Corporate clients attracted by savings pledge given by organiser Jelf

The promise of a 25% saving in private health insurance premiums has attracted 30 FTSE 250 companies to sign up to a national health insurance forum.

Also on offer is a promised 10% saving in direct absence costs at the forum, which will take place in March in a central London location.

The promises were made by healthcare specialist broker Jelf, which is organising the event.

Of 120 corporate clients who have expressed an interest in attending the event, representing £100m of the market's health-related premiums, 30 have already signed up.

Jelf Corporate Healthcare sales manager Tobin Coles said many attempts to cut PMI premiums actually increased the burdens to business by pushing up the cost of absence from work or the costs of permanent health insurance policies.

He said: "People are trying to cap their PMI costs by capping benefits, but they're seeing it hit their permanent health insurance or absence costs by way more than the figure they are saving on their PMI."

Coles said about 30 FTSE 250 companies had confirmed their attendance at the event, which would be held in a central London location, and about 90 smaller companies had expressed a "strong interest".

He said the larger companies alone would account for premium worth £100m in cover for private medical insurance, permanent health insurance and group life cover.

Coles said insurers had been reluctant to tackle problems associated with how private medical insurance and absentee costs interact with each other.

He said: "There seems to be lethargy in terms of tackling this that comes down to the fact that insurers would need to enter dialogue with their competitors."

He added that some insurers, such as Legal & General and CIGNA had started working together on healthcare strategies.

Bupa and NU are developing separate strategies.