The health insurance scheme backed by The Daily Telegraph
has come under fire from intermediaries one year after its launch.
Critics say it offers unrealistic premium levels. Intermediaries have also voiced concern about the way the policy is worded.
The plan, Telegraph Health Insurance, is aimed at the paper’s readers and provides cover at competitive rates, mainly for the over 60s.
Intermediary Zig Malendewicz of Hampshire-based NIMIS, has reservations about the sustainability of the premiums and the Telegraph’s promise to accept clients with existing conditions.
“My view about the premium levels is shared by a lot of people. American company, Foundation Health, pulled out of the UK last year because its premiums became too expensive and it lost business.
“It had come in and targeted group schemes at attractive rates but with no claims record. Reliance National is an American company, which owns the Telegraph scheme, and it has no claims record in the UK.
“The scheme says it accepts existing conditions but it only accepts people with written exclusions on an existing policy. It’s not entirely clear,” said Malendewicz.
Stephen Walker, proprietor of Medical Insurance Services, Brighton, believes the Telegraph scheme is a classic case of an insurer buying its way into the market: “Taking people on no worse terms, and buying high risk business, has got to translate into higher outgoings and, at some stage, into higher premiums.”
But, David Mutteen, director of Provident Medical, the marketing organisation which administers the Telegraph’s
plan, is confident the £500 excess policy will prevent any significant increase in prices.
“Our increase this year will be extremely modest. The £500 excess is a simple, focused proposition and tends to filter out people who are less frequent claimants. There is nothing misleading about the exclusion promise. We take people on exactly the same personal terms, no other insurer does it. There are no fresh exclusions.”
He added: “Look at it from The Daily Telegraph
’s point of view. If we whack the premiums up, it will cheese off readers and be a gift to other papers. This scheme makes readers more tied into the paper.”