With a £40m turnover and a move into claims investigation and digital transcription, Premex is experiencing rapid expansion. Chief executive Simon Margolis tells Andrew Holt of the company’s plans for further diversification and further growth
I?t isn’t something you hear everyday, but Simon Margolis makes a confession: “We want to be a new Capita.”
The chief executive of Premex is making a point. After having cemented itself as the UK’s largest provider of medical reports to the insurance industry the company is expanding at a rapid rate.
Earlier this year Premex pushed into claims investigation in a bid to become an industry leader with the launch of Premex Insight. This saw the company offer liability and theft investigation services in the personal injury sector.
As part of the service Premex Insight provides liability investigation reports in cases where liability is disputed. These will include incident mapping, and interview and statement collation.
It is argued that insurers waste millions of pounds every year investigating personal injury claims. Margolis claims Premex Insight will drive down insurer costs by speeding up the investigation period.
“Time is money for insurers and defendant lawyers and if the current service providers don’t have the people, service or structure to do the work quickly and efficiently there’s a cost implication,” he says.
Then came the acquisition of medical underwriter 3D Risk Solution as further evidence of the diversification of the Premex business.
With its concentration on medical underwriting and claims handling 3D Risk Solutions aims to complement the company’s other businesses. “There are significant areas of crossover between 3D and Premex
“Our expertise will ensure 3D grows to become the largest, most cost-effective and skilled service provider in its market sector,” says Margolis.
Only a few months after all that, Premex acquired Accuro.
It offers a digital transcription service specialising in medical and legal work. Reports are transcribed by a UK based team of over one hundred trained secretaries for clients such as GPs, medical experts, lawyers and occupational therapists.
Margolis notes here that they do not deal with staff offshore.
The service offers to save on office overheads and full time staff costs by working as a remote secretary on demand, or covering staff holidays, sickness or typing backlogs.
Technical editors check each transcription, verifying the documents before they are returned to ensure quality, relevant and accurate transcriptions.
Accuro has also put in place a fast turnaround guarantee: if the client’s deadline is missed, there will be no charge for the work.
Margolis says: “Accuro is a small yet highly innovative company and this acquisition is part of our long term plan to further diversify the group into a number of areas of business process outsourcing.”
And he adds: “The pressure is on to continue reducing costs of settling claims, improve the quality of medical report delivery and to speed up the claims process.”
Margolis was also key in a recent agreement between medical reporting organisations (MROs) and insurers in respect of the recoverability of medical agency fees.
The signed agreement provides a cap on fees for GP, orthopaedic and A&E reports and reviews, where anticipated damages will be less than £15,000.
It also brings cost predictability to issues such as medical records and supplementary reports and clarifications.
Margolis was the leader of the Medical Reporting Agencies negotiating group, who led the MROs towards the fixed fee agreement. But he admits: “This has been a very long process. The industry has spent the last 18 months dealing with the fallout and repercussions of the Woollard v Fowler case.
“However, this agreement brings to a close a six month mediation process.”
The agreement draws up two levels of fees which are expected to become industry standard, recognised by all parties, as well as the courts.
In addition, and in light of this agreement, the insurers’ appeal regarding Woollard v Fowler has been withdrawn.
Premex has a current turnover of £40m and Margolis says it is not stopping there. “We have a carefully planned growth and acquisition strategy and we are successfully implementing that,” he says.
“Being the best, setting the highest standards, that is what we are all about.”