GlobalCapital recently unveiled its new brand identity, LifeStar, as it focuses on the rapidly changing life and health insurance market. The Commercial Courier catches up with LifeStar Health Insurance Managing Director and Bupa Malta Branch Manager Adriana Zarb Adami to discuss the company’s vision, the challenges presented by the pandemic and remaining passionate about the job for more than three decades.
GlobalCapital Health Insurance Agency Limited, which represents Bupa in Malta, has just undergone a transformation and is now LifeStar Health Limited. What do these changes mean for your clients?
I must start by emphasising how excited and proud I am with this new name change. The new logo of LifeStar symbolises the direction the company has adopted to be more agile, dynamic and innovative.
This is an exciting time for the company and our clients, who we want to reassure that they will continue to enjoy the same level of cover and benefits that they currently have with their existing insurance policies.
This year we have also rolled out more benefit enhancements. We have introduced alternative treatment cover, a €1,000-excess, provided a full refund on Outpatient Benefits for Bupa Malta International Cover Gold Option, and extended the Bupa Malta Premier Cover to secure clients worldwide, not just in Malta. In addition, individuals and businesses who wish to join Bupa for the first time can benefit from our attractive new rates.
We chose LifeStar Health because we want our clients to live the brightest life possible without any concerns.
You have been working in insurance for 30 years, what have been the biggest changes you’ve witnessed in the industry over the years?
Over the years, I have witnessed several changes – some happy, and some not so happy – but somehow, we have always managed to overcome them. One major change which had really concerned me was when Bupa Agencies Limited was bought by British American. I had worked closely with the late Donald Darmanin, who was then the owner of Bupa in Malta. He was a perfect gentleman, and I admit at the time I was a tad reluctant to embrace this change. Luckily the changeover was a smooth one.
Another change, which worried me was the arrival of Brexit, which saw our Principals in the UK move their headquarters to Ireland. This was a totally new set-up. Again, we managed this transition with very few hitches, and today our relationship with our Principals is better than ever before, as we continue working to provide our clients with the best health insurance plans.
As head of Bupa Malta, what are the challenges you face?
I’d say it has to be the tough competition, which is cutthroat at times. A few decades ago, Bupa Malta was the pioneer of health insurance on the island, we were the only ones to offer health insurance in Malta, and to date, we remain the only specialists in health – Bupa Malta does not offer any other form of insurance except health. We have a strong brand name and while it is the Rolls Royce of health insurance, Bupa offers very attractive packages for corporate clients and delivers a stellar service.
Right now, COVID-19 is every businesses’ biggest challenge, but if there’s one thing this pandemic has also brought to the fore, it is the importance of having health insurance. Bupa Malta also offers international covers to clients who are not resident of the Maltese Islands for more than 6 months of the year.
What has been the highlight of your career?
For us, our clients are not just numbers, and we treat each case with the utmost care. One experience I will never forget was when one of our very young members was involved in a car accident. He was taken to the hospital where he required various operations. I was so upset with the news that I asked our head office in the UK to help us cheer this child. The next day, I received, via courier, a huge box containing balloons, storybooks, nursery rhymes to be played, colouring books and goodies. We managed to deliver this box to the boy just before he was about to undergo an operation. Seeing his face light up is something I will never forget.
What has been the driving force in your job?
I’m a people’s person, and I love what I do. There isn’t a day when I don’t feel like showing up for work. Bupa Malta is my second home and my colleagues are my extended family. The buzz and everyday challenges energise me.
In this business, you are often fielding calls from those struggling with serious health issues, what have been your guiding principles in dealing with these?
Health issues are very sensitive, and one has to thread very, very carefully. I listen to my clients attentively and I am always there to offer help and support when lightning strikes. There have been many times when I found myself crying with my clients, as their struggles become your pain.
How have habits towards buying health insurance changed over the years?
People have become more health conscious. Our State hospital, which offers excellent treatment and service, is very often inundated, and patients may not be able to be seen to right away. Even a day can seem like an interminably long time when health problems arise, and this is where many may underestimate the advantage of possessing health insurance, which allows you to see the specialist and hospital of your choice practically immediately. Clients having overseas cover also have the option of choosing to receive treatment abroad.
Bupa is considered to be the Rolls Royce of health insurance, what distinguishes Bupa Malta from the rest?
Bupa is Bupa! It’s an internationally recognised brand that gives our esteemed clients access to 1.2 million medical providers all over the world. Besides, we also benefit from 24-hour health expertise.
With the COVID-19 pandemic dictating the agenda for 2020, what is the vision for LifeStar Health in the immediate future?
We will continue to support our clients as best we can in these difficult times. Our Principals at the Bupa Head Office in Ireland are constantly in touch and updating us with feedback on how we can be of further service to our clients during the pandemic. The rebranding is not merely a cosmetic change, but it has involved a thorough restructuring process. Processes were streamlined and efficient working practices, together with the reorganisation of management structure, were implemented. This resulted in better performance and improved corporate governance.
LifeStar Health Ltd (C6393) acts as an insurance agent for Bupa Global DAC under the Insurance Distribution Act, Cap 487 and is regulated by the MFSA.