In 2011, Hull graduate Percy Ansah set out with seed funding of USD 50,000 and a team of two staff , seven years later, his company Premier Health Insurance employs 53 people, turns over USD 10,000,000 and has brought affordable healthcare to over 45,000 Ghanaians. In recognition of his achievements he’s recently received the Entrepreneur Award from the British Council.
Mr Ansah cut his teeth in healthcare as a Field Officer for the Ghana Healthcare Company. Later, after completing an MSC in Business Management at Hull, he became Operations Manager for Nationwide Mutual Healthcare before moving on to Momentum Health, where he successfully brought their operation to market in Ghana. On the back of this success he left to form Premier Health Insurance, a company that has grown exponentially to become the second largest provider of health insurance in Ghana.
We caught up with him shortly after he had received the Entrepreneur Award from the British Council in recognition of his innovation in business.
What initially attracted you to study at the University of Hull?
I was attracted to the University of Hull through an alumni lecturer during my under graduate study at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. He used to testify about the University in terms of the academic atmosphere and the fact that the city of Hull is also friendly to foreign students. The other attraction was the program, MSc Business Management. I realized that most of the Business Schools in Europe and other parts of the world offer MBA programs and I was looking for something different.
You mentioned the MSc Business Management Degree exposed you to a variety of situational problems in your field. How did these experiences influence your career choices?
The course contents of my MSc Business Management program were not just academic, but I found it very relevant in my line of duty as the Chief Executive Officer of my company. For instance, on regular bases I lead my team to negotiate premiums with corporate institutions at the inception or during the renewal of their Health Insurance policies with my company. ‘Negotiation’ as a course, was part of my studies at the University of Hull so I am able to negotiate well for my company as a result of my orientation. Other courses such as Accounting and Finance for Managers, Marketing, Strategic Management, Corporate Leadership and Change Management, Creative Problem Solving, Systems Thinking, have all played important roles in the decisions I make daily in my company. I have never regretted paying to study at the University of Hull.
What does your organization do? Tell us about its history.
Premier Health Insurance is a licensed Private Commercial Health Insurance company in Ghana. The company initially operated as a Private Mutual Health Insurance Scheme under the name PREMIER MUTUAL HEALTH but had to change to the current name as a result of a regulatory requirement. I started operations of the company in April 2011 and the ownership is between myself and another shareholder.
The company operates three product categories namely the Micro Insurance Product (for Teachers and Government Workers), “Apomuden” Product (for individuals) and the Corporate Products (for companies, organizations and groups). The company presently manages over 240 corporate policies from various companies across industries in Ghana. In almost seven years of operation, the membership of the company presently is about 47,000 lives. Premier Health Insurance operates through a list of 641 accredited hospitals, clinics, diagnostic, dental and opticians across Ghana.
It is significant to note that my company was adjudged the best Health Insurance Company in Ghana 2017 by the Ghana Pharma Awards on March 2, 2018.
You employ 53 staff, and have over 44,000 customers who are now assured of quality healthcare cover in Ghana. How did your experience at Hull lead to you becoming such a successful Entrepreneur?
I must sincerely give credit to the course content of the program which, as indicated earlier has been relevant to my line of duty. Additionally, the exemplary work culture I experienced during my stay in the UK has positively imparted on my career. I was exposed to different cultures during my study and stay in the UK and this has directly or indirectly influenced my business decisions.
Interestingly, there are two or three other University of Hull Alumni members in Ghana who are also doing very great with their companies. They also set up the companies themselves and employ over one hundred employees in each of their companies. This may be a pointer to the fact that the content of the courses are rich and relevant to our society.
Were there any members of staff or fellow students who made a particular impression on you during your time at Hull?
The member of staff who made very good impression on me is Christopher Cagney. I have been impressed with his organizational skills. He was very instrumental in the Alumni group in Ghana.
Have you had any involvement with the Alumni network since graduating in 2004?
I have been involved with the Alumni activities in Ghana. I am currently the Vice President of the Alumni group in Ghana. I was part of the team which organized the Alumni AGM in November 2013, in Ghana. We hosted a delegation which included Professor Ian Pashby, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement, Anthony McReavy, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Liam Cotter, President of the Alumni Association, Maureen Bruton, Christopher Cagney, and Waymond Rodgers, Professor of Accounting and Finance.
What are your fondest memories of your time as a student here?
My fondest memory of Hull is the day of my graduation in 2004. There was snow the entire night and we ended up with a white graduation day. My family members who visited for the graduation were extremely excited by the scene. We really enjoyed ourselves that day.
And finally, why did you establish this organisation and what do you hope to achieve in the near future?
My reason for establishing the company is expressed in our mission statement, which is to make healthcare affordable and accessible and help people to live longer, joyful and healthier lives. My conviction of affordable and quality healthcare for all, positions our company to stand as your bridge to access premier healthcare in Ghana. As a bridge, we stand to ensure that the best of healthcare is made available to all insured members.
I hope to grow the number of policy holders from its current level to over three hundred thousand within three years. I hope to introduce other innovative products to the Ghanaian market and expand it to other parts of the world.