This month, WhiteCollarFranchise.co.uk speak with Daniel Wade, from the WPA Healthcare Practice Franchise. The WPA (Western Provident Association) Healthcare Practice is the franchise arm for WPA which is a not-for-profit provider of health insurance for families, individuals and small businesses.
The Healthcare Practice Partner opportunity is highly successful and well-established franchised network of partners providing Western Provident Association (WPA) health insurance policies to families, individuals, and small and medium businesses as our core market.
In the health insurance market many people are surprised when they learn that WPA have been in operation since 1901. There have been great changes to the UK health system since then, but WPA has continued to develop to provide quality personal private and corporate healthcare policies for its clients.
Franchising has been used a means of expanding the WPA service nationwide since 2006 and there are now over 70 Healthcare Practice partners throughout the UK making HCP a proven and successful franchise in the health insurance sector.
My title is ‘New Practice Development Manager’, so I look after developing the UK network of partners. We seek high calibre people with the right balance of experience and drive to take on new territories and develop their own successful business with all the training and support provided to help these people develop highly successful businesses.
I also have first-hand experience as I have had my own practice for around ten years and still have my own active business managing my own portfolio of clients. Therefore, when prospective franchisees want to understand more about the business then I can give them first-hand experience, and can empathise with them in terms of many of the thoughts and considerations that go through their minds when considering starting a franchised business.
We want to attract the highest calibre of people who want to build a business that makes use of the generous territory we provide.
You need to have good relationship building skills, both to establish the initial client base and to maintain ongoing relationships. Some of our clients are single policy holders while the majority of our clients are perhaps around 5 staff. You can target larger corporate clients too, and successful franchisees will have a mixed portfolio with perhaps an 80/20 split of small business to corporate clients. Our focus is on personal relationships with these clients, and as a result we have around a 90% client retention rate.
Networking is an important part of a successful business as the kinds of smaller, local businesses that make up our core clients are often found, and relationships established, through networking activities. People with sales experience or customer facing experience would therefore have existing suitable skills, but of course we provide detailed training and ongoing support as it is in everyone’s best interest for a franchisee partner’s business to have every opportunity to maximise their client base.
Day to day involves becoming the local face of WPA in your territory. Integrating with local businesses and relationship building. Over time, your role changes with more account management as you seek to build long-term relationships.
Health insurance is a very emotive type of insurance and people tend to want to find the right cover that matters to them as health is so important personally, as opposed to car insurance where the cheapest price is perhaps a more important factor and people will shop around and move car insurer every year sometimes. With health insurance, with a well-managed relationship, Healthcare Practice Partners have a very high level of client retention as a result.
Yes, we do have some opportunities throughout the UK, though the midlands and north of England are where there are more territories available for new starters. But you can explore if there is scope in your locality by making a ‘request information’ enquiry.
We also have resales coming up at different times, and currently have resales available in Yorkshire, Kent, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire – all with an active client base and scope for further growth.
There is enormous scope to grow a large business asset, and we have seen some substantial resales of existing partner businesses.
Im not aware of any opportunity that has the combination of a century-old established service provider, coupled with a vast array of resources for training and support that provides a start-up for just £9200 including VAT. Our partners are proud to be the face of WPA in their area.
In addition, just one example of our support structure is a ‘launch pad fund’. This provides new franchise partners with upfront incremental financial assistance throughout the first two years oftheir business in line with meeting objectives as part of their development plan.
It’s very important to research carefully and be 100% that the franchisor you seek to partner with shares your objectives for success. It’s also important that with such a big decision, that you’re going to be doing something you will enjoy, as it will be your focus for many years to achieve the long-term results. So it comes back to this initial research to make sure you make the right decision.
We seek trustworthy, professional, ethical people to partner with and therefore we take great pride in reflecting these values in the opportunity we offer.
The Healthcare Practice is unique… I’ve never worked with a company that look after you so well. Joining them was the best decision I have made in my life, hand on heart.Bob Grace - Healthcare Partner since 1999
My advice for anyone looking to become a Healthcare Partner is just do it! If there is a practice available near you then absolutely go for it. The training, the support, the help, the advice - it’s been the best decision that I’ve made.Ross Le Jeune - Healthcare Partner since 2016
Attending the open day at Head Office was extremely useful and helped reassure me that I was perusing a good opportunity. It allowed me to learn more about WPA, meet a number of staff and experience the culture and transparency of the organisation. It certainly played a crucial role in my decision making process about becoming a Healthcare Partner.Catherine Bennett – Healthcare Partner since December 2014
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