YORK mutual Benenden Healthcare Society is today launching its new identity as the organisation enters a new era with a new name.

The organisation was started in 1905 as a mutual fund specifically to help postal workers falling ill with tuberculosis.

Since its founding more than a century ago, the society has evolved and has more than 900,000 members, who are current and former public sector workers and their families.

Last year the non-profit mutual, now renamed as Benenden Health, which is run in consultation with 48 branches of its members, voted to open its membership to anyone in the UK aged over 16.

Marc Bell, marketing and business strategy director at Benenden Health, said it now hoped to generate more than 75,000 new members in the next year, and double its revenue, which was about £90 million in 2012.

He said: “This is a very big year for us and it’s been a long hard journey to get here.

“We have worked hard as a management team building with our branch holders and stakeholders, rebranding, investing in relaunching to the open market, investing in marketing and capability.

“We want to be an organisation that York is proud of.”

Benenden Health will today launch its new identity with a launch of 500 balloons set off by local primary school children.

The business employs about 200 people at its headquarters at Holgate Park, York, and 500 in total across the UK.

It has boosted its team to prepare for the growth and intends to recruit another 15 to 20 staff in marketing, finance, and customer service with the aim of maintaining its position as Moneywise’s Customer Service Award winner for the last two years.

The business has also launched a new website, on which it intends to start holding “webinars” and dermatology consultations by webcam, and is poised to launch new insurance products during the year.

Mr Bell said: ‘We want to build a powerful and differentiated brand positioning behind our distinctive mutual health and wellbeing proposition that will help us stand out in an extremely competitive healthcare market.”