Ohra, the Dutch-owned health insurer, has outsourced all its PMI claims and will now focus purely on sales and marketing activities.
David Potter, managing director of the UK operation said: “We are moving away from being a small composite insurer into a sales and marketing operation. Outsourcing claims is not a costcutting exercise. We want to provide a better service for our customers.”
As of last month, Medical Claims Handling (MCH), which is owned by US-based Beach Street Corporation, will manage all Ohra claims. Potter said: “This will not result in any redundancies at Ohra. We did not have a dedicated claims department. All claims were handled by underwriting and sales staff.”
By using a claims handling company, Ohra is able to negotiate better rates with hospital networks and consultants. Potter said: “We did not go in there hitting consultants with a big stick to try to knock rates down. We have a policy of paying for treatment up-front, and for this were able to negotiate discounts.”
Potter confirmed that the move would save Ohra money, and would certainly be cheaper than setting up its own claims department.
Potter admitted he was initially “wary” about outsourcing such an important function. “Claims service is the litmus test of any insurer,” he said. But after seeing the service in action, he claimed he was convinced that MCH could provide a superior service.
With MCH, Ohra customers will now have access to a 24-hour freephone number, which will give them insurance and medical advice. The line will be staffed by registered nurses.
Potter said: “Basically we have dumped the boring job onto someone else who specialises in this area.”
However, many insurers are wary about outsourcing following the recent collapse of claims handlers, Lawrence Purchase, which left policyholders in the lurch.
The company handled all the claims for the Daily Telegraph’s PMI scheme. And it is believed that it was used by Axa Provincial, although the insurer switched to another claims handler after customer complaints.