Sanlam announced its strategic intent to aggressively enter the South African private healthcare market with a range of new products and partnerships. Through a newly established division – Sanlam Health Solutions – the group aims to fill a gap in the market for affordable, flexible and personalised healthcare solutions. It will also deepen existing partnerships with Bonitas and Fedhealth.
Medical aid penetration is low in South Africa. Only 8.9 million South Africans – or 15.2% of the population – are members of medical aid schemes, either directly or as beneficiaries.
Paul Hanratty, CEO Sanlam Group, says the need for affordable private healthcare was laid bare during the COVID-19 crisis. “Unfortunately, many South Africans have found themselves unable to afford the prohibitively high costs of most medical aids. At Sanlam we are led by a singular purpose – to help Africans live with confidence – and our clients’ health is vital to their ability to live with confidence and resiliently build wealth. With this in mind, we have made the decision to significantly upweight our health focus.”
Hanratty says the new division will offer South African employers and consumers options which many of the existing players in the market don’t. “Our range of healthcare solutions will allow South African employers and consumers to select the solution that best meets their health needs and financial situation. We also intend to become a catalyst for innovation in the space that will help drive down the cost of access to healthcare.”
New products which will be rolled out in the coming months include a low cost primary health insurance product called Sanlam Primary Care as well as Sanlam Gap, Sanlam Primary Care Clinics, Sanlam Occupational Health Services, Sanlam Employee Assistance Programme and Sanlam Executive Care.
Jurie Strydom, Chief Executive: Life and Savings at Sanlam, says its two medical aid partners are innovative, flexible and affordable and their brands and client offerings are aligned with Sanlam’s own. “Both Bonitas and Fedhealth are administered by Medscheme, a part of Afrocentric, and are in the top six schemes in South Africa. Bonitas being the second largest by some margin.
“We will give our clients the flexibility to move between medical aid options. Our ambition is to empower people to live their best and healthiest possible lives, by enabling them to choose good wellness practices.”
Strydom concluded that the offering will help corporates offer employees multiple medical schemes instead of just one. “We’ll achieve this by integrating Sanlam products into the two open medical schemes. Packaging life insurance, gap and medical schemes options to address all of the costs associated with critical illness, rather than the current market structure where these solutions are purchased in isolation of each other, will allow us to offer a more affordable and cost effective corporate offering and more choice to employers and employees.”