PPP chief plans new underwriting scheme to improve pricing

AXA/PPP Healthcare plans to lift various private medical insurance (PMI) exclusions in a radical shake-up of its underwriting practices, according to chief executive Keith Gibbs.

He told Insurance Times he wanted to "deliver better pricing to risk" and next year would introduce a new underwriting scheme to allow customers more choice.

"We want to make sure the underwriting risk understands what people's needs are in the modern world. Some PMI exclusions in the past, for example cataracts for a person with diabetes, may not remain.

"What we should say in the future is the price includes the secondary conditions that emerge from your primary illness," Gibbs said.

His intention is to improve the data for underwriters to calculate the risk, with the results helping performance next year.

"It will involve combining data we have in-house and data AXA has in other European territories.

"It won't completely revolutionise the market, but it will give customers far more choice than our competitors," he said.

AXA/PPP Healthcare is still losing market share to its main rival Bupa, Gibbs admitted. But he said he intended to close the gap between them. Bupa has about 43% of the PMI market, while AXA/PPP Healthcare has only 28%.

Both insurers are aggressively targeting the SME market though it is understood Bupa has the edge.

"There is still more work to be done, but we hope to offer brokers more support," he said.

He also said the integration between the health insurer and AXA Insurance was on track and that talks had taken place with Dennis Holt and Peter Hubbard to cross-sell PMI through other AXA products.

  • For the full interview with Keith Gibbs see our health supplement next month