to stick around.
“You’re always with the same consultants, so you’re not passed around the office,” he says. “You’ll just get one dedicated account manager.
“Plus, it’s a free renewal – we don’t charge for our service. Our renewals are dealt with in-house by someone who is not targeted to sell a different deal; it’s just always negotiating a discount, making sure the client is always getting the best policy.”
The fact that Switch Healthcare reviews the entire market helps to ensure clients are getting the best deals.
“There are not many brokers that are whole of market,” he says. “You find that most brokers have gone to a thin panel to get better commission rates and better deals with certain providers.”
So what process does the team go through to make sure clients get the best deal?
“First, we do an initial fact find to find out exactly what the client needs and why,” Parker explains.
“We then conduct a full market review, which looks at between 16 and 20 insurers and we narrow that down to three options that we think would be the best for the client.
“We send those options to the client to consider, answer any questions, or discuss them and go from there.”
Working so closely with their clients means that Parker and his team really get to know the people they are helping and the impact their insurance has on their lives.
“I feel like I’m helping people,” Parker says. “I think you get great satisfaction in hearing back from clients who’ve experienced very good things from the policies that you’ve set up.
“Obviously you don’t ever want anyone to get ill, but I had a client who I set up on a policy with new underwriting, so pre-existing conditions weren’t covered.
“She never had private medical insurance before and later that same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“She said that the policy was absolutely fantastic and her blood tests were sent off to America for a £10,000 diagnostic test.
“The blood tests came back to confirm that she didn’t need chemotherapy, she could have radiotherapy, and could continue working throughout the treatment.
“If she’d have gone to the NHS, they’d have given her chemotherapy and she wouldn’t have been able to have worked during the period of time, because the side effects from the chemotherapy would have outweighed the benefits of that treatment.
“She was absolutely delighted. It’s those stories that give you a sense of pride.”
Parker says he wishes more people knew that insurance can be cheaper than people think.
“Regardless of medical conditions, you’re not necessarily tied to the
same insurers who have cover in place,” he says.
“There are simplified declarations that enable you to look around and still keep cover for pre-existing conditions.
“For those who haven’t got a policy in place at the moment, sometimes it’s not as unaffordable as they might think.
“There are policies that are more geared towards what I call the ‘peace of mind’ policies, and they cover the major things.
“There are also non-postcode-rated policies, because you tend to find that those living in central London with access to expensive hospitals typically pay through the nose for private medical insurance – but some insurers are not postcode-rated, so it’s the same price whether you’ve got an N1 postcode or a GL postcode.”
Switch Healthcare also offers a service, that is free, to negotiate with
a client’s current insurer.
“Nine times out of 10, if they appoint us as their insurance advisory, we can negotiate a discount with their current provider and it makes no difference at all to how they deal with the insurer and makes no difference to claims or cover.
“We’ve got account managers who can handle and negotiate better premiums than they can directly.”
Of course, we all hope never to use our insurance policies – but if you’re going to have them, it’s important to make sure you’ve got the best price and policy for you.
It doesn’t cost you a penny to call, but it might just save you a lot.
Switch Health: switchhealth.co.uk, Tel: 01242 371300,