Insurers that withhold information are disadvantaging consumers, says Biba
The British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) has announced it is to push for a review and eventual cessation of limited availability of authenticated claims data in the health insurance sector - a situation, it says, is a "restricted practice which limits consumer choice".
Peter Staddon, head of technical services at the body, said the organisation had valid concerns over how insurers could assess risk when they were prohibited from seeing a client's claims data.
He said: "Biba's Healthcare Focus Group has met with a number of insurers to discuss the matter further, including the main protagonists against the release of claims data. Following this, Biba agreed to obtain a QC's report on the Data Protection Act as many insurers use this as a reason to withhold information."
He added: "Biba has also been in contact with the data commissioner and he is investigating the insurance companies practices. However, this does not finish this trilogy of action. The third and, in my mind, most powerful action is to open up a dialogue with the regulator on the failure of insurance companies to release data that disadvantages the consumer - does Treating Customers Fairly come to mind?"
Alistair Sclare, head of healthcare at Groupama, said that his company shared this viewpoint with Biba, alongside the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries: "Within the private medical insurance market, on small to medium-sized enterprises, premiums are calculated using an age-related table rather than on claims experience, and claims information from most insurers is not released to the policyholder or intermediary, as we believe it should be."
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