BUPA has revised its decision to send individual PMI documentation directly to broker clients following pressure from intermediaries.
It amended its systems in December 1999 in anticipation of the tightening of data protection legislation. However brokers have complained that the move is not in line with current legislation and that it effectively removes them from the business deal.
The Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII) contacted the Data Protection Registrar when the matter was brought to its attention.
“If we sign up a client we have no means of telling whether they have the same terms and conditions as when the deal was struck. This is in breach of the present ABI code of conduct,” said Bill Poynton, chairman of AMII.
BUPA has now changed its systems and, with effect from January 13, any client literature will be sent to the broker.
“We were too far ahead of ourselves.” admitted Stephen Flanagan, BUPA’s sales director. “My argument with our data protection people was if a customer chooses to appoint a broker then they must be happy to let this third party see any information.” He added that the decision to address data protection had come about following customer complaints.
“The change was a result of complaints from some of our customers who were unhappy information was being provided to brokers. We shouldn’t have done what we did as you do need to give notice in these cases.” He explained.
Under the data protection legislation that will be introduced from March 1, 2000, broker customers will need to take an active decision to allow any information to be shared.
BUPA will be notifying all brokers of the changes in data protection legislation and the ramifications for their businesses. Additionally it will be supplying brokers with new application forms for individual PMI business. These will enable the customer to state that they wish information to be sent to the broker.
Organisations have 18 months to put the new legislation into effect from its introduction at the beginning of March, 2000.