Defence Health Ltd

Defence Health Ltd has been selected as an Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2019.
The Australian Business Award for Employer of Choice [EOC] recognises organisations which have developed leading workplaces that maximise the full potential of their workforce through practices that demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

Defence Health is a private health insurer, providing hospital and general treatment insurance for Australian Defence Force (ADF) families and the wider Defence community. The not-for-profit health insurer currently covers almost 300,000 people nationally, with more than 140,000 policies. This represents a market share of around 2% of the total private health insurance market.  

Private health is a vital element of Australia’s overall health system. People with private hospital insurance have access to a network of more than 500 private hospitals. They can choose their own specialist and receive the treatment they need, without having to join the lengthy public hospital elective surgery waiting list. According to the Australian Medical Association, the public health system “would likely collapse” without the contribution of the private sector. On average, 6000 elective surgeries are performed in Australia every day. Two-thirds of these operations take place in a private hospital. In addition to hospital insurance, Defence Health also provide benefits towards general health care services through ‘extras cover’. Examples of these services include dental treatment, optical care, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and podiatry.

Defence Health, like many other not-for-profits, keeps its costs low by centralising its service delivery. The fund operates from an inner-Melbourne office and engages with members and prospective members over the phone, online and by email or post. The contact centre is divided into teams trained in sales, claims assessment and general member enquiries. Health insurance is a complex product in a highly regulated industry. Every conversation and member interaction requires a high level of expertise and attention to detail from the customer-facing staff.

Staff are currently preparing for the most significant product reforms since hospital insurance was introduced. All hospital policies, industry-wide, will begin to be classified in the tiers of gold, silver, bronze or basic. The language used and the treatment covered within each tier will, for the first time, be consistent across the industry. The aim of the government-led reform is to improve transparency and help people better understand what’s included in their hospital cover.  All insurers have until April 2020 to comply with the changes. Defence Health has enthusiastically embraced the member-centric focus of the reforms. It has adapted its product offering, trained all staff and informed members of the changes the insurer will present to the market.    

Defence Health is renowned for its industry-leading customer satisfaction ratings. Satisfaction is measured independently each year by Discovery Research. Since 2006, the satisfaction of Defence Health members has not fallen below 96%. It is the combination of genuine concern for members, competitive premiums and valuable benefits that sets Defence Health apart from its much larger and louder competitors. 

Defence Health is also known for the quality of its product offering. In 2018, for every dollar received in premiums, Defence Health returned $0.94 to members in benefits (compared to the industry average of $0.86). Defence Health members also had a higher percentage of their hospital-related medical charges fully covered by the fund (90.6% compared with the industry average of 88.1%).

The Australian Business Awards are an annual comprehensive awards program which recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of established business and product award categories.

The Australian Business Awards are the national chapter of an integrated, hierarchical leadership initiative conducted on a national and international level. The Employer of Choice Award recipients will participate in the international chapter of the program at the World Business Awards whereby participants are provided with the unique opportunity to benchmark themselves against the top performers globally.

The process culminates in the selection of organisations which maximise the full potential of their workforce through practices that demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention. The recipients are recognised as the elite of their industry earning a place amongst a distinguished group by having their achievements acknowledged and celebrated.

Organisational eligibility includes private companies, publicly listed companies, multinational subsidiaries, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, educational institutions, franchise systems, partnerships, government departments, government agencies, local government and statutory bodies operating in Australia.

Entrant organisations are required to demonstrate their achievements across the key areas of Organisational Culture; Leadership & Strategy; Employee Education, Training & Development; Employee Health, Safety & Satisfaction; Performance Management; Recognition & Remuneration.

The Employer of Choice Framework is utilised as a structured model of assessment that enables the participating organisations to be benchmarked against world class performance standards.

The key attributes of the Employer of Choice Framework define the characteristics of high-performing, industry leading organisations that provide a stimulating and supportive workplace. The criteria and sub-criteria provide a robust set of requirements that are used as the methodology for benchmarking and learning among the participating organisations.

Entrant organisations are required to demonstrate their achievements across the key areas of Organisational Culture; Leadership & Strategy; Employee Education, Training & Development; Employee Health, Safety & Satisfaction; Performance Management; Recognition & Remuneration.

The program provides a notable opportunity for high-performing organisations which implement world-class human resource management practices to be acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements both nationally and internationally.

Conducted annually, the program engages with organisations worldwide to benchmark the full spectrum human resource management practises and to review their business performance through a global recognition and knowledge building initiative that is underpinned by the program’s established framework.

The program provides the ultimate platform for building knowledge, increasing employer brand awareness. reputation, equity, loyalty and retention through increased exposure, recognition and prestige.

We decided two years ago to participate in the Employer of Choice Awards as an opportunity to benchmark our workplace practices externally. To be recognised as an Employer of Choice two years in a row is a great achievement. We know that our inclusive, engaged and vibrant culture delivers exceptional customer service and high performance. It is pleasing to see that what we do passionately for our members also translates to a rewarding and stimulating place to work. I’m proud to have our workplace culture, leadership and strategy recognised with this award.

Major General Gerard Fogarty, AO (Ret’d), Chief Executive Officer, Defence Health Ltd