“I don’t consider myself to be an entrepreneur but I do consider myself to be what they called on my MBA a ‘corporate venturer’,” Powell explains. “I do like the whole investment, M&A [mergers & acquisitions] sort of stuff and if that’s the way you are geared, there is no better place to be than an organisation like Capita.”
According to Powell, Capita’s “decision-making engine” is reflective of a company much smaller than its size.
“Capita has the balance between freedom of operation and corporate governance absolutely spot on,” he says.
That claim is being put to the test right now, as the organisation beds down a number of acquisitions relevant to the health insurance and protection industry made earlier this year.
The most recent one – Medicals Direct – was announced only last month and will add further weight to the screening and medical reporting capabilities offered by Premier Medical Group and Insurance Medical Group and FirstAssist, two similar organisations acquired by Capita over the last two years.
Medicals Direct gathers medical evidence, underwrites risk, conducts teleinterviews and manages claims for many of the main life, income protection, disability and critical illness providers in the UK and Ireland. And, as well as other OH and absence management services, Powell believes it neatly forms yet another part of the Capita jigsaw.
“Following the Aviva [OH] acquisition earlier in the year and now this investment in Medicals Direct, Capita Health & Wellbeing is able to provide screening services in clinic, through our mobile units, over the phone and at our customers’ home or workplace,” he explains.
CAPITA AND AVIVA
While Medicals Direct will especially boost Capita’s home screening capabilities, the Aviva OH acquisition gives it additional mobile health surveillance expertise and reach.
“The Aviva OH book of business had a very, very strong emphasis on surveillance and using their network of mobile screening units was really the key reason for us acquiring the business in the first place,” he says. “Their mobile units are unrivalled in the marketplace.”
According to Powell, Aviva’s decision to sell its OH business was not because it did not see it as “strategically significant” to its overall proposition.
“They sold it because they felt, as we felt, that a credible OH business needed to have scale,” he explains. “It needed ongoing investment which is difficult with a subscale business. Scale gives it capability that really allows you to service on a national basis and so they were looking for someone to buy the business that they could work with in the longer term.”
Capita has retained Aviva’s staff in Sheffield, although they have relocated to a Capita office nearby, all of the internal structures and reporting lines have stayed the same and the deal was done on the basis that the organisation would be the insurer’s long-term OH provider.
“The other thing that comes with the acquisition is a much stronger and deeper relationship with Aviva UK Health,” Powell explains. “Often, OH and health & wellbeing is sold alongside private medical insurance [PMI] or group income protection [GIP] and therefore it suited us to deepen our relationship with Aviva.”