The growth of UK private medical insurance (PMI) has been due to the self-employed and very small businesses, rather than the medium sized firms where many assumed the growth lay, a new report has found.

But the report by Research and Markets said health

insurers were targeting the self-employed and small businesses with standard corporate products rather than tailoring them for individuals.

The rise in PMI policy count and premium income in recent years had often been attributed to increased corporate sales while private sales were on the decline.

But the report said few providers developed special products for the small business sector, and many re-badged personal products as business ones. Other insurers claimed that the self-employed and small business owners needed only standard personal products.

Last month, Datamonitor predicted that the number of people with individual PMI was forecast to increase over 10%, to 1.2 million in 2010.