PROSPERITY GROUP: A trail of great expectations into 2011

December2010/January 2011
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THE PROSPERITY Group ended the year 2010 on a high note with the launch of two new products within the health management services division and high expectations on the launch of Namibia’s first ever medical tourism resort at the former Dan Viljoen holiday resort outside Windhoek in 2011.

The Group had entered 2010 riding on the threat to its long health partnership network across Africa that stretches from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, to the UK all built over the past decade being hit hard by the global recession, a threat which had forced the company to cut down on its health investment schemes and work on more viable partnerships.

The Prosperity Group’s Financial Services division had included Prosperity Lifecare Limited and Prosperity Insurance Limited. Under this came the Health Management Services division that had such subsidiaries as Prosperity Health Africa, Prosperity Health Managers (SA), Prosperity Health Global (UK), Prosperity Health Namibia, and Prosperity Health Lesotho, Prosperity Health Botswana and Prosperity Health Managers KwaZulu Natal and other partnerships within a few African countries.

Prosperity Health Namibia is part of the Prosperity Group’s financial services portfolio that includes Prosperity Life Limited and Prosperity Insurance Limited. The company manages a diversified range of medical funds in Namibia, namely, Namdeb Medical Scheme (De Beers Namibia Group), the Napotel Medical Aid Fund for employees of Telecom Namibia and Namibia Post, the Air Namibia Medical Aid Fund, the Transformed Medical Scheme and the Roads Contractor Company Medical Scheme.

According to the Group Managing Director Kobus Struwig, the Group decided in mid-2009 to close some of its businesses outside South Africa while the company watched closely how the world economy responded to the crisis.

“We closed our operations in Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique because we had entered those markets as a virgin territory where no other health insurance schemes existed. Although we had some decent membership, we thought we needed more time to study the market. However, we are slowly starting to get active in the Angolan market with a medical evacuation programme. If this venture succeeds then we might look around other parts of Africa,” he said.

But that did not stop the further growth of the Group into other territories when 2010 came.

The Group moved all its subsidiaries to its new multi-million dollar headquarters in Windhoek’s Maerua Mall neighbourhood. The new building, built at a cost of about N$25 million, now houses all the company’s divisions; Prosperity Financial Services, Prosperity Insurance and Prosperity Health Management Services.

The Group then launched the Oxygen Medical Insurance Cash Payback Plan and the E-Med Rescue 24 helicopter air ambulance service, a package with a lot of firsts for Namibia.

“Oxygen is a uniquely designed medical insurance plan with N$1 million cover per person per year at cost, optional day-to-day cover and an inclusive ‘No Claim Reward Program’. If you and your dependants are not hospitalised within a benefit year, Oxygen will refund 25% of your annual contribution. Breathe easy, and you’re covered,” says the company.

The Oxygen Medical ‘No Claim Reward’ Plan is a bonus plan for health insurance policyholders who do not claim against their contributions for a certain period of time. Under this scheme, policy holders are awarded 25% of their contributions during the year. The company ended 2010 having awarded more than N$7.8 million with high hopes that this amount would accumulate to N$11 million by March 2011 when more pay-outs are to be given out.

This year’s winners were announced as Almarie van der Merwe, Paul Hamulenga, Ian de Waal and Miriam Omonigbehin.

A new awareness campaign of the scheme was launched in 2010, spearheaded by a caricature appropriately known as the Oxyman. The Oxyman is a life-sized humanlike figure that represents strength and good health and is based on the Superman or Spiderman character. The Oxyman was seen at the various shopping centres in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay during the promotion that ran for weeks and where N$6,000 was given away in various competitions on local radio stations, Radio Wave and Radio Cosmos.

“Due to the success of the previous campaign, we decided to come up with something funlike allowing the Namibian public to engage with our Oxygen Medical Plan product, so Oxyman was born. We are pleased to share him with the general public,” said Struwig.

The air ambulance service that uses the XE Helisave helicopter was also launched in 2010 by E-Med Rescue 24 in partnership with the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund and Expedite Aviation.

The ambulance will enable specialist doctors and service paramedics to rush to the scene of an accident with life-saving support equipment, with minimal risks and evacuate the injured to the nearest health facilities.

Managing Director of E-Med Rescue 24, Eddie Bezuidenhout said the fully pressurized twin turboprop ICU ambulance helicopter is supported by eight ground ambulances equipped with a fully aviation approved medical evacuation system, can land in remote areas with much lesser risk than any fixed-wing aircraft. A rotor-wing air ambulance helicopter base was also launched in Tsumeb to help serve the Northern region of the country.

“For the next holiday seasons the helicopter will mostly patrol the two busy routes, namely the North and the Coast. The base of the helicopter is Tsumeb, Windhoek and Swakopmund,” Bezuidenhoudt said.

Apart securing the services of E-Med Rescue 24 as a strategic service partner, Prosperity also engaged other local financial and health services based organisations in these operations.

Prosperity’s healthcare services are seamlessly managed through the virtual world of internet. The advanced Health Information Technology System portal provides a single entrance information highway for health administration and management services on a multi-national level. Clients enjoy a 24-hour, real time access to their healthcare portfolio, where statements and payment information can be viewed securely, and member information can be updated directly.

During 2010 the Prosperity Group has also invested over N$40 million to revamp the former Dan Viljoen resort, 40 km west of Windhoek to establish a medical tourism and wellness village.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to be through by the end of the first quarter of 2011 and the second phase is expected to be complete within two years.

The resort is set in a serene area just outside Windhoek where people can choose to go for a wellness break during which they can recuperate from an operation or any other illness while at the same time enjoying the benefits of the natural surrounding and other activities that come with the package.

The facilities include eight luxury lodges, heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and other health treatment all facilities set up within the natural surroundings that are complemented by an abundance of game and wildlife.

Struwig takes this development as the company’s flagship and says he has personal affinity to the project because of its “quiet and peaceful surroundings”.

Despite feeling the pinch of the global financial crises, Prosperity Group still carries the soul of its great expectations in business and did not hesitate to keep up with its corporate social responsibility plan, as it took on aboard the Michelle Maclean Child Trust, the Frankie Fredericks Foundation and the Prosperity Sports Trust under its annual CSR goodwill sponsorship budget in 2010. PF