Sympany ends 2013 in the black and rolls out innovations
Basel, 9. April 2014 - Sympany is striking out in a new direction by rolling out a surplus participation scheme from which its insured benefit. Having already rolled out a supplementary insurance model in October 2013, Sympany is now presenting its new basic insurance model. Sympany is allocating CHF 5.8 million of its CHF 17.5 million net profit to a surplus fund.
Innovative surplus model in basic insurance
CEO Dr Ruedi Bodenmann: "Surpluses can result if the amount of medical benefits claimed falls short of what was estimated. That's why the surplus fund we have just set up will siphon CHF 5.8 million in surpluses for the 2013 financial year back to the insureds who are entitled to it. Our surplus model in basic insurance is innovative and offers a solution consistent with the current Swiss Health Insurance Act (KVG)." Following the reallocation to the surplus fund, the profit for the year therefore stands at CHF 11.8 million (NB: Sympany's new surplus participation model is described in the appendix to the media release).
Sympany App: an innovation that makes life simpler
Another innovation comes in the form of Sympany's mobile app, which makes it easy for users to have an overview of their benefit statements wherever they happen to be. Together with details of the medical benefits received, the app gives the user an overview of their own insurance situation. More functions are to be added in due course.
Successful rollout of new IT system
It is not only the innovations that are focused on meeting customers' needs; the IT changeover – which was completed successfully – was also aimed at benefiting the insureds by improving processes and enhancing efficiency. After a great deal of preparatory work, Sympany has overhauled its customer service IT systems. As a result of the IT changeover, Sympany expects not only improvements in service quality but also more cost savings thanks to automation and simplified processes.
Premium income and costs for medical benefits
The processing of benefits in particular has been simplified. During the year under review, Sympany witnessed an increase in the medical benefits being drawn, from CHF 784 million in 2012 to CHF 803 million, and for hospital treatment in particular. It is regrettable that the new hospital financing plans have not yet brought about the expected reduction in treatment costs. At the same time, premium volume fell from CHF 919 million in 2012 to CHF 891 million, which was in line with the decline in the number of customers.
Consistent cost management
While Sympany has no direct control over the drawing of medical benefits, it can directly influence administrative costs, which were reduced again during the year under review thanks to consistent cost management. This was made possible not only by greater efficiency resulting from the IT changeover but also by a variety of cost-cutting measures. Furthermore, Sympany has further reduced its headcount by improving processes and restricting appointments to vacant positions. Overall, the company's operating expense has been reduced by CHF 9 million since the preceding year and now stands at CHF 104 million.
That Sympany achieved an overall profit for the year despite falling premium income and rising benefit payments is attributable not least to its own efforts towards reducing operating expense.
A return to growth
Sympany's well-thought-out customer focus enabled it to bring about a renewed upturn in their number, and to keep the number of private customers leaving very low by comparison with the market norm. It also acquired a gratifyingly large number of new customers, providing basic insurance cover to 175,681 insureds, which amounts to a net increase of 11,000 over the previous year's figure. Sympany is consolidating its own sales and marketing operations and sets great store by its existing customers' loyalty. In corporate customer business, Sympany's focus on profitability resulted in some contracts not being renewed, with a resulting slight decline in the number of corporate customers to 11,641.
Ruedi Bodenmann in conclusion: "I'm proud of our employees, who in recent years have made possible the innovations from which our insured benefit. The current soundness of Sympany's finances, the fact that its reserves go beyond what the regulations require, and its ability to become profitable again – all these things are down to the hard work they have all put in."
Dr Siegfried Walser, Chairman of the Foundation Board: "Sympany will be a hundred years old in the autumn of 2014. It may be a young company, but it was established upon a long-standing tradition. Both Sympany itself and its predecessor ÖKK Basel, which was founded in 1914, repeatedly set off down unexpected paths and pioneered new approaches in the healthcare field. So my hope is that Sympany will keep on working for the benefit of its insureds and of healthcare provision in Switzerland for another hundred years.”