Christine Husbands is the Managing Director of RedArc, a specialist company providing long-term help and support to employees, individuals and families suffering from serious illness, disability or bereavement, through its team of highly qualified, registered nurses.
What’s the secret to your success?
I’ve always started with the premise of how to add value. This is why being MD of RedArc is such a good fit. Our nurses make a huge difference to people’s lives day in, day out, and that is really rewarding.
Who in your life has influenced you most and why?
There are so many inspiring people that I work with. The insurance industry has had to deal with criticism over the years, but my experience is that the majority really want to help people; and working with like-minded industry leaders that really want to support their clients emotionally, not just financially, inspires me in my role.
What do you do for fun?
I love to travel, I run regularly to keep fit, I socialise with friends and family. It’s really important to have a balance between work and play so having a full life outside work is a must.
What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
“Do the right thing and the rest will follow” I’ve always been driven by wanting to help people and I am tenacious in finding a way to deal with challenges. This has helped me progress on a wider level but also stands me in good stead in developing the business. For instance, we’ve developed a number of partnerships with specialist organisations to enhance our service to clients, including partnering with a mental health app provider to help prevent mental health conditions and giving our expert support to users who need it; finding accredited partners to give practical help at home when people come out of hospital; arranging a face-to-face UK second medical opinion.
If you could have a 1 to 1 with anyone past or present who would it be with?
Marius Barnard, the surgeon who performed the first human heart transplant along with his brother Chris. Marius was touched by the financial poverty of a woman dying of cancer who was still struggling into work each day to provide for her family.
It was this that prompted him to approach a South African insurer to come up with a policy that pays out on diagnosis of a severe or critical illness and hence critical illness insurance was born.
Marius was passionate not only about fixing people physically but also cover that delivers on the promise of insurance, providing benefits and support to vulnerable policyholders, when they need it most.
What is the biggest challenge in your industry right now?
The whole industry has woken up to the importance of supporting mental health in the same way that physical health is supported against a backdrop of overstretched NHS resources . This needs joined-up thinking and a proactive preventative approach by all parties – insurers, employers, trade organisations and service providers. There is some great support being offered by insurers and employers and organisations that use services such as ours, many of which are complementary to one another. I’d like to see all parties offer the same commitment and find a way to work together for the good of the individual – then we can make this support even more widely available.
Tell us about the most memorable client or customer that you have interacted with during your years in business?
There have been many. The ones that stand out are where we’ve thought outside the box and found things that made a huge difference to their lives. For example we arranged for a talking microwave for someone who had lost their sight; camouflage make up for someone who had facial disfigurement from treatment, found information on dancing lessons for a bereaved gentlemen, organised a second medical opinion that overturned a diagnosis which meant that a lady could keep her driving licence, organised the loan of a hospital bed to enable a lady recovering from surgery to be able to feed her baby comfortably, sourced a flashing doorbell for a deaf patient, provided a TENS machine to help a patient manage pain, and many more.
How is Brexit affecting/going to affect your business?
As with a lot of companies, at the time of writing (2 April 19) we don’t know. No-one likes uncertainty so that’s something we need to deal with, and we’re hoping that as time progresses this will cease to be an issue Our business is limited to the UK, so we hope that whatever the outcome of Brexit is, the effect will be minimal for us, however there are concerns in the medical profession regarding the supply of medicines which could have a serious impact on the people we are supporting, so we are concerned about this.
Where do you believe are the biggest opportunities right for your business and in your sector?
There are so many. We work with insurers, friendly societies, employers, trade organisations, and by and large many want to genuinely support their clients. The service we offer is very wide-ranging, including supporting people through bereavement, serious illness, disability, mental health, PTSD, etc. Currently over 2 million people are eligible to use our services – via our partnerships – and we continually seek to partner with like-minded companies to make our service available even more widely.
How do you motivate your staff?
We employ experienced nurses who have trained in the NHS and chose a career in nursing because they wanted to help people. This is what we are all about, we give nurses the freedom, autonomy and most importantly time to help their patients however they feel best. We have a generous training budget and have good support processes in place for debriefing after difficult cases.
Our nurse team is supported by an experienced team of administrators who within their role are given the same latitude and support as the nurses.
We have a wellbeing programme, a wide range of health benefits and complementary therapies are provided for all staff.
What do you most enjoy about running your business?
When I first encountered RedArc, I simply fell in love with it.
Having spent much of my career in financial roles within chemical manufacturing and mortgages, to have the opportunity to facilitate such life-changing help to so many people at often the most difficult times in their lives is amazing.
Over the years, I feel that our work has influenced the insurance industry in moving away from viewing services like ours as peripheral “add-ons” to an integral necessary part of policies. This makes me immensely proud.