The announcement that NHS patients can now ‘top up’ their cancer treatment by buying cancer drugs privately is good news for franchisees of not-for-profit medical insurer WPA.
WPA franchisees provide private health insurance cover including policies designed specifically to help cover the cost of cancer drugs.
WPA’s Franchise Manager, Berkeley Harris, says: ‘There is a huge new audience for these products, among individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and big corporates. It represents great potential for extra earnings.’
WPA has been central to the debate about topping up NHS cancer treatment and has had the products in place for some time, anticipating the recent announcement.
Its franchisees can offer a modular NHS ‘Health Top-Up’ policy which is aimed at customers who want to make the most of the NHS. As well as Wellness, Hospital, A&E Abroad, Cosmetic and Legal Advice, it includes up to £50,000 of licensed cancer drugs unavailable on the NHS and their administration in a private or an NHS setting.
Mr Harris says: ‘We are already seeing increased demand for these products, especially from the corporate market. Many companies are desperate to offer some form of health care to employees but feel that full-scale medical insurance is too costly.’
WPA is seeking another 15 franchisees to add to its existing network, to ensure that no customer is more than a few miles from one of its representatives.
‘We do not look for previous experience in financial services, sales or insurance, but you must be committed to providing ethical, customer-focussed service. Energy, enthusiasm and attitude are key’ says Mr Harris.
‘We look for positive people who understand our philosophy – the type who puts the customer before the pound. If ‘get rich quick’ is your style, WPA is not for you while if building a solid and sustainable business is your aspiration – in effect, get wealthy slowly – think about it’
WPA’s focus on customers reflects its roots. It was founded in 1901 by workers in Reading who pooled their savings to pay for healthcare, then only available privately. This was at a time before the modern day Welfare State was conceived; if you did not work or earn, food did not go on the table.
Now the majority of its 300,000 customers are companies or the self-employed, but it remains a not-for-profit provident association, ploughing its ‘surplus’ back into customer care and services.
Its not-for-profit status also means that, unlike most companies in the financial services sector, it is not subject to the volatile demands of shareholders. WPA’s customers are at the centre of all that it does. A full member of the British Franchise Association, WPA has also been named as one of the UK’s top 100 companies to work for.
‘Our franchisees are an eclectic team including former bank managers, optometrists and soldiers to name a few. All have an empathy with business clients because they too are managing and growing their business’ says Mr Harris, himself a former franchisee.
The £7,500 franchise fee includes in-depth training in WPA’s range of medical insurance products, in order to qualify as Financial Services Authority regulated Appointed Representative; WPA manages all the regulated aspects of the business so that franchisees can concentrate on the needs of their customers.
Also included is continuous business and sales training as well as a business mentor you can call on for help or advice during your first two years who, more often than not, becomes a colleague and ‘friend for life’ with whom to share ideas.
You can work from home or office, building your team and business at a speed to suit you. As well as new business introductions coming from WPA, leads come via word of mouth, financial advisors and networks such as BNI (Business Network International). ‘With a WPA franchise you get the genuine support of the team,” says Mr Harris. ‘It is a case of what you put in is what you get out.’
Linda Whitney is a freelance contributor on Franchising in the Daily Mail and has written about Franchising and Personal Finance for more than a decade.
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Matthew Anderson is a franchise consultant and founder of The Franchise Shop, a UK business franchise directory featuring Financial Franchises
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