WPA, the not for profit private medical insurance provider, has set an example for the rest of the sector with a pledge to rebate around 40% of monthly premiums to SMEs during the current pandemic.
The provider was first out of the traps weeks ago to tell members that it would work hard to find ways to compensate them during the lockdown.
Now, it has confirmed that it will offer two-fifths of premiums back to SMEs whose employees are unable to access private treatment.
There will be no commission clawback for intermediaries.
At present, private and independent sector hospitals are not treating or diagnosing patients, meaning that individuals or companies who are paying PMI premiums are unable to use them.
Providers – and some intermediaries – have been quick to stress that the typical PMI policy provides cover for remote GP access or even remote specialist consultations.
There is also acknowledgment that claims funds need to be protected and ongoing claims need to be funded.
But there remains some frustration that insurers have not done enough to tell customers about where their premiums are going during the ongoing crisis.
A spokesman for WPA said the provider is “committed to not profiting” from the reduction in claims as a result of coronavirus.
He said: “The ultimate financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our health insurance policies is not clear.
“What we do know is that currently our customers are claiming less than usual, and so we want to provide a tangible rebate now based on what we are observing.”