Healthcare firm looking abroad to expand insurance services business

Laya Healthcare is targeting expansion abroad as an insurance services company, according to managing director Dónal Clancy.

The company is looking at offering its skills in sales, processing and actuary to other potential clients across the world.

Mr Clancy, speaking at Cork Chamber of Commerce business breakfast in association with the Irish Examiner, doesn’t see Laya as an insurance company but an insurance services company offering a range of skills.

He said that one of the reasons they had selected Swiss Re as their new underwriter in the wake of the Quinn Insurance going into administration was that they were interested in diversification.

“They [Swiss Re] weren’t looking solely from a medical insurance perspective, they would have a broader perspective. They have diversification requirements and we are a service company and we can service other business for them.”

Laya is now in talks with Swiss Re and other insurance companies about offering their skills and services in selling and processing insurance.

“We would be thinking Ireland and elsewhere as well. If there is an opportunity for us to export our services are deliver our services elsewhere, we will definitely go for it.

“There is conversations going on with Swiss Re and others about doing this.”

He said that Laya could offer similar services in the insurance market as financial service companies like Street State offer to the global funds industry from Ireland.

“We have people with a particular set of skills, we have them we’ve taken service calls directly from the UK before into the company. Something similar to the funds industry in Ireland but with insurance.”

While Mr Clancy looks to diversify Laya, its core business in the health insurance market is performing well in a declining market since it was launched in May.

In an overall market where 30,000 people have given up health insurance since January, Laya has increased its market share. It now boasts over 450,000 members and employs 355 people in Cork.

Mr Clancy said that Laya has a healthy balance sheet and despite public perception so too did Quinn Health, from which Laya emerged after a management buyout.

“There was very keen interest in our business, because out business was a solid business, the fact that they (the Quinns) mucked up a whole pile of other things is a another matter, but the health insurance business was a solid business from an underwriting perspective.”

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