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New Boss for York Health Firm

Benenden new logo

3:17pm 5th March 2013

Hot on the heels of its recent rebrand success, the award-winning York-based mutual organisation benenden health today announces the internal appointment of its Marketing & Business Strategy Director, Marc Bell, to the role of Chief Executive.

Marc’s appointment follows the stepping down of Ken Hesketh who had overseen significant developments to the organisation in his four year tenure as Chief Executive.

2012 saw benenden health open up its membership to the UK population after 107 years of restricted membership, mainly within the public sector. This was followed by a complete rebrand in January 2013 and the launch of a major marketing strategy including prime-time TV advertising for the first time.

The appointment of a new Chief Executive comes at a watershed moment as benenden health seeks to dramatically increase public awareness of its affordable mutual health and wellbeing services.

Marc Bell said: ‘It has been an exciting few months to be at the forefront of our major rebrand and the outcomes so far have been very encouraging to see. Now I welcome and relish the chance to be at the helm as I look to develop on a business-wide level the important work of my predecessor Ken Hesketh.

‘Ken led the organisation confidently through major changes in the past four years – really pushing benenden health to the forefront of the UK private healthcare market and the UK’s mutual & co-operative movement. I wish him all the best for his future projects.’

Marc Bell joined benenden health - the mutual, not-for-profit healthcare provider - as Marketing & Business Strategy Director in 2008 and has contributed significantly over the past five years to the development of business strategy. This included leading the recent rebrand and a push to develop new general insurance services for the membership.

Prior to joining benenden health, Marc had more than 15 years of board level service with several blue chip retail organisations, including the Daily Mail and General Trust Group’s Teletext service, where he launched the Teletext Holidays online brand and established a leading holiday distribution portal. Marc was also previously Marketing Director at Granada Hospitality, responsible for hotels and restaurants across the UK including the award-winning Travelodge brand.

Marc Bell continued: ‘I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to lead benenden health at what it is a crucial and exciting time for the organisation. With the decision by members to remove eligibility criteria in June 2012 it has given us a real opportunity for significant growth and the ability to deliver our message of affordable mutual healthcare to the wider UK population. In 2013 we are anticipating revenues not far short of £100m and with that goes a significant responsibility for protecting and growing the value of our mutual community.

‘In addition, with the macro-economic pressures the country is facing, it means that options to supplement health cover with affordable schemes like that provided by benenden health become increasingly important and this could mean a massive growth opportunity for the organisation. In 2012, the private medical cover market declined to a total of 3.9m subscribers according to Laing and Buisson. benenden health is not an insurer but still commands a significant weight in this market place providing discretionary health cover for over 900,000 people.’

benenden health looks to place itself firmly as an affordable, ethical and easily accessible alternative to take advantage of downward pressure on traditionally expensive private medical insurance premiums from competing providers which in total market volume are declining.

As a mutual, benenden health is also passionate about the importance of UK mutuals helping to transform public services in the future – particularly in healthcare. benenden health has openly declared its vision to become the leading health & wellbeing mutual community in the UK. It looks to place the value of ‘community’ at the heart of its work – with a detailed community relations programme, a commitment to the mutual/co-operative ideal and high quality customer service to its members.

Marc Bell concluded: ‘We have a talented team at benenden health who are all dedicated to ensuring we deliver the best possible service for our members and over the past few years we’ve had some great achievements – including being named as the UK’s most trusted healthcare provider for two years running by the 14,000 participants in the annual Moneywise customer survey.

‘I am hugely positive about the future of the benenden health and looking forward to leading the organisation in what are challenging times.’

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