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Freisenbruch-Meyer drops health coverage

Freisenbruch-Meyer Insurance Services Ltd (FMIS) says it will no longer provide individual and group health insurance.

However, their health insurance customers need not experience a lapse in coverage, and there has been no loss of jobs, the company assured yesterday.

William Madeiros, FMIS general manager, told clients in a letter explaining the decision that it had been made “due to what is undoubtedly the most challenging health insurance renewal period in recent history.”

A FMIS statement said: “When initially faced with the uncertainty of sustaining our health book, our first priority was ensuring the ongoing care and well-being of our clients.”

After determining they would no longer offer health coverage, FMIS negotiated a “co-operative venture” with insurance provider BF&M, meaning clients, which Mr Madeiros said number in the hundreds, can move to that insurer with no lapse in coverage.

“BF&M has agreed to assist with the transition of groups and individuals to ensure the handover is as seamless as possible. The changes to benefits and price will be effective July 16 2013,” the statement from FMIS read.

James Leman, who is the vice president for employee benefits, stated: “We have been working tirelessly to develop the best possible option for our clients, which is to facilitate the continuation of their health coverage and that is something we are pleased to report.

“We were also able to safeguard employment position for our full-time employees.”

Mr Madeiros, speaking to

The Royal Gazette about the decision, said: “We had a challenge with our renewal last year. This year, we were just unable to bring a price to the table that was tenable. We reached out to local companies and made a deal with BF&M, who have been great to work with.”

He said: “Some customers may choose to avail themselves to quotes from other providers, but it was critical to us that our clients could transfer to someone we know and trust, and that is BF&M.”

Mr Madeiros said he has spoken to the Ministry of Health’s permanent secretary, the chief executive officer of the Health Council, the lead supervisors at the Bermuda Monetary Authority, Chamber of Commerce executive director Joanne McPhee and the Health Insurance Plan director of health insurance Collin Anderson.

“It’s been an enlightening experience,” he said.

“The result of the conversations I‘ve had are an acknowledgment that the health industry in Bermuda needs fixing.”

He said although Bermuda has always enjoyed “great” healthcare, and the move by FMIS to drop health coverage may be a harbinger of something bigger, creating the opportunity for focus, perhaps.

“If there was one thread through all the conversations, it is that we are providing healthcare in a very complicated manner. It works, but it is complicated.”

He added: “The total annual spend for Bermuda is in excess of one billion dollars.”

For now, however: “The focus is on the transition of our clients, with the least amount of fuss and bother for them.”

He encouraged customers to contact BF&M or FMIS as soon as possible.

In the letter to customers, Mr Madeiros said: “To ensure that there is no lapse in health insurance coverage it is important that you contact BF&M as soon as possible upon receipt of this information.”

William Madeiros, FMIS general manager

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Published June 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm)

Freisenbruch-Meyer drops health coverage

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