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AMII AGM 2019: Scullion cautiously optimistic on IPT and regulatory future

Trade body chairman says ‘positive signs’ emerging on tax debate

There may not be light at the end of the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) tunnel, but at least there is sight of a tunnel, according to Stuart Scullion, chairman of the Association of Medical Insurers & Intermediaries (AMII).

Addressing the trade body’s AGM in Milton Keynes, Scullion (pictured) referred to the long-running debate over whether IPT should be applied to private medical insurance. AMII says no – it’s protection and saves the state billions. The Treasury says yes – it’s general insurance, renewable annually and if we make exceptions, they’ll all want out.

Scullion said: “Private healthcare makes a big contribution to the NHS as waiting times slip and expectations grow. So why penalise those who can and do pay? We continue to lobby for zero rating but now it is more positive as the Treasury is to conduct a review into the application and impact of IPT.”

AMII does not know when the report will be published but it is the first positive signal since the campaign against IPT was launched more than five years ago.

Scullion also singled out “time-consuming legislation” such as GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) and IDD (Insurance Distribution Directive).

“These took up huge time and money resources and if the purpose was to create certainty, both failed,” he said.

Scullion also reported that the mental health issues which featured in November’s meeting had the “highest-ever positive feedback.”

He added: “Mental health has a much higher profile, we have removed the stigma and now talk quite openly. Statistically, some in this room are suffering.”

And then on the “elephant in the room”, the B-word. He said: “Whatever happens with Brexit we need to put the customer at heart. In a tight employment market, employers will again have to consider benefits. That could be good for protection specialists. And Brexit might help with regulation as the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] suggests lower regulation and more focus on outcomes. We support this approach and will monitor it. Left to our own devices, UK regulations would differ from the EU.”