PHIIA’s observations on the AMA Private Health Insurance Report Card 2016
The Industry body representing PHI Intermediaries welcomes the AMA Private Health Insurance Report Card recently released. PHIIA strongly supports consumer choice and the Report highlights the complexity of health insurance policies.
However PHIIA provides the following observations especially with respect to Third Party Comparator Websites.
Comparator websites make a valuable contribution to the process of selection by the consumer of an appropriate health policy. Where a Fund can only compare their own products, online comparators are able to provide a view across multiple sources, and to assist consumers who are looking for general advice on the various levels of cover available. It is somewhat disingenuous of the AMA to, on the one hand, express concern at the level of complexity created by the Health Funds’ practice of tailoring their products to different levels of consumer need, while at the same time excoriating businesses that help unravel that complexity.
Commissions paid by Funds to the comparator are made to reward the presentation of their policies to an audience that is increasingly inclined to shop online, and are therefore simply a form of marketing expense. In many cases it is cost effective for a fund to use comparators, which is therefore a means of minimising expenses rather than adding to the cost of a policy as implied by the AMA. It is a practice in common with many – even most – other service businesses in the financial arena, and it is inappropriate to suggest that payments in this form influence purchases made through this sales channel.
PHIIA operates a Code of Conduct that specifically excludes such activity, as well as regulating all
Members’ actions to ensure transparency and fairness in dealings with the consumer.
For more information: Contact David J Wright