Wollongong's Peoplecare grows

There are many measures of business success but one Wollongong business can lay claim to having no staff leave in a whole calendar year and taking on 19 new employees in 2013.

When Peoplecare moved into its present office in Victoria Square in 2007, it had 23 staff and 16,000 policy holders.

Since then it has almost quadrupled its workforce to 91, who serve 31,000 policies representing 70,000 people.

It has also gone from being a small, locally based health fund to one of the fastest growing in Australia.

Chief executive Michael Bassingthwaighte said it also recently took over management of two smaller health funds with another 8000 policies.

"We are also doing a lot of work in the international student space," he said. 

"And we have added a dental and optical clinic up in Market Street."

Mr Bassingthwaighte does not expect the growth to stop.

"We have really good prospects for next year," he said.

"We think we will go well over the 100-employee mark in 2014."

Since the former Lysaght Peoplecare opened itself up to the general community, there has been considerable work done developing the business and the brand.

"We strategically took the view that we had some skills and competencies that we could leverage both in people and IT platforms," Mr Bassingthwaighte said.

"We generate ... additional revenue from those quarters, which helps our customers."

The growth has predominantly occurred on the East Coast where 12 per cent of customers are now in Queensland, 35 per cent in Victoria and 45 per cent in NSW.

In industry publications, Peoplecare is recognised as a medium-sized national brand that has rapidly risen from being one of the smaller health funds to the middle of the list of 34 health funds in Australia and one of three fastest growing funds.

Mr Bassingthwaighte said the whole team was proud to show what could be achieved from Wollongong.

"There is a great pool of talent here," he said.

"We have a large number of Wollongong uni graduates. 

We employ people from across a whole range of disciplines and qualifications. 

We put a lot of energy into the recruitment process. We go to a lot of trouble trying to find people we think will fit in well. And we had not one person leave last year."

Recently, two staff were promoted to the senior executive team and Mr Bassingthwaighte said there were many advantages to remaining in Wollongong where operating costs and living costs were lower than Sydney.

Customer Service and Marketing head Anita Mulrooney said when Peoplecare recently advertised for customer service positions, it had more than 200 applications.

And in the biannual healthcare and health insurance survey released this month, called IPSOS, Peoplecare ranked No 1 in the all-important net promoter score, considered a key measure for organisational performance, relating to how many customers would recommend the business.

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