Founded in 1997, FirstAssist rapidly became one of the market leaders in the provision of private medical, personal accident and other specialist insurance lines.
FirstAssist was formerly the healthcare insurance and related assistance operations of Royal & SunAlliance Insurance Group PLC.
The business planned to harness the evolving health insurance market, providing a range of services addressing the changing health and wellbeing needs of businesses and individuals. Subsequently, market change led to a re-evaluation of strategy in favour of four separate exits of specialist business units to different purchasers.
VALUE CREATION AND THE EXITS
The Private Medical Insurance division was sold to Standard Life for £25m in March 2006.
The Assistance Services division was demerged in December 2006 into FirstAssist Services, a stand-alone investment owned by Equistone and new management. This provided greater divisional focus, and a significant profit improvement was realised. FirstAssist Services was sold for £15.2m to Capita in September 2010.
FirstAssist Insurance Services was a UK white-labelled insurance provider, delivering travel, budget health, protection and before-the-event legal expenses insurance products for financial institutions, retailers and affinity organisations to provide to their customers, mainly under their own brands. Under Equistone’s ownership, FirstAssist Insurance Services strengthened its personal and commercial product range, focusing on tailoring insurance products for white-label clients and offering a seamless outsource insurance operation. FirstAssist Insurance Services was sold to Cigna for £71m in September 2011.
The After-The-Event Legal Expenses Insurance was demerged from FirstAssist Insurance Services in February 2011 and sold to Burford Capital, realising Equistone’s remaining investment in FirstAssist.
[Equistone] has been an excellent partner in developing the business over the last eight years, supporting us in building a profitable, sustainable business.