Lengthening NHS waiting lists, the appeal of digital healthcare and quicker treatment are just some of the reasons the majority of Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) members expect to see an increase in demand for individual private healthcare in 2021.
This is according to a survey conducted by AMII and insurer The Exeter, which found 40% of respondents expect an increase in demand for private healthcare, with a further 18% expecting a significant increase.
When asked about the main opportunities for their business, a third (32%) of respondents pointed to lengthening NHS waiting lists as a driver for increased interest in private health insurance.
A number of recipients also cited the fact that private healthcare offered their clients access to digital healthcare and to fast treatment.
More than a third (35%) expected an increase in demand from employers, with one in three of these looking at opportunities with SMEs in particular.
A similar number highlighted opportunities for organic growth through things like client retention and quality service, an uplift in additional cover and benefits for existing and new clients, account development and referrals, and