Merger discussions in 'crowded' IPMI market - Now Health

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The international private medical insurance (IPMI) market could be subject of a series of mergers and acquisitions between providers, according to one insurer in the sector.

Now Health International has said there is a significant chance of consolidation activity and that conversations between providers are currently taking place.

The sector has often been the subject to rumours of mergers and acquisitions but the new entrant believes the provider space is now "quite crowded".

Tim Mutton, business development director at the provider, told COVER about the potential for market activity.

"There are undoubtedly discussions between various players as to future parentage," he said.

"Without giving names there's no question there are those types of discussions ongoing.

"The market is quite crowded, there's well over 20 players in it and undoubtedly there are discussions between some that could end up with mergers or acquisitions," he added.

Mutton continued by saying he couldn't name those involved but said it was "an active market now".

The possibility for merger activity was greeted with some scepticism by market veteran Steve Nelson, sales manager at April Medibroker.

"It's something that we've been hearing, but there are always rumours in the market that someone is going to buy someone else and apart from Vanbreda being bought by Cigna I can't think of anything major," he said.

"A few of the smaller companies still have the same owners from when they started who probably won't want to stay in the business forever.

"So you might see a few of the quality smaller ones being snapped up, but there's always rumours and have been for a long time but it never seems to happen - or very rarely," he added.

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