Our origins

A heritage of 120 years.

WPA is a specialist health insurer with origins tracing back to 1901 where we began as the Reading Working Peoples’ Voluntary Hospital Contributory Fund. From where we began over a century ago, WPA remains true to the principle of making healthcare affordable for hundreds and thousands of people, through its family policies and corporate schemes.

Hospitals Contributory Scheme Newspaper Clipping


The Association traces its origins back to 1901 where it was set up as the Reading Working Peoples' Hospital Contributory Fund. Nearly half a century before the creation of the NHS, the Fund provided workers the option to pay a portion of their wage into the Fund each week. They could then access this Fund at times of ill health.

An NHS hospital ward from 1949 with two adjacent rows of beds and a desk in the middle. Nurses are tending to patients.


Following an amalgamation of a number of Hospital Funds in the Bristol area, the Western Provident Association was formed. Shortly after this, the National Health Service was created, marking the beginning of health insurance as we know it today.

WPA leaflets from the 1980s


The National Health Service was now firmly ingrained in British society, however the demand for Private Medical Insurance grew dramatically throughout the decade. The number of Private Hospitals also grew, providing people with greater choice than ever before.

Five bulbs on a blue background and one of them is glowing.


WPA goes through a period of great innovation, resulting in the creation of some of our flagship concepts such as Shared Responsibility®, mycancerdrugs, Corporate Deductible and NHS Top-Up - all of which continue to play a big part in our business today.

Binary codes make transmission lines to a microchip.


WPA becomes a major player in the world of technology, creating DELOS, an internationally recognised autonomous operating system, and Precision, a new brand which utilises the very best of technology to reinvent the way that health insurance works.

Help & advice

We'll help you find the answers you need