BUPA has angered brokers who feel they have been kept in the dark about the repricing of its individual PMI.
Intermediary Martin Howell, of Medisearch UK, found out about the proposed changes when a customer contacted him. They had seen details of the repricing in the national press. Howell had not received any notification directly from BUPA, although it was less than a month before the changes were to come into effect.
He said: “It seems strange that I should have to learn about a fundamental change being made at the UK’s leading health insurance company from a customer who has read the Daily Mail.”
He added that the changes were substantial and he would have to manage how they were communicated to his clients.
The main change is a move from the five year age-related price rises to a smaller annual rise. For some customers this will represent a decrease in premium, but others, particularly those at the upper end of an age band, will see an increase.
The new pricing structure coincides with BUPA’s annual price rise linked to medical inflation, 14 per cent this year, plus a one per cent increase in IPT.
Family pricing also changes. This will take into account each member of a family, unlike the current system which is based on 2.5 times the oldest person’s premium. A half price child rate will be available in the first year to ease the transition for larger families.
Elaine Greenwood, marketing director BUPA membership, said: “Research indicated that customers would prefer an annual rise rather than a huge hike at five yearly bands. They also wanted per person pricing.”
Howell agreed that the new structure was a sensible idea which would make people less likely to cancel when they move into a higher age band, but reiterated his dismay with BUPA’s intermediary communication channels.
BUPA denied the allegations, saying that the new premiums were available on BUPA Quote and printed rates had been sent to intermediaries at the end of May.