EDITORIAL – On Health City: BritCay’s PR strategy requires first aid

Whoever’s in charge of public relations and communications for the British Caymanian Insurance Agencies – better known here in the Cayman Islands as “BritCay” – is in need of an emergency refresher course.

On Wednesday, March 29, amid the political spectacle of Nomination Day, we at the Cayman Compass and many other businesses received a notice from BritCay announcing that the insurance broker would no longer authorize and reimburse for services (outside of cardiac procedures) at Health City Cayman Islands.

Even worse, the cutoff in services would start Saturday, April 1 – a mere three days away.

Worst of all, it appears that Health City itself never received “official notice” from BritCay.

The reason provided by BritCay was, at best, bewildering: “BritCay must now ensure that all services provided at the Health City Cayman Islands facility are compliant with our contractual requirements.”

As we say in the news biz, “Huh?”

We wouldn’t expect such meaningless communication to emanate from BritCay, which as the largest provider of private health insurance in Cayman is well-established and highly regarded in the community.

That being said, it does not appear that in this case the strings – or the messaging – are being controlled by BritCay, but rather by its parent entity Colonial Group International, which is based in Bermuda.

To state the obvious (at least if you’re living in Cayman, not Bermuda), over the past three years Health City has, for all the right reasons, earned a reputation as a superb provider of health services in the Cayman Islands, in terms of quantity, quality and service. Ever since Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health and the U.S. health network Ascension opened the doors of Health City in February 2014, the relationship between the hospital and the community has been largely a love story.

Now, with little to no notice, this Bermuda entity has precluded its own loyal Cayman customers from being reimbursed for treatment at what many consider to be the premier health facility in the Cayman Islands.

Many major clients of BritCay/Colonial – including some of the largest companies in Cayman – are as outraged as we are about BritCay reducing so dramatically its healthcare choices. Local insurance broker Aon, which consults on insurance matters with businesses across the country (including Pinnacle Media), has been busy fielding calls from unhappy clients looking to explore their insurance options beyond BritCay.

At the same time, it is our understanding that Health City and BritCay/Colonial are engaged in ongoing talks to try to resolve the current impasse. We wish them well.

Regardless of how those talks turn out, none of this needed to happen. BritCay/Colonial made matters far worse than they needed to be by their high-handed and mismanaged public relations tactics emanating from Bermuda.

We at the Compass, on behalf of all Cayman residents, seek answers from Colonial. We do not welcome emailed statements or committee-generated press releases. Colonial needs to make available an executive in a position of authority who can answer a multitude of questions from their Cayman customers and the media. Here are our first three:

Why did you give clients only three days’ notice?

Why did you give Health City no “official notice”?

What is really going on here?

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Insurers provide off-island access by negotiating with clinical groups, hospitals & networks, involving some commitments to volume to get certain pricing. It’s great news when Caymanians don’t have to travel but it also could stress the contrcats Colonial have with others. Of course, the right thing to do is renegotiate the contracts to permit quality on-island providers to serve the local population… that does require assessment of those providers. However, I’m inclined to think the Compass is asking the right questions too!
    Dr Sara Watkin Paediatrician, Grand Cayman

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  2. Luckily our health insurance company is BUPA International, we are covered worldwide and Health City can bill them directly. An excellent choice for ex-pats who may not spend their entire working life in one country.

    From my limited experience of Health City I have found their level of expertise to be world class.
    Bad news for BritCay customers if they can’t go there now.

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