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AXA PPP Powers Ahead In PMI

AXA PPP has bolstered its presence in the private medical insurance (PMI) market with two notable acquisitions this month. The company has announced that it is to acquire both Simplyhealth’s and the Permanent Health Company’s (PHC) private medical insurance (PMI) businesses, subject to approval from the relevant bodies.

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In buying Simplyhealth, AXA will take over the helm of a mature operation with 13 years in the UK PMI market and a staff of around 400 employees. Simplyhealth has around 200,000 individual clients, including direct customers and those covered through employee schemes at SMEs and large-scale corporations.

In a move which Simplyhealth says “makes sense for both sides,” AXA will bolster its presence in the UK’s market. Announcing the plans, Keith Gibbs, Chief Executive at AXA PPP healthcare said: “With its well balanced, stable book of business, Simplyhealth’s PMI business will be an excellent addition to AXA PPP healthcare and this agreement has presented a rare opportunity to acquire complementary business in the UK. Both companies share a commitment to offering outstanding customer service, supporting their local communities and being an employer of choice.”

He added: “We look forward to working with Simplyhealth and its intermediary partners to ensure a smooth transition providing excellent service and continuing cover for all individual and business customers.”

Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth commented: “The sale of our PMI business will accelerate Simplyhealth’s strategy of investing in everyday healthcare, addressing the everyday conditions that stop people from making the most of life. AXA PPP healthcare has a long-term commitment to the PMI market and this sees them acquiring a business with well-aligned values and great customer service standards. We are delighted to have found a good home for our customers and people in AXA PPP healthcare.”

The terms of the agreement should see almost all Simplyhealth’s Bristol team transferred to AXA PPP healthcare, along with a handful of staff in other locations. Operations will continue to be based in Bristol.

As for PHC, AXA PPP has been underwriting health and dental products for the company since 2012 and so has in-depth knowledge of the operation. According to AXA, PHC will continue to work out of its Rickmansworth base and there will be no change in the way that intermediaries work with the company. AXA has announced that John Stafford, PHC’s managing director and a founder of the company, will be retiring, to be replaced by Nye Jones.

IHC’s managing director Nick Lipczynski said: “Following the deals, AXA-PPP will become a larger business with a greater market share, potentially making it a better competitor to Bupa. We believe AXA-PPP will capitalise on this and look to see product development and innovation to give improved customer value. However, there is no doubt that the reduction in the number of insurers in the marketplace restricts customer choice.”

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