Bupa incentives for low claimers

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HEALTHY individuals who do not claim often on their Bupa private health insurance policies may be offered preferential treatment by the insurer before the end of the year, writes Maria Scott.

Bupa is working on a system that would reward people who claim infrequently and effectively penalise those who cost the organisation a lot.

The obvious answer is a no claims discount but Arthur Large, managing director of membership at Bupa said he hoped to develop a more sophisticated system. He said it would lead to significant reductions in premiums for some people.

Bupa says the level of claims on policies taken out independently by individuals is still too high, although claims under corporate policies are coming under control. Bupa has raised premiums sharply in the last few years although the increase for individuals in the last 12 months, at 14 per cent, was lower than in 1991.

The danger for the insurer now though is that it will lose subscriptions from people who do not cost it much. Mr Large said: 'We have got to introduce some change in the price structure that matches risk to price. Too many members are telling us that they have not claimed for 10 years but are facing big price increases.'

Bupa's plans do not augur well for its older subscribers among whom claims are higher.

The insurer will also launch a scheme to cover dental costs shortly.