The HI Profile: BHSF's Brian Hall

Health Insurance editor David Sawers meets BHSF's Brian Hall

BHSF is “much more” than a cash plan provider, according to sales & marketing director Brian Hall. Health Insurance editor David Sawers met him to find out more about his plans for flexible benefits and beyond.

With five different sales channels and an expanding range of product offerings, BHSF sales & marketing director Brian Hall, a self-confessed iphone addict, likes to keep busy

But just how busy can working in the cash plan market keep someone? After all, it’s just cash plans, right?

Hall is quick to dispel that myth. The cash plan market, he tells me, is constantly evolving. Moreover, so is his own organisation. BHSF, he says, is far more than a “mere” cash plan provider.

Hall has been with BHSF since 2001. Once a simple, friendly society focused almost exclusively on cash plans on a regional basis, BHSF has changed quite dramatically during his time there. Working with chief executive Peter Maskell, he has played an instrumental role in helping BHSF to diversify into other product areas, such as personal accident, cancer cover and flexible benefits – all at nationwide level.

“It’s probably more of a testament to him [Maskell] than it is to me,” Hall suggests. “But we have changed that business beyond all recognition.”

That evolution, Hall says, has also been down to the efforts of other long-standing staff at the organisation.

“When I arrived there BHSF sold cash plans that came in a red one or a green one and that was it and now obviously we are a full employee benefits business, we are very much into online and electronic, we’ve got four or five different sales channels and yet we’ve got people working in the business who’ve been there 30 years. Through all of that change we’ve managed to keep people informed, we’ve managed to keep people enthusiastic about the changes.”

Flexible benefits

The latest stage sees the launch later this year of “FlexSme”, a new product which has been developed specifically for the SME to mid-corporate market. According to Hall, the product should be able to meet the needs of “around 60%” of that market and brings together a section of core benefits, BHSF’s own voluntary benefits and eight “slots” for flexed benefit provision.

“BHSF is not prescribing the types of benefits or the suppliers of benefits that can be introduced into each slot, allowing employers to carry forward existing benefit provisions or to pick up on recommendations from their intermediaries or key suppliers,” he says

According to Hall, an employer with 1,500 staff could implement the programme fully “for as little as £7,500”, while it will be possible for smaller employers to have a FlexSme system up and running for £2,500.

“I think realistically our main market is going to be up to 2,000 employees. Also we’ll talk primarily to organisations who might be going into flex for the first time or who have considered it in the past and written it off as too expensive and we think we’ll be able to win those over. But we have spoken to some very large employers with tens of thousands of people. So although it’s built for the SME market it could take on a life of its own.”

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