Bupa rejigs premiums

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The Independent Online
BUPA, the country's largest health insurer, is to introduce cheaper cover for non-smokers, writes Vivien Goldsmith.

It is likely that the improved deal will initially be offered to new subscribers. It will then be phased in over all Bupa's contracts so that all customers will eventually be rated for their smoking habits.

This is part of a radical overhaul of the insurer's premiums, which will lead to more individual risk-rating.

This has become possible through the introduction of more sophisticated computer systems. Bupa has spent pounds 5m on modifying its systems in the past year in a joint venture with US Healthcare.

It is likely that the banding of individuals into five-year age bands will eventually go, so people's exact age will be taken into account. This will eliminate the jerky jumps in premiums.

No-claims discounts are also likely to be introduced. These were pioneered by Prime Health in 1987.

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