Health insurer Western Provident Association has swept the board in a new consumer satisfaction survey about private medical insurance.

WPA came top in five out of six categories after NOP Research Group surveyed 2,500 people, of which 572 had private medical insurance.

Results were compared between the UK's four biggest providers – BUPA, PPP, Norwich Union and WPA.

Scores were surprisingly high for each of the six questions despite the bad press that the sector has received recently. All four insurers scored an average of more than seven out of ten for their overall performance, with WPA the only insurer to record an eight. WPA was the insurer which scored highest for its performance in settling claims, and was most likely to be recommended by policyholders.

It was also found to have the most efficient service and the most helpful personnel, ensuring it scored highest for overall quality of service.

Norwich Union prevented the clean sweep – the survey found it provided the best value for money. This question was the area where insurers scored the lowest.

BUPA recorded the lowest score in any the questions with a mark of 6.76 out of 10 for its value for money.

"We are obviously delighted with the results which is a tremendous boost for our staff," said director John Wright.

"It is good news for our staff to have their efforts recognised.