Insurance group AXA have expanded further into the healthcare business by acquiring Age UK’s personal care alarm system for the elderly. The alarm – retrofitted as either a wristband or a pendant – allows the wearer to alert medical services in case of emergencies, accidents or illness. The cost of the acquisition was not made public. The band is targeted at elderly persons living alone. They are sold for £69 a piece of more, plus a monthly connection charge of roughly £14. Age UK had more than 50,000 customers. Given mounting competition and a subsidised service provided by local counties and the NHS, it is believed that Age UK sought out AXA as an acquirer. Other private firms are working on their own wristbands, and the technological advancements and costs involved appeared too great for the charity.
AXA will be taking on 140 new staff in Devon as part of the deal. The company has been expanding its private healthcare business in the UK. Age UK chief executive Tom Wright told customers to expect “the same level of care and service” from AXA PPP, and that the new owners have promised to invest significantly into the platform. The business had a turnover of £8.7 million for the financial year that ended March 2015, with profit of £1.6 million. Age UK said the UK has three and a half million people aged 65 and over living alone. Nearly 60 percent of people aged 85 and above live alone, according to the 2011 census. AXA’s current customer base makes for a good outlet to market its new acquisition, with strong growth predicted in the immediate term.