SOVEREIGN Health Care has reported its highest-ever premium income of £10.8 million, while equalling the record £7.2m it paid out in claims during the previous financial year.

The Bradford-based company, which employs 42 people at its Royal Standard House headquarters on Manningham Lane, also recorded a pre-tax surplus of £4.3m with premium income up £150,000 year-on-year.

The firm is one of the UK’s longest-established providers of healthcare cash plans to individuals and businesses with around 75,000 customers.

The plans enable users to claim money back on costs including prescriptions, dental check-ups and treatment, and optician visits.

Sovereign does not have shareholders, allowing the firm, which is celebrating its 145th anniversary this year, to make any surplus it generates available to reinvest into the business or donate to community and charitable causes.

In 2017, it donated more than £485,000 to Yorkshire charities, equating to 4.5 per cent of its annual premium income, bringing its total donations over the last decade to £5.8m.

Commenting on the figures, company chairman Mark Hudson said: “Our 2017 results show the continued importance that Sovereign Health Care plays in helping people provide for their everyday health care, as well as our substantial donations to charitable causes in the local community.

“This is my second tenure as chair and it is fair to say the difference in our industry due to the level of regulation between now and my first tenure in 2006-2010 is immense.

“However, despite this making it more challenging for our executive and management team to deliver our trading objectives and business plan, I’m pleased to say we’ve ensured our products and services are just as relevant and, more importantly, affordable as they were back then.”

Russ Piper, the company’s chief executive, added: “I am pleased to report that it was another successful year for our business, due to the efforts and resilience of our team and our loyal customers.

“During the past year, additional regulation as well as the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in June 2017, has given everyone in the industry a challenge.

“Our long-standing position on IPT is that we believe it is inherently unfair to be applied on health-related insurance products.”

“Looking ahead, we have a number of exciting initiatives launching this year including a new cash plan product and an online secure customer area, which will help make us even more responsive to our customers’ needs.”