Putting healthcare first
Audrey Spence, managing director at Independent Healthcare Solutions talks about the challenges and pleasures of providing the very best private healthcare solutions.
Describe your role…
I am the founder and managing director of the company. As the only locally owned independent company who specialises only in private healthcare and associated products my role is to generate new sales for the business and also very importantly to ensure all existing clients receive the highest level of service we can possibly offer and renew their existing business with us.
What is the best part of your job?
As a salesperson I always get great satisfaction in securing a new client but the best part of my job is building on that initial relationship and gaining trust from my clients so that they are comfortable calling my company if they have a problem. Dealing with an insurance company can seem quite daunting, particularly if someone has been diagnosed with a serious illness and I take great pride that my team will do everything possible to offer their personal assistance and make life a lot easier for our client.
What aspect of your job do you find the most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of my job is to fend off the competitors who try to take our business year in and year out. Due to our buying power, I have access to the very best rates available from all the major health insurers such as Bupa, Aviva, H3 etc and no one can ever beat my prices.
As part of our service my clients get a full market review every year on renewal thus installing confidence that not only are they are getting the best premiums available but also the highest level of service should they require our assistance throughout the year.
I respond to my competitors by ensuring that every client is personally contacted on renewal and when we present our renewal terms I am very clear what the recommendation will be for the forthcoming year. Clients put a lot of trust in us and I have to be sure the product we recommend is not only competitive but it is suitable for their requirements. The cheapest product is not always the most appropriate in some cases.
What is the biggest goal on your agenda for the year ahead?
I have just moved into new offices in Moira which was a challenge in itself but my biggest goal is to maintain my 98% renewal portfolio and to be recognised as one of the leaders in my industry. Private medical insurance is something I am very passionate about and it is so important clients are given the correct advice. Our industry changes continually and it is my job to make sure I keep my knowledge up to date and pass it on to my team.
If you had to give one piece of business advice, what would it be?
My one piece of advice in business is to have faith in yourself. I started my business in 2002 and quite frankly I didn’t know when the next cheque was coming in or now I would survive. I had the faith that if I continued to do my job correctly and ethically that I would succeed. I was lucky enough to secure some good contracts early on which gave me the confidence that I would achieve my goal. I still manage the healthcare for those clients which is rewarding in itself.
What work experience and qualifications helped you to get to your position?
I started my sales career with Gallahers tobacco company and was based in Ballymena. The training with Gallahers was second to none and I was very lucky to have learned from the best. Who would have thought that the same principals for selling cigarettes would have applied to healthcare? I have the necessary financial planning exams and as I am regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority I am required to update my industry exams every year.