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Bonitas Announces Appointment of New Marketing Chief

04 August 2009 Bonitas Medical Scheme

Ray Mkhize takes the reigns of marketing at South Africa’s favourite medical fund

Bonitas Medical Fund, South Africa’s top medical aid brand, has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director for its marketing subsidiary, Bonitas Marketing.

Ray Mkhize, who joined the fund at the beginning of July, brings with him a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to the goal of providing affordable, quality medical cover on a broad basis. 

“Bonitas has a strong heritage, and well-established products and systems,” says Mkhize, “and our strategic aim is to ensure that the security and peace of mind this provides for our members is available to as many people as possible.” 

Mkhize, who joins Bonitas from the SA Post Office, where he was first Group Executive: Commercial Enterprises and then, for the past three years, Group Executive: Customer Relationship Management, says his focus in the new position will be threefold.

Firstly, he aims to build on the fund’s strong relationship management culture, which extends not only to members, corporate and institutional clients, but also to its administrative partner, Medscheme, and to intermediaries and brokers.

“If there is one thing my experience in the services sector has taught me is that relationships are as important as products,” says Mkhize. “This is especially true in the case of providing medical cover, where so much is involved and so much is at stake. That’s why I regard product development and customer relationship management as two prongs of the same fork, both equally important - not only to our fund’s success and sustainability, but also to the well-being of our members and their dependents.”

Mkhize’s second focus will be to expand on and extend the fund’s marketing programme in order to consolidate its position as the country’s favourite medical aid brand (Ipsos Markinor Sunday Times Top Brands Survey) and to reach new markets with new products. Bonitas, which was incorporated 27 years ago to provide medical cover for black civil service workers, has since become one of the country’s leading medical funds.

“Expansion of the product range and well-targeted marketing have made Bonitas the second largest medical fund in the country, serving 8% of the 7.5 million South Africans covered by medical aid.

“Our intention now is to focus on raising awareness of the benefits of Bonitas membership, and of such innovations as our recently-launched Bonitas GP Network, which provides members with access to a network of 2 700 general practitioners and other medical providers at pre-guaranteed rates.”

Mkhize’s third area of focus will be communications, and on keeping all stakeholders informed as the medical aid industry faces rising consultation fees, dispensing fees, and the possible impact of a national health service.

“Our members and key stakeholders look to us to provide input and analysis relating to major issues, and we take that responsibility very seriously. As always, Bonitas will be keeping on top of the issues and trends, and will be a leading source of information for our members and for the public at large.”

All of which is a substantial challenge, by anyone’s reckoning, but one which Mkhize, who holds a B Admin from Zululand University and an MBA from Wales University, is more than well equipped to handle.

“Transformation takes place on many levels,” he concludes, “and providing affordable access to good medical cover is a fundamental part of creating a more equal and equitable society. At Bonitas, we will build on the successes of our past, and will continue to be at the forefront of defining what medical cover means in the face of rising costs and social changes.”

 

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