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‘Too good to be true’ - Equipsme helps head of health consultancy back to full health
When David de Wet, Managing Director of health and public sector consultancy EcoVate started getting severe stomach pains, he went to A&E. They sent him home with instructions to take some paracetamol - but things started to get worse. It turned out David actually had pancreatitis - and thanks to Equipsme he got a super swift diagnosis and treatment at a private hospital.
“I actually ended up in a high dependency unit for 20 days, on a cocktail of antibiotics and fluids,” explains David. “My lung collapsed, my other organs were struggling, and I was in a great deal of pain. In fact pancreatitis is supposed to be some of the worst pain a man can be in – equivalent to labour. Let’s just say it made me very, very glad I didn’t have to give birth to any of my four kids!”
“Being able to turn to Equipsme when I was frankly pretty desperate was brilliant. It was back-up when I needed it most, and it’s been an absolutely fantastic service all the way through. Had I not had Equipsme, I’m not certain what the outcome would have been. As it was, I was able to get back on my feet remarkably quickly.”
David heard about Equipsme through Starling Bank. “To be honest, when I looked at Equipsme I thought it was too good to be true,” says David. “I work in health, so I know that your average PMI policy is hundreds of pounds a month, and for that PMI providers basically discourage you from ever using it with a lot of exclusions and sub-clauses.”
“In contrast, I literally did a double-take when I looked at Equipsme’s fees and services. It’s not only incredibly affordable, but it’s also really simple to understand and really easy to use - with a whole host of instant, practical benefits. I signed myself and a colleague up to trial it for a few months to see if it really was as good as it looked.”
And it turned out to be a hell of a few months… David’s team of 30 were flat out sourcing PPE for the NHS, and supporting NHS clients through goods, services, advice and recommendations - working around the clock and around the globe.
David said: “Having Equipsme in my back pocket was incredibly useful. It was nearly impossible for us to get an appointment with our GP at the height of the pandemic, and my partner and I used the GP service for ourselves and our new twins so much I thought I might actually wear it out! But there really aren’t set limits. Meanwhile my colleague, who suffers from stress, found the Stress Support line an incredible support, right there when they really needed it.”
“We were so impressed we decided to offer Equipsme to all of our employees. I told them the story about what happened to me, and about how important it was to me that they have the same sort of safety net, and same level of care. Pretty much everyone has taken it up – and everyone has added their family too.”
“Working so closely with the NHS we all love and respect it. But keeping ourselves well helps us take some of the strain off it, and keeps us going to keep on supporting it. It’s a comfort to know Equipsme is there to help people get seen fast, get better fast, and get back to work fast, too.”
For David, signing everyone up for Equipsme was an easy decision. He continues: “I’ve no doubt the stress of the last year led me to getting ill. It’s been a wake up call that I need to look after myself, and extend that to my team. In the end it was a no brainer, and we’ve not looked back since.”
“For any small business, the continuity of your team and your staff is critical. If you lose one cog the whole machine is impacted. Any business genuinely interested in their people should be looking at Equipsme to support their health and wellbeing. The fact you can do so for less than it would cost to take them all out for a bite to eat is just the icing on the cake.”
“What I particularly like about Equipsme is that it’s not the kind of evil necessity insurance you hope you never have to use. It’s about making people feel better and keeping them well, checking their health with the Thriva tests, taking up the physio appointments, using the dental cover, getting the stress support.”
“It turns out Equipsme isn’t a scam. In fact it’s been flawless. It’s straightforward, no BS, no jargon, just clear, plain English, great customer service and a top quality product with access to the best doctors, diagnostics and hospitals. I’ve been blown away by it, I’ve been incredibly grateful to have it, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
If you would like to find out about EcoVate please go to www.ecovategroup.com .
When online pension and tech experts Smart were thinking about improving staff benefits, health insurance was at the top of their list – and they found Equipsme a great fit for their business.
Martin Warner, Director of Talent at Smart, explains: “Health and well-being are really important to us as a business,” says Martin. “For us, it’s obvious: if you look after people and encourage them to look after themselves, they’ll be more engaged and more productive.
