When a couple of seasoned healthcare professionals received approval to proceed with the formation of a new health insurance company serving a national market, they asked if Renoir would be interested in helping them to set up a company from scratch.
Renoir appreciated the difference between working with a company that was just an idea, versus their usual clients with an existing business. This project would surely be different. The approach was to ensure that thinking was “outside the box” and to avoid simply emulating current health insurance practices. After ensuring that they understood the Vision, Mission and Goals of the Founders, the journey to develop the company began with a goal of going public soon after.
PROJECT APPROACH & OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS
Renoir embarked on some preliminary research into the health insurance industry to identify core functions, best practices, opportunities for improvement and differentiation and potential tools and partners to achieve the vision and goals.
The Founders’ Vision for their members was to be the health insurance company of choice through superior and innovative customer service, better insurance coverage, and competitive rates, while delivering outstanding financial growth for their shareholders. A Master Project Schedule with critical paths and timelines was developed and was closely monitored on a daily and weekly basis.
“ I had heard some very good things about Renoir from some work they had done at medical corporations. I thought that if Renoir could do that in an organization that was very set in its ways, they might well be able to help us begin work with a green field startup. Happily, I was right. ”
Founder & Medical Director
The business plan was revised, an IPO prospectus developed and the path to an IPO mapped out. Critical success areas and core and non-core competencies were identified, and an organizational structure developed.
A logo was developed along with all corporate print standards and material. Job descriptions were written, required technology tools identified, and potential facilities visited and evaluated. During Renoir’s preliminary research and Scoping, they were surprised at the cost of office space and personnel costs. Furthermore, there was significant wage inflationary pressure, driven by a high rate of economic inflation. It became clear that there was an opportunity to avoid unnecessary costs by outsourcing, whilst having to assure that outstanding quality of service was maintained.
Outsourcing partners, including third party administrators, customer service centre operators, marketing, and even actuarial services were vetted, and several outstanding partners were selected.
In the meantime, Renoir assisted the Founders with interviews, offering their views and experience, and then working with the outsourced partners on the requirements, systems and processes. A CRM system was selected, and implementation begun. The headquarters was identified and kitted out with furniture and technology and an initial website launched.
At the same time, Management Control Systems and Business Processes were developed and critiqued. This represented a significant departure from Renoir’s normal style of working with staff at all levels to jointly develop systems and processes, thus getting full ownership, however the Company was operating under a set of unusual constraints.
Local laws require that a health insurance company must be a publicly traded entity before it can be operational and hire staff. So, the buy-in and ownership was with the Founders only. Staff would come later. As we approached the IPO date, several unexpected obstacles began to surface.
There appeared to be varied opinions about timings and rules. External factors caused timing delays. And yet work continued with conditional offers being made to key management prospects and readying everything as close as possible, so the button could be pushed when the IPO was completed. In addition, Renoir helped to direct advertising for the IPO launch and advertising campaigns to market post IPO launch.
It had been a long and winding road. Finally, the company made its market debut, 70 times oversubscribed. Today, the company is thriving and successfully competing head-to-head with more established competitors who employ 300% more staff. International expansion is now being considered.
Professional consultants can be invaluable in assisting startups to structure and grow their businesses. As demonstrated in this case study, the involvement of experienced consultants helped the startup to refine its business model, structure its business and processes, and establish a clear and comprehensive marketing and sales plan.
Renoir also assisted in building a strong and motivated team and implementing effective communication and project management systems. The results speak for themselves, with the startup achieving impressive growth, sustainability and profitability within a short period.