The increase in the number of PMI plans in recent years has highlighted the crucial role of the intermediary.
The wealth of policies that have entered the market have made the need for expert advice even more important. A thorough scrutiny of the schemes available is vital in order to the latest, relevant advice to the customer.
A key area that has always raised controversy is the budget plan. Out-patient care is almost always excluded. It is generally only covered when it is a direct result of inpatient treatment. It may be the cheapest PMI, but care should be taken when recommending it to the public.
Robin Payne, general manager of business development with Exeter Friendly Society, believes that it is up to the insurer and the intermediary to make sure the client fully understands the products on offer. He added that although budget plans have their place, the cheapest option is not always the best.
“People buy with their wallet and pay with their heart,” he said. For example, Guardian Direct’s Value plan excludes all outpatient treatment except diagnostic procedures which are directly linked to day or in-patient treatment and radio and chemotherapy.
Similarly, Norwich Union Personal Care requires pathology and radiology to be related to day or in-patient treatment for it to be paid in full.
Payne remarked customers should not look to buy just for today. It is up to the intermediary to make people aware of the vast array of policies obtainable and what they get for their money in the future.