Formerly Europ Assistance in the UK and Ireland and now independent, Aria Insurance Services Limited is built on expertise gained over 40 years in the UK and Irish markets. It provides insurance and assistance services in travel, motor, home emergency along with My Concierge Living Assistance and Premier Occupational Healthcare services. It also offers international private medical insurance through Aria International Health Solutions. Aria Insurance Services Limited tailors quality products to meet the needs of its business partners’ customers, as well as adding value to their core offer.
Aria Insurance Services Limited uses its experience and market knowledge to support the changing needs of customers and the markets in which it operates. This ensures that clients have access to a wide range of up to date and innovative insurance and assistance solutions. The Company’s aim is to develop new products to enhance its existing portfolios while developing propositions for new markets such as social care and occupational health. Underpinning Aria Insurance Services Limited’s propositions is its customer service expertise, delivered from two assistance centres and its extensive global and local networks of trained professionals.
International Private Medical Insurance Magazine, the leading Medical, Health, Travel and Expatriate Insurance and Assistance Magazine caught up with Aria Assistance CEO, Mr. Patrick Leroy, to discuss the current market position of Aria Assistance, and what we may expect in the future.
Please introduce yourself and your background in the international healthcare business.
I was born in Neuilly Sur Seine, France. At the University Paris Dauphine I completed a Master’s degree in Management Science and after that a Management Accounting degree whilst at PWC. After holding a number of analyst positions at various companies I joined Europ Assistance (France) in 1990, where I remained until 1995 when I was made CEO International for the Europ Assistance Group. I then spent a few years at Accor Group before taking on the role of CEO for the Paris based International Assistance Group, which offers medical, travel and roadside assistance. Here, I oversaw the company’s growth to a networked group of assistance companies located over five continents worldwide. After this I returned to Europ Assistance (UK) as Managing Director in 2008 with additional responsibility for the Europ Assistance companies in North America, South Africa and Scandinavia, and EA IHS. Following the management buyout and subsequent rebrand I am now CEO of Aria Insurance Services, which offers international private medical insurance through Aria International Health Solutions, as well as insurance and assistance services in travel, motor, home emergency and health.
What does your current role at Aria Assistance involve?
I now lead the management team at Aria Assistance and work closely with Tim Ablett, our Chairman. We are looking to introduce innovative new products and services that complement and add value to our business partners’ brands, all delivered with a promise of superior service. At the heart of this are our contact centres, which reassure policyholders they are in good hands and handle problems with competency and efficiency.
What were the driving forces in the Management buyout of Europ Assistance’s UK and Ireland arm and International Health Solutions?
Becoming independent was one of the main driving forces of the MBO. It gives us freedom of action, as well as the opportunity to innovate for the UK and Irish markets. We are about to launch a number of exciting new products, including ID Protection and a Business Travel Assistance offer.
Under the new Aria Insurance Services Limited brand, what international health solutions will you offer?
We are about to unveil Aria International Health Solutions and a consumer product is in the pipeline. What will stand us apart is our in-house 24/7 global assistance platform, which provides a one-touch single point of contact, wherever in the world our customers find themselves.
Specifically, can you walk us through the range of International Private Medical Insurance solutions that Aria International Health Solutions will offer?
We provide international health insurance plans for international personnel, both expatriates and local nationals and their dependents. Our service proposition automatically includes:
- Single contact number for policy queries, claims, assistance
- Rapid access to our network of medical facilities
- 24 hour telephone multi-lingual call centre, with caring, trained co-ordinators who can immediately validate the policy cover and arrange direct settlement facilities with the chosen medical provider
- Assistance to help you choose a medical professional or medical facility to provide the required treatment
- Step by step case management for in-patient admissions and serious illnesses
- Emergency transportation with fully qualified doctors or nurses to provide the medical escort
Our single in-house technology platform ensures that we can validate cover immediately and process claims quickly, and arrange direct settlement facilities with the chosen medical provider. Naturally we offer multi-currency trading and offer multiple claim reimbursement methods (including reimbursement to debit/credit cards).
Aria Assistance are specialists in providing 'Out of Hours' Call, Case and Claim Handling Services on a 24/7/365 basis. How do you achieve this?
In short, our people. This has always been one of the strengths of our organisation. We run a shift system to man the phones all day, every day and provide only the best training courses and facilities. Our call centre employees are all at the top of their game and genuinely care about our customers, working hard to resolve cases and claims quickly and efficiently.
Nearly two million cars in the UK and Ireland rely on the roadside assistance services of Aria Assistance. How is the roadside assistance business developing, and what emerging markets may provide future opportunities for Aria Assistance?
The market for roadside assistance is limited to 30% of the UK market as almost 70% is in the hands of the AA/RAC. However, there is an opportunity for quality products but not necessarily huge growth. We are not contemplating deploying roadside assistance in other territories but do see a huge opportunity to develop our offerings to address the increasing demands of the domestic sector.
Aria Assistance will offer white label solutions for partners; designed and developed hand in hand, tailored specifically to their wants and needs. What product and service lines do you envisage will be popular?
I envisage the following products and service lines will be popular: Aria Assistance’s innovative ID Protection and soon to be launched business travel assistance offer, health and Aria International Health Solutions IPMI. We will continue to support profitable leisure travel business.
Ensuring access to healthcare for expats and tourists, at anyplace, and anytime is achieved through a global network of healthcare service providers, including hospitals, third party administrators, cost containment firms, clinics; and transportation companies like air and ground ambulance services providers. How does Aria approach the selection of worldwide health care provider network partners, and how would a new service provider be considered to serve your members?
Aria Assistance identifies new providers via introduction from existing accredited providers, industry authorised magazines and publications and our own research. Potential providers are sent an Aria Assistance introductory booklet that highlights our services and requirements. This is complemented by either a formal accreditation form or questionnaire depending on which field the provider works in. Aria Assistance applies very stringent criteria and vetting of providers through an accreditation process. Although a number of contracts nowadays can now be established remotely through the use of telephone, Webex and video conferences, we also complete field trips and face to face visits where necessary. Organisations we look at are those that can provide access to the best medical facilities and rates. Aria Assistance follows a robust performance review cycle and while we still have access to the Europ Assistance Group’s international network (this remains a robust asset for us), we ensure that all providers’ data and performance is monitored in a controlled and secure fashion.
Over the next 5 years, how will the global assistance business develop and what opportunities will be available for Aria Assistance?
Development areas and opportunities include mobility, communications and time management. Supporting of technology and ad-hoc information is essential to the success of business.
Many thanks for taking the time to speak with us Patrick, and we look forward to keeping our readers up-to-speed with developments @ Aria Assistance. To read all about the insurance and assistance solutions that Aria Assistance provide please visit the Aria Assistance website @ http://www.aria-assistance.co.uk
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