We now have a full year under our belt since we began implementing Argus’ new operating model and I’m delighted to report that the wisdom of adopting the new model becomes more and more evident with each passing day.
By establishing two regional hubs – Argus Americas and Argus Europe – and working in partnership with a central global core, the Company has combined judicious corporate oversight with a disciplined local focus on Argus’ region-specific products and services. This duality has increased our ability to be nimble and proactive as we execute our respective growth strategies. As David noted in his Letter to Shareholders, there’s a reason the theme of this year’s annual report is Further. Faster.
Our success is evident in our ability to react to the challenges imposed by COVID-19. In an unprecedented short period of time, we delivered valuable new products and services to better suit the needs of a Covid-impacted market while simultaneously pivoting our administration to a remote delivery model.
As evidenced in the financial statements, we translated this agility into net new sales achievements in all lines while effectively lowering expenses in almost all areas.
Efficiency, Innovation and Expansion
At Argus Americas (which includes our Bermuda and Canada operations) we’ve developed a specific vision to guide our growth and development: we aim to build a lean, agile, consistently profitable, multi-jurisdiction, diversified financial services and population management operation.
Our immediate key business imperatives are to maintain the value in our existing Bermuda core business while leveraging our current investments in health care so that we can establish a foundation that’s ready for significant development.
The three watchwords for Argus Americas are efficiency, innovation, and expansion: efficiency, because we aim to drive efficiency through everything we do, maximising value and minimising risk; innovation, because we aim to use technology to constantly optimise our products and processes as well as the customer experience and our competitive difference; and expansion, because our broader reach expands where and to whom we offer services through our fee-based entities, One Team Health (OTH) and our medical practices.
By keeping these three watchwords at the forefront throughout the year ended March 31, 2021, we were able to find meaningful and empathetic solutions to support our clients and our community.
A few examples:
- We provided free telehealth to the Bermuda community when people needed access to care but were anxious about leaving their homes during the many phases and fluctuations of the global pandemic.
- We offered a significant rebate to qualifying health insurance clients to acknowledge the positive impact lower claims activity had on our balance sheet.
- We delivered a premium rebate to the customers of our Auto Insurance.
- We launched SafeGuard™, a health coverage portfolio for Bermuda hospitality industry employers who have been devastated by the economic impact of global travel restrictions. Priced at cost, this programme provides essential health benefits to protect employees during their time of need.
- We continued to sponsor much-needed community events like the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby.
- We expanded our service footprint of OTH to include clients from Europe and the Caribbean.
We were able to find meaningful and empathetic solutions to support our clients and our community
Transforming Health Care
This past year, most significantly, we completed a series of acquisitions designed to support positive and much-needed change in the Bermuda health care model by taking meaningful steps towards creating a value-based, integrated health care model.
For too long, a fragmented, unsustainable system has enabled costs to spiral out of control with decreasing benefit to patients. We know there are better ways to provide quality, affordable care.
Integrated health care isn’t a new concept. Over the past three or four decades, many countries have adopted the model in one form or another, recognising that health care that offers a coordinated continuum focused on positive outcomes elevates a community’s well-being far better than one in which care and treatment are provided in silos.
According to a 2016 report by the World Health Organization, an integrated care model can only be successful if it “accounts for unique needs and characteristics of the population it aims to serve.”
We acquired the two largest medical practices in Bermuda in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, and One Team Health in 2020 financial year, that established the template for an integrated model that’s tailored to the needs of an island community and sets the stage for expansion to other jurisdictions.
An integrated care model can only be successful if it ‘accounts for unique needs and characteristics of the population it aims to serve’.
The Family Practice Group and Island Health Services, now a part of the Argus Group, represent over 40 percent of primary care in Bermuda. One Team Health is our Canada-based, overseas health care manager.
Adding these three businesses to the Argus Group will change how health care in Bermuda is not only funded but delivered. By putting the patient at the centre of both the insurer and the deliverer of health care, we can align the desired outcome of managing cost and delivering better outcomes.
And through One Team Health, we’ve seamlessly connected the excellent care available in Bermuda with the coordination of specialised off-island treatment that can become necessary from time to time.
We are excited about a pilot programme that will be launched during fiscal year 2022 with Island Health Services that aims to tackle the high incidence of diabetes in Bermuda and help those suffering with this disease to regain their health.
This coming year, we’ll continue to weave together solutions that bring sustainable, healthy living to Bermuda.
Powering our Employees’ Potential
While I paid tribute earlier to the dedication of Argus employees in working diligently throughout the pandemic to achieve our goals, we recognise how difficult the past year has been and how important it is to create an environment that bolsters our colleagues’ well-being and provides exciting career development opportunities.
In the coming year, every Argus employee will have a growth component in his or her performance objectives. We’ll also be offering company-wide training in how to be client-centric as well as digitally literate. We’ll provide opportunities for learning new skills to support the needs presented by our growth and expansion. And, as Alison noted in her message, we will continue to build a truly inclusive working environment, one where every employee feels welcomed, respected and valued.
We’ve laid a rock-solid foundation at Argus Americas, one where everyone wins – true to Argus’ ethos. We’re partners in creating better solutions for our clients, our colleagues and the community, knowing that our shared interests become our shared successes.
We’ll provide opportunities for learning new skills to support the needs presented by our growth and expansion.