Health Care provider reports £10.8m premium income in 145th year

Leading health care cash plan provider Sovereign Health Care has reported its highest ever premium income of £10.8m, while equalling the record £7.2m it paid out in claims during the previous financial year.

The premium income announcement coincides with the company celebrating its 145th anniversary in 2018, demonstrating its distinct approach to helping people afford their health care is as relevant today as when it was founded as the Bradford Hospital Fund in 1873.

During the financial year ended 31 December 2017, Bradford-headquartered Sovereign Health Care also recorded a pre-tax surplus of £4.3m with premium income up £150,000 year-on-year.

The company is one of the UK’s longest established providers of health care cash plans to individuals and businesses, with nearly 75,000 customers. Today, Sovereign Health Care employs 42 people and offers a range of cash plans to individuals and businesses.

Its cash plans enable customers to claim money back towards the cost of prescriptions, dental check-ups and treatment, visits to the optician and much more. Being able to recoup some of these costs encourages individuals to keep on top of their health care by taking preventative measures and getting treatment early, in turn helping to reduce the impact on the NHS, which celebrates its own 70th anniversary this year.

Sovereign Health Care does not have shareholders and any surplus the company makes is available to reinvest into the business or donate to community and charitable causes. In 2017, it donated more than £485,000 to Yorkshire charities, equating to 4.5% of its annual premium income, which brings its total donations over the last decade to £5.8m.

Commenting on the results, Sovereign Health Care chairman, Mark Hudson, said: “Our 2017 results show the continued importance that Sovereign Health Care plays in helping people provide for their everyday health care, as well as our substantial donations to charitable causes in the local community.

“This is my second tenure as chair and it is fair to say the difference in our industry due to the level of regulation between now and my first tenure in 2006-2010 is immense. However, despite this making it more challenging for our executive and management team to deliver our trading objectives and business plan, I’m pleased to say we’ve ensured our products and services are just as relevant and, more importantly, affordable as they were back then.”

Russ Piper, chief executive (pictured) of Sovereign Health Care, added: “I am pleased to report that it was another successful year for our business, due to the efforts and resilience of our team and our loyal customers.

“During the past year, additional regulation as well as the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in June 2017, has given everyone in the industry a challenge.

“Our long-standing position on IPT is that we believe it is inherently unfair to be applied on health-related insurance products. We do not agree that people should be penalised for trying to gain greater control of their health and wellbeing, which will ultimately help stop them becoming a burden on the already overstretched NHS.

“Looking ahead, we have a number of exciting initiatives which we will be launching this year including a new cash plan product and an online secure customer area allowing our customers to claim online, which will help to make us even more responsive to our customer’s needs.”