Intermediaries have expressed concern after BUPA refused to disclose the medical history of clients wishing to transfer. Certain clients who were insured under Cornhill, and since covered by BUPA, have been informed that medical histories will not be disclosed. This can mean that they are unable to obtain alternative quotes from by an alternative provider.
Susie Colley, principal at West Country Healthcare in Torquay experienced problems when she tried to switch several clients from BUPA schemes.
“The schemes were heavily discounted so they appeared very reasonable. But the discount did not follow through, so some policyholders did want to change,” she explained. “But BUPA wouldn’t give the claims experience because it said it did not have to do it. This means that customers have no choice but to stay with BUPA”
She added: “If the client who wants to switch plans is fully underwritten under a corporate plan, the broker will be asked to provide any previous claims experience. But if the company will not provide the medical history the underwriters cannot possibly provide a quote.”
BUPA claimed that non-disclosure was common practice in the industry. “It has become a standard industry practice that BUPA was one of the last to join in with,” said Stephen Flanagan, BUPA’s sales director.
“It would put us at a competitive disadvantage to give medical histories to brokers. The client can get the information when they want, though.” He continued: “In addition there was a problem with the Cornhill system as it is run at a backlog and so any information could be incorrect.”
The Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries was troubled by the news and intends to discuss the issue at its next meeting.