The HI Profile: Capita's Jason Powell

Health Insurance editor David Sawers asks the questions

Although not a household name in its own right, the chances are that Capita will have provided some sort of service to your clients in the past. Health Insurance editor David Sawers met Jason Powell, managing director of Capita Health & Wellbeing, to find out more about his organisation’s plan for the health and protection industry

Financial advisers, brokers and employee benefit consultants (EBCs) up and down the country who don’t quite know what Capita does soon will – in a big way.

Although not quite the household name that some big brand insurers might be, with some 46,500 employees and an established place in the FTSE 100, Capita provides services across a number of industry sectors, supporting local and central government and the private sector. Recruitment, HR, transport, call centre management, the London Congestion Charge, the Criminal Records Bureau – Capita’s reach and breadth of expertise goes on and on.

But what about life & pensions? Its group pensions business ranks fourth in the administration of UK private sector schemes. In insurance, it works across claims, service sales and back office administration in personal lines, commercial insurance and Lloyd’s and the London Market.

And health? Yes, that too. As well as providing a range of support services to the NHS, it is a leading provider of occupational health (OH), absence management, health screening, medical reporting and employee assistance programmes.

And as managing director of Capita Health & Wellbeing, Jason Powell is keen to make Capita as a whole a more visceral presence in the world of health insurance and protection intermediaries. This year’s acquisitions of Aviva’s UK OH business, Bluefin’s employee benefits consultancy operations and Medicals Direct could mean realising that ambition is almost inevitable.

THE ROAD TO CAPITA

Powell joined Capita in May 2010, when the organisation acquired Premier Medical Group, a medical reporting and screening provider he himself had invested in after spells in the print and packaging industry and at Bupa, where he had worked as an accountant before spearheading a number of projects as head of innovations, from a ‘find-a-nanny’ service to developing an insurance product for people involved in motor accidents.

A self-confessed “corporate venturer”, Powell left Bupa in 2006 after meeting Dr Harry Brunjes, the well-known Harley Street entrepreneur who had set up Premier Medical Group, a provider of medico-legal reports, rehabilitation, life medicals, health screening, private GP clinics and OH services. It was a meeting that would prove to be key. From sketching out what turned out to be a hugely successful business plan for Premier Medical Group with his new business partner ‘on a doily in a restaurant’ to helping him to build it up into an organisation with a turnover of £12m and over 50 staff, Powell relished the entrepreneurial freedom the opportunity presented.

But with a MBA and a palpable appetite for deal-making, was he not concerned that joining a huge corporate like Capita would reign those impulses in?

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