“What we liked about Equipsme was that it offered people not just peace of mind but real, practical benefits. We wanted a provider that was going to be able to help people get things sorted fast – for example, being able to secure a physiotherapy appointment without the wait, or getting to see a GP at home on the sofa after work.
“I’m particularly pleased we took up the ‘stress support’ option, so our employees had access to some support during what’s been one of the most stressful periods of working life for everyone.”
So far Equipsme has proved pretty popular with staff. “People tell us it’s really good, it’s really quick, they like being able to get everything they need from an app, and they like being able to choose to add on family members themselves. That was particularly important to us when selecting a provider.”
When Norwich-based Recover Physiotherapy switched bank accounts to Starling Bank, Director Stuart Wardle saw an advert in the Starling marketplace for Equipsme.
Impressed by both the cover and the price, he ditched his personal medical insurance and signed himself and another key member of staff up.
“I’m very familiar with private medical insurance because I work with private patients, and I’ve had my own personal policy,” explains Stuart. “Equipsme disrupts the market. It’s great quality practical cover, made simple and affordable.”
Recover Physiotherapy has seen demand rise for private physio as the pandemic has put non-critical NHS care on hold. But being busier than ever means the business can’t afford for staff to be out with illness or injury.
“Physio is a physical job,” explains Stuart. “If one of us goes out running at the weekend and picks up a serious injury that requires surgery, right now that’s going to take a while to get treated by the NHS. They could be unable to work for months. Equipsme just made sense.
What I liked about it was that it wasn’t just insurance that sat in the background quietly hoping never to be used. There were immediate benefits. I also liked the simplicity of it, being able to add on things like dental and optical as well as being able to add direct family members.
“I think more small businesses will – and should be – looking at PMI options, and I’d definitely recommend they look at Equipsme”
Space Kitchens and Bathrooms
Space Kitchens and Bathrooms are based near Romsey and design, supply and install kitchens and bathrooms across Hampshire.
In 2018, Space bought Equipsme for their whole team because they wanted to show their staff how valued they were and to give them the peace of mind that comes with having a health insurance plan. For £29 per person per month, the team have access to a GP 24/7 via phone or video, physios, specialist diagnosis and hospital treatment.
Space had considered PMI before, but found that it was expensive and inflexible. When their broker suggested Equipsme, James Geere, Director from Space thought it sounded good: “Being a small, family-focused business, we wanted our staff to feel well looked after. It’s peace of mind for them and shows we care. Not only that, it benefits the business as well: if our staff have got something wrong, they will be able to get it sorted and get back to work quicker.”
Space also liked the fact that their staff could upgrade and add their family if they wanted to and several members of the team have taken advantage of this. “Everyone was so pleased and surprised to get the health insurance plan. It makes you feel good to be valued and providing this benefit is an easy way to do that and it gives our people the peace of mind that it’s there if they ever need it. Our staff were quite touched by it actually,” said James.
Suffolk-based Fire Security (Sprinkler Installations) bought Equipsme plans for its entire 22-strong workforce as part of a new initiative to focus on looking after the health and wellbeing of its staff.
Fire Security have a mixture of admin staff, designers and engineers who are often on site working in high pressure environments.
For £18.50 per person per month, Fire Security staff have access to a health insurance plan that provides 24/7 GP access via phone or video, access to physios, specialist diagnosis and a stress support service. Stress support provides a confidential helpline 24/7, counselling by phone and up to 5 face-to-face sessions if needed. Staff also receive a confidential home health check for Vitamin D deficiency, supplied by Equipsme’s health technology partner Thriva.
Fire Security have seen many improvements since having the plan in place. Sickness absence rates reduced by 50% in the first half of 2019 and when a rival firm contacted their staff, they were able to retain 95% of those that had been approached. They have also been working with Suffolk Mind to support the mental wellbeing of their staff and a recent assessment showed improvements in many areas of emotional wellbeing.
Richard Pipe, Director and Co-owner said “We have always found employee healthcare schemes to be expensive and complicated. Equipsme is a complete contrast to the traditional model and is a straightforward solution with competitive prices. The on-boarding process was extremely easy, and our staff appreciate the benefits. The stress support bolt-on was of particular appeal to us. Also, the fact that levels of cover can be easily varied means employee loyalty can be rewarded.”