Argus has reviewed its healthcare costs and has been seeking quality overseas medical providers that can provide an alternative to the more expensive options previously available. *MCT photo
Argus has reviewed its healthcare costs and has been seeking quality overseas medical providers that can provide an alternative to the more expensive options previously available. *MCT photo
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19: While other companies are shedding employees or going to a four-day work week as a way to trim expenses Argus has added staff.

Argus has grown from 171 to 199 employees after the integration of its Malta line of business. While the vast majority — 25 positions — was owing to that acquisition, the company still added people, which isn’t an easy feat in this shrinking economy.

CEO Allison Hill said Argus is attracting the best and brightest to come work for them.

“We’re raising the bar. We have had some good calibre Bermudian candidates. We are over 80 per cent Bermudian and we have had some real success in attracting very talented Bermudians at all levels — at the senior management level and throughout the organization.

“We’re delighted we are seen as a strong employer brand and we are attracting talent. We are seeing people move from the international sector to us. It’s a good indication of how people see us.”

She added new laws and trying to stay ahead of its competitors has helped add to its growth.

“With increasing regulation and with increasing competition, we recognized that we needed to strengthen the capabilities at the management layer.

“We have taken on a number of specialists, including our head of risk and compliance.”

She said even though thousands of jobs have been lost across Bermuda which would impact the number or people it could insure, Argus has not only been able to hold its own, but has gained business.

Ms Hill said: “I don’t want to go into the competitive details and disclose client numbers to our competitors, but we have seen a shift in numbers and we have seen a levelling off.

“We’ve had some great successes in retaining clients and one of the things that we have worked at is understanding the changing needs of our clients.

“People are experiencing real changes in their businesses and are looking to adapting the services and the products we provide to really help their needs.

“One of the things we’ve done is offer more recession-style products where we’ve looked at the needs of the businesses and looked at the benefits that they are offering, currently on the health side.

“What we’ve tried to do is design products more appropriate to their needs in this difficult economic climate.

“From a business retention perspective, we’ve had an exceptionally good year in retaining clients and we’ve actually won new clients and broadened the product base that clients hold.”

She linked that to Argus’ “strong customer service” record and “strength in the marketplace, strength in our brand and people. Because of that, they are willing to put more of their products with us.”

Ms Hill said in the past, when Bermuda had a strong economy, companies increased the benefits they gave to their staff.

“When it’s a difficult economic climate, cost becomes a much stronger factor and they’ve looked at the types of benefits and services they are buying.”

She said companies examine to make sure they are getting the most out of every dollar they spend.

“We are applying those principles to our customers and asking them: ‘How can we generate as much value for them as possible for every single dollar that they spend?’

“There may have been benefits they have historically paid for but they haven’t actually used in the way they intended. In those cases, we have proactively worked with our clients by offering them a more appropriate set of benefits for them.”

She said another way Argus has helped cut healthcare costs to companies is through finding quality overseas medical providers but at a savings from some of the more expensive options previously available.