Broker trade body seeking legal advice

Biba is seeking legal advice over the refusal of health insurers to share claims data with brokers.

Firms offering private medical insurance for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the only general insurers not to pass on a policyholder’s claims history to brokers.

They say claims data for medical expenses and treatment is “commercially sensitive” and releasing it would breach data protection rules.

But Biba believes brokers are being deprived of crucial information they need to negotiate competitive premiums.

Peter Staddon, head of technical services for Biba, said the organisation was also consulting the Information Commissioner’s Office, the government body that advises on public information disclosures.

He said he wanted to know exactly what information could be passed from insurers to brokers before he considered the association’s next move.

“The insurer needs to provide an authenticated claims experience. In today’s climate of different rates, you’ve got to, as a broker, see what’s best for the client,” he said.

A spokesman for the ABI said it had a voluntary recommended practice for the disclosure of claims history, but it was unclear at present whether private medical insurers were following the guidance.