Standard Life Healthcare is acquiring private medical insurance business FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited and has plans to move its head office to Bournemouth over the next two years.
Although the deal is still subject to regulatory approval and unlikely to be completed until first quarter of 2006, the intention is to run both product lines at the same time and consult intermediaries about future product delivery, says Paul Lynes, head of PR and public services at Standard Life Healthcare.
Once the deal is completed, SLH will also close down FirstAssist’s individual PMI business and concentrate on its core corporate business distributed through intermediaries, as little individual business is actually written, says Lynes.
“In the interim, we will consult with intermediaries on how to deliver product lines in the future. We will ask whether products should be delivered through an integrated proposition or whether to keep them separate and seek feedback on what they want to see,” says Lynes.
SLH’s Guildford head office is currently staffed by 350 people, but all are now being offered relocation packages to move to Bournemouth some time over the next two years, or take redundancy.
The shift to Bournemouth will be phased over two years as the company is keen to maintain its customer service standards and ensure technology propositions run smoothly, and intermediaries continue to receive the same standards of support both online and offline, says Mike Hall, Standard Life Healthcare’s chief executive.
“It is expected that integration and relocation will begin in six months with full relocation within two years. Intermediary customers of both Standard Life Healthcare and FirstAssist will not be affected, and intermediaries can continue to sell FirstAssist products at their agreed commission.”
A collaborative venture has also been put in place, while the deal is approved, which sees both parties distributing products through each other’s distribution channels, as FirstAssist will provide its Values range while SLH will continue to supply access to its Prime Care health insurance.
FirstAssist currently has offices in Bournemouth, Halifax, Hinckley, Plymouth, Purley and Sutton. For information on the full range of FirstAssist’s products and services please visit.
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