Firm links employee fitness to premiums

Gym firm Hogarth Leisure hopes to cut its healthcare bill after it introduced a scheme that links the price of insurance premiums to staff fitness.

The firm will get 25% of this year’s unused premiums off the cost of next year’s cover under the new policy, run by PruHealth, and employees can also get cash back. General manager Beulah Neelmeyer said the scheme was appropriate for the firm’s fitness conscious workforce. "Our staff are in the health industry anyway, so they are already doing a lot of the things. But now they are going to get a reward for it and it’s making them driven."

Employees, many of whom are trainers, swimming instructors and tennis coaches, can get up to £700-a-year cash back by collecting ‘vitality points’ for efforts such as quitting smoking and improving blood pressure readings. Staff are also rewarded for taking part in health screenings.

When the scheme was introduced last month, the company’s 300 staff could choose between the insurance or taking extra cash instead.

Neelmeyer emphasised the importance of shopping around for health insurance. "Private healthcare providers all quote prices very close to one another – you get lulled into thinking there’s no point in changing."

But while she said that she hoped to get a cash rollover at the end of the year, she added: "Obviously because it’s a medical thing, anything can happen. We might have a bad year where somebody uses up three times what we are paying. But that’s insurance isn’t it?"