This month we have the pleasure of chatting with Caroline Robinson one of our outstanding corporate employee benefits consultants, based in Leicestershire. Caroline talks about her time in the industry, what expertise she anticipates people needing as they plan for the future and where she sees the industry going as a result of recent trends…
Hi Caroline, great to chat with you today. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your life, how you got into the industry?
I’m married with 2 lovely young boys and we live in a pretty village in Leicestershire. About 20 years ago I was reconsidering my career after working with horses and then stumbled into advertising for 12 months. Being quite nomadic, and still not feeling settled, I looked to see what else life could offer work-wise and a recruitment company suggested a job as a healthcare broker with a lovely family run business in Leicestershire.
This was the turning point and the direction I needed as I have loved it ever since. Variety, not tied to the office and a job that made me feel I was doing something worthwhile. It did help that my first boss was a real inspiration and knew the industry inside out.
The perfect work/life balance! What are your specialties/areas of expertise?
PMI is my specialist area but I do advise on all employee benefits excluding pensions.
… and who can benefit the most from your expertise?
Groups from 10 to 1000 employees are my ideal client. Companies that are passionate about employee health and wellbeing will benefit from me the most as I will go to the ends of the earth to assist them in delivering programmes, ideas and processes to meet their duty of care on this matter and beyond. I think it’s a savvy business that inspires, not pressurises, staff to look after their physical and mental health.
Give us the 3 most important tips for people looking for advice and guidance right now?
1st… Get advice from someone who is qualified. This shows commitment to training and knowledge and shows credibility.
2nd… Speak to an adviser who works with a company that is big enough to have industry muscle but small enough to care – oh PCH fit this bill perfectly, fancy that!
3rd… Take plenty of time to consider the many options that are on offer and after clearly outlining what your needs are trust your advisor.
And here is a 4th… Communicate your benefits effectively and regularly to your employees.
These are fabulous, so what is the key trend you see affecting clients over the next 12 months?
I think companies will start to talk about aging workforce issues which affect higher claiming trends, thus increasing costs. This ultimately relates to health and well-being being more important than ever as the older people are, the more important it is to encourage and inspire (via management) healthy living to increase productivity and reduce presenteeism/absenteeism. E.g those being at work when actually they should be at home recuperating, and those being off when a better lifestyle could have avoided this.
And finally, what do you think the health insurance industry will look like in 10 years time?
I think although the last 10 years have been tough due to the huge amount of broker competition that has arrived in our industry, we are going to see a huge rise in the purchase of PMI as the NHS has to change due to its significant under-funding issues. With more than 50% of NHS trusts being significantly in the red – and are set to worsen – I think PMI is going to become more of a necessity for both individuals and companies than it is right now. Exciting times ahead I feel. Did I tell you I suffer from chronic optimism!
I think in 10 years time there will be almost as many adverts about PMI as there are car insurance. Ooh just think of a Churchill type dog for PMI saying ‘oo yes!’
Thank you Caroline for those amazing insights. It has been an absolute pleasure to chat with you and to share in your wealth of knowledge.