Above average solvency and healthy growth plan highlighted at TopMed AGM
An aggressive growth strategy and a return on investments, which is well above the industry norm have been the highlights of the past year for one of South Africa’s oldest medical schemes.
This, coupled with a solvency ratio of over 169%, contributed to the very buoyant mood at the Annual General Meeting of TopMed medical scheme held at the Durbanville Country Club on June 20.
Founded more than 40 years ago, TopMed has proved itself in terms of financial stability, efficiency and personal service.
TopMed was already in an enviably stable financial position at the beginning of the 2011 financial year.
Jerry Van Vuuren, Chairperson of the Board announced that “our surplus, for the financial year stands at R17 million, which compares well in the industry.”
The medical scheme has much to be proud of. This year has also seen a growth in membership of six percent and a decrease in non-healthcare expenses from 15.2% to 14.4%.
In spite of this there were some warning signs: TopMed received R337 million in contributions and spent R371 million during the year. One reason is that the investment returns are being used to keep premiums low, but Van Vuuren pointed out that it was vital that the scheme build up its reserves.
“One of the results of being a scheme that is 40 years old is that our members are ageing too,” he said. “Our average age of beneficiaries has remained the same as last year at 39.4 years, but our pensioner ratio of 15.3% is higher than the industry average.
“We know that the only way to address this is to grow our scheme. The present 12 267 members are an increase of 11.6 when compared to last year, but we would like to grow to at least 50 000. This will not happen overnight, but we are taking steps to make sure that it does happen.”
The aggressive growth strategy has been carried through in the scheme’s focus on mergers and acquisitions.
“Mergers are always on our radar,” Van Vuuren confirmed. “We successfully merged with the Built Environment Professional Associations Medical Scheme, which contributed to our growth over the year.
“We have actively been looking for other viable schemes to merge with. We have been in very positive discussions with an in-house scheme and we expect to announce our progress there soon. We are guided by the principle that we are not seeking growth at all costs. We have turned down a number of merge opportunities that we believe would have been detrimental for the Scheme.”
Van Vuuren confirmed that TopMed has also been investigating a strategic alignment with a financial institution.
“We are still in the negotiation phase, but expect to make an announcement in the next month or two,” he said.
TopMed also announced the appointment of its new Principal Officer, Barbara Duffy. She takes over from the interim PO, John Rollason.
Draft FCB Redline
Breaking News »