Shaun Williams is the Founder and CEO of Lime. Shaun writes to give a behind the scenes view of building Lime, and particularly how we are delivering on our purpose to help the many stay healthy for longer by providing super-simple affordable top-ups to public healthcare.
Like almost everybody else, I was very happy to wave goodbye to 2020 as the clock ticked past midnight on New Year’s Eve. To say it was a challenging year is, clearly, a huge understatement. My heart goes out to those who lost someone to Covid-19, to those who have been seriously ill, whose livelihoods have been decimated, and to those who struggled with social isolation and the ongoing uncertainty. I feel incredibly grateful to all of the many, many people who have worked so hard to keep us going through it all – from frontline medical staff to teachers, delivery drivers, supermarket workers and many more.
Here at Lime, we’ve dealt with lockdowns, juggled home working with home schooling and everything else just like the rest of the country. Throughout it all, we did our best to put people first with compassion and understanding; for both our team and our customers. We are lucky, our business is totally online and most of us already work from home, but it was still a tough year.
Despite everything, we achieved an incredible amount in 2020. I am so proud of Lime and our team. We started the year by crystallising our purpose. I wrote a blog post a few months ago about our purpose, which is “to help the many stay healthy for longer by providing super-simple affordable top-ups to public healthcare”. This really is at the heart of everything we do at Lime – it is the reason Lime exists. We understand the benefits of being able to access top-ups to public healthcare at key points, where it really matters to people - like being able to pay for certain cancer treatment drugs not covered by the NHS or being able to access diagnostic tests quickly and conveniently. We don’t offer an expensive or complicated bundle of benefits. The whole point of Lime is for our customers to be able to pick and choose the cover that suits them best, at a price they can afford. Our ambition is to make this accessible to as many people as possible.
Once we had our purpose, we updated our branding and our website to make sure it reflected exactly who we are and is clear, friendly and welcoming.
Finally, we ended the year on a high with the initial launch of our new product, Rapid Diagnostics, which we were able to offer to our existing customers. Rapid Diagnostics provides quick access to diagnostic tests either via an NHS GP referral or a virtual GP service for a speedy referral and swift results. We know this will be helpful to many people who don’t want to wait for a diagnostic appointment on the NHS if they are worried about a health issue. It’s always nice to get reassurance sooner rather than later! Rapid Diagnostics is all ready to go but, sadly, we’re not able to throw open the doors to everyone quite yet. We will be launching to small numbers of people over the next few months to make sure we don’t get inundated.
I’m a natural optimist, so although 2021 has started off with yet more restrictions and climbing Covid-19 rates, I think we can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccines are being rolled out and I have high hopes that we will increasingly be able to get back to normal over the course of this year.
Nonetheless, 2021 will be an exciting year for Lime. Our purpose is all about helping people, giving them peace of mind and better health through access to super-simple affordable health top-ups and so our focus now is on growing our range of top-ups and making them accessible to as many people as possible.
We know that people are struggling, and we want to help where we can. For example, we would love to help employers support their staff, particularly when it comes to mental health which has become even more of a pressing issue throughout the pandemic. Traditional private medical insurance can be extraordinarily expensive for employers to provide, which places it firmly out of reach for most small to medium size businesses. We like a challenge, so we’re working on something that we hope will allow employers to support their staff in a tangible yet affordable way.
In fact, we know that mental health is an area where many people would like to have access to an affordable, flexible top-up to public healthcare. We’re working on something there too! Watch this space.
The last year has taught me that we can all play our part and Lime is no exception. We actively want to help people through our products, particularly people for whom traditional private medical insurance may be too expensive. We also understand the importance of treating people well. We may be an online business but we have a human heart. We are living in difficult times, and so we understand that people may need a little more handholding when making a claim or they may be struggling financially. Our customers always come first and, after all, kindness costs nothing.
Personally, I’m cautiously excited about what 2021 will bring, both for Lime and for the rest of the world. I know there will be significant challenges, particularly in these first few months but above all, I have hope. Stay safe everyone, and thank you for your support.