Roland Burnett – Prestige Healthcare
“The fact current General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) registration is voluntary gives me great concern. Without mandatory regulation we will see `freewheeling’ registration where intermediaries will choose whether or not to join.
“The’ GISC is the second level of voluntary regulation in the industry after the ABI code of conduct and if we don’t make sure the GISC works to protect the consumer, its regime will simply go to the Financial Services Authority.
“No encouragement or coercion of intermediaries to join the GISC is a recipe for not getting the GISC off the ground on the best footing possible. We ought to use what communication vehicles there are to get intermediaries to join the GISC from day one.
“The Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII) has made lots of headway in representing specialist intermediaries. However, it is not representing all healthcare intermediaries – so there is a fair degree of apathy out there. I would like to see more specialist intermediaries coming on side to support the association.
“The PMI panel ought to address the issues of education and training; In the financial sector Financial’ Planning Certificate came in and advisers were objectively assessed. I commented to the PMI panel that we ought to introduce similar standards to the PMI field. Perhaps collectively we can establish our own regime of education and training.
“We still see today situations where intermediaries say to the consumer that they are independent – but 90 percent of their business is sold to one company. A firm should not be able to ‘represent itself to the consumer’ if it only has two agencies. The AMII has a good view on this-we need independent to be used by intermediaries who have something of the order of six agencies with different companies.”
Age: 48 Lives: York Education: Heaton Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, Charles Trevelyan Technical College, Newcastle upon Tyne Career History: He started out as a trainee electronic sales and servicing technician followed by a stint working for Rumbelows as a supervisor of audio, video and hi-fi sales and servicing department.
In 1980, he moved to Granada Television as district manager and then regional manager of North Yorkshire.
In 1988, he entered financial services to work in sales and marketing for Allied Dunbar.
He left in 1990 to become a direct sales agent – followed by area Manager for Norwich Union Healthcare.
Burnett now works as company secretary for York-based independent health-broking firm Prestige Healthcare.
He takes general management responsibility for individual and group PMI sales, marketing, personnel and training, administration and ABI/GISC regulatory compliance.
He is a member of the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries.
Hobbies: Tropical and freshwater fish keeping, garden ornithology and motor maintenance.
Tel: 01904 693370
Irene Gallimore – William M Mercer
“I care very passionately about the availability of continuation options within the market Individuals who spend a lot of their life in corporate arrangements may find themselves without the opportunity to continue cover.
“Individual members may find themselves disadvantaged and this may leave corporate bosses thinking they have a moral obligation they’d rather not have, for example, if an employee becomes ill.
“There is a feeling; in the industry that some underwriters are changing their positioning on continuation. For example, an automatic discount for a group leaver which existed two years ago might not be available now. When the intermediary conducts an interview, with a corporate client it would be good to make sure continuation is discussed. The area does not yet have a high profile.
“I feel very strongly that as an industry we have a responsibility to ensure that pricing is realistic for the risk being offered. If there is a significant difference in pricing, we need to understand what brings about the differentials.
“We need more sharing of information in the industry. At present, little or none of the vast amount of data available is shared.
“I support disclosure of commissions. One or two underwriters have removed commissions on their products this year. But we need commission disclosure in order to ascertain value for money for the client.
“I would like to see a situation where if someone is already medically underwritten they should not be re-underwritten without them giving some sort of disclosure that they understand the full implications of the change.”
Age: 49 Lives: Portishead Education: Court Field School, Wellington, Somerset Career History: First job was n the electricity supply industry where she spent a couple of years being trained. In 1970 she joined the Central Electricity Generating Board where she worked in education and training.
Then followed a career break to have her family, combined with part time work in the life insurance; industry. In 1982 she returned to full time work with Medisure Marketing and management and spent the next 20 years with the same company as it went through a succession of acquisitions, becoming in the end part of William M Mercer.
During that time she has worked with key account business, community-rated business and individual business.
She currently holds two positions with William M. Mercer: senior consultant in the healthcare and group benefits practice and head of the online-healthcare business.
Hobbies: Travelling (anywhere in the world), opera, watching cricket, spending time with grandchildren.
Stephen Walker – Medical Insurance Services
“One of my main industry concerns is the fact that currently intermediaries and brokers have nobody to turn to if they have a dispute with an insurer.
“There is no ombudsman, no industry independent panel and no authority apart from the law to which we can turn. I’d like to see someone taking this on board.
“The Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries took this up with the GISC: But the GISC was of the opinion it wasn’t in its remit. I would very much like to see an independent body put in place.
“We need more effort to clarify general exclusions.
“The industry needs to push certain things such as pre-existing conditions down people’s throats. If the industry made clear what isn’t covered, it would save an awful lot of hassle and expense for insurers. After all the more upfront you are with people, the more likely they are to accept it.
“The heaviest damage the industry suffers is with, disputed claims in newspapers and programmes like Watchdog
“What doesn’t come across in many of these instances is the rejection of the claim is often quite valid.
“And, finally, I would like to see efforts for more long term affordable premiums.”
Age: Early 50s Lives: Brighton Career History: in his early career he held a drawing apprenticeship with Ford Motor company in Dagenham, a position as a laboratory technician working on insecticides at a research station in the depths of Essex and a telephone engineering job with the Post Office. In 1970, he became an overland driver, taking parties of tourists on overland trips to Greece, Turkey, Morocco, India and trans-Africa.
In 1975 he settled in Brighton and set up a gift shop, followed in 1980 with a; very successful greeting card publishing company which he sold in 1988 to concentrate on retailing.
In 1990, following a recession-fuelled disaster with a new shop venture, he took a post with Bupa “out of sheer desperation” as a self-employed adviser and three months later was appointed unit manager for the south East.
He left Bupa in 1994 to help set up Health Care Matters and moved on again in June 1995 to set up Medical Insurance Services. The company has flourished and has attained “runner-up” status in the Health insurance
awards over the last two years. He was a founder member of the Association of Medical insurance Intermediaries.
Hobbies: motor racing and fast cars; collecting orchids and growing vegetables Tel:01273 389 333