Norwich Union Healthcare (NUH) has been accused of “blatant direct marketing” to an intermediary’s client.
John Stevens, a specialist health insurance intermediary with the Huntingdon-based John Stevens Partnership, found NUH direct marketing cards in his client’s sealed document packs.
NUH has apologised, blaming a flaw in its system, and has pledged to refund any commission to an intermediary who finds they have lost business as a result.
The NUH literature read: “Share all the benefits of your health cover. Simply give the cards below to your family and friends.”
Each card proclaimed: “Better value health cover” and urged “call now on 0800 056 2599”. Stevens said: “This is blatant direct marketing and targeting our own expertise. The Data Protection Act appears to be able to hide a number of ruses that the insurer can use, thinking that they will not be found out.”
Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries executive committee member Roland Burnett said: “It wouldn’t be the first time an insurer has inserted direct marketing to client packs.”
NUH media relations manager Louise Zucchi said: “We are extremely sorry. It was an error. It is absolutely not our policy to do this because our relationship with intermediaries is paramount.
“There was a flaw in the system so it is difficult to say how many people this happened to. But if any intermediary found that we got any business this way, we would refund the commission.”