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BHSF has 25pc lift in premium income for year; INSURANCE.

Birmingham-based health insurer BHSF increased its premium income by 25 per cent over the last year, despite the global financial downturn.

The insurer, formerly the Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund, also made a modest before-tax profit of pounds 1.5 million, although falls in the value of its investments and properties turned this into a loss after tax of pounds 1.5 million.

It said the rise in income was achieved largely by the acquisition of Forester Health, now renamed Cash4Health. The acquisition gained BHSF 52,000 new policyholders who had been quickly bought into the fold.

BHSF chief executive Peter Maskell said: "We are a long-term investor and although falls in investment values are of concern they do not affect our day-today trading. We are able to meet all our claims payments and expenses out of premiums and investment income so we do not face the need to sell investments for operational purposes." A new product introduced was Care4, a stand-alone death benefit policy underwritten at Lloyds.

BHSF said it had invested heavily in technology, including new Customer Relationship Management software and a sophisticated system enabling productbespoke quotations. Mr Maskell said: "In addition, we also invest heavily in our high-quality team who enable us to deliver BHSF's promises to the 400,000 people we insure. During 2008 we paid over 465,000 claims, the vast majority within two days of receipt." Alongside its successful business operations, BHSF supports the community through its CSR programme. Chairman Paul Kanas said: "It is pleasing to be able to report another year of successful trading..

CAPTION(S):

Peter Maskell: We paid over 465,000 claims, the vast majority within two days of receipt
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 6, 2009
Words:279
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