Equipsme is a health plan provider for SMEs.
Equipsme is targeting the c.95% of UK businesses that don’t offer private medical insurance (PMI) as an employee benefit. Matthew Reed, Founder (and former AXA employee), explains that he believes that SMEs are becoming more interested in looking after the wellbeing of their staff to help with both productivity and employee retention. His product lets companies address this.
Unlike traditional insurance products, which are only used at the point of claim and therefore often not at all, policyholders are encouraged to use Equipsme services from day one. For example, clients receive a kit to test for things like vitamin D deficiency, cholesterol and diabetes and have 24/7 access to a private GP service. With over a quarter of people in full or part time jobs waiting more than a week to see their GP, this is an important selling point according to Matthew.
The company charges the same for each employee aged 16-69 and there is a simple three-year pre-existing health conditions exclusion. Employers can tailor their level of cover, for example by including more physiotherapy sessions or adding stress support. Staff can also choose to increase their own cover and add members of their family to their policies.
Insurance capacity is provided by AXA PPP healthcare, which gives Equipsme customers access to the insurer’s network of physiotherapists, diagnostics and treatment centres. Equipsme distributes via brokers.
A possibly counterintuitive proposition feature is that cancer treatment is excluded. Matthew argues that patients receive good care from the NHS once diagnosed. This means that cover can be made more affordable.
The company has a target to provide health benefits for 20,000 SME employees by the end of 2019.
The Oxbow Partners View
Earlier this month we covered yulife, which offers rewards for healthy living on the life insurance side. This is the health equivalent. We noted from our own experience that “the benefit of being able to offer more than a financial benefit to our employees is very obvious”.
We get the sense that brokers like the simplicity of the product. There’s “no medical jargon, no medical questions, a tiered level of cover and clear pricing with the same premium for a 16 year old school leaver to a 69 year old Managing Director” raves the BHIB website, a Leicester broker run by the owners of the Brokerbility network.
Another way of looking at Equipsme is as an infrastructure leverage play for AXA. Equipsme allows AXA to generate volumes in a new market segment, allowing it to drive efficiencies in its fulfilment infrastructure. Thinking about how partnerships with companies who might seem like competitors could be an interesting strategic twist for some infrastructure-heavy insurers.