Bupa has shown overall profits of 75 per cent, after a turnaround in its corporate private medical insurance (PMI) business.
Healthcare packages for the corporate PMI sector played a key part in the annual profits jumping 40 per cent to £65.4m last year.
The UK insurance operation moved from a loss of £39.6m in 1999, to a surplus of £14.6m and was able to slow the rate of premium increases.
The turnaround is attributed to a three-year investment strategy. Overall, Bupa announced a surplus before tax and other charges for 2000 of £86.4m, up from last year’s figure of £49.3m.
Bupa’s managing director of membership, Fergus Kee, said: “We set out to turnaround Bupa’s membership and to make it a better service for our customers and intermediaries. “But you are not seeing a one-year step up in profits. It’s a three year strategy.”
Kee said that the future of PMI looks positive, especially in the wider market such as “blending” traditional PMI, for example, with critical illness products.
Most of Bupa’s success has been in the corporate PMI market due to the competition to retain and attract new staff, particularly in the information technology and service sectors.
Although, over recent years Bupa has lost its market share to new market entrants, it claims that regaining the position is not a priority.
Kee said: “I am more interested in growing the business profitability and growing at a rate which will enable us to deliver an exceptional service to our customers.”
Specialist healthcare intermediary Roland Burnett, the director of York-based Prestige Healthcare, said: “Bupa has gone through the process of getting itself into lean, economic shape and this is very positive and encouraging news for the industry.”