INTERNATIONAL: New role for Buckley at Voluntary Health

IRELAND: Irish health insurance company the Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI) has hired Tara Buckley as its first general manager for corporate communications.

IRELAND: Irish health insurance company the Voluntary Health

Insurance Board (VHI) has hired Tara Buckley as its first general

manager for corporate communications.



She will take over the company’s day-to-day PR activities from its

incumbent agency, Murray Consultants.



Buckley, who started at VHI on 5 January, reports to the acting chief

executive, Aidan Walsh and the director of sales and marketing, Tony

McSweeney.



She heads a three-person team in charge of the company’s media

relations, event management and sponsorship. She will also liaise with

Murray Consultants, who until this month handled most of VHI’s corporate

communications and which has been retained for occasional strategic

counsel. VHI is not expected to seek out other agencies.



Over 40 per cent of the Irish population take private health insurance -

more than four times the amount in the UK - and, until 1994, VHI had a

monopoly on provision. In November 1996, British company BUPA moved into

the market, becoming VHI’s fiercest competitor, alongside smaller

providers of medical insurance.



’We will be repositioning VHI in an era of competition. There is

potential for others to join the market,’ said Buckley.



She identified her second challenge as effectively communicating VHI’s

range of packages to its members.



Before joining VHI, Buckley spent three years as PR manager for the

Rehab Group, a non-profit organisation aimed at the disabled. She has

also worked as a journalist for the Irish Press Group and the Sunday

Tribune.



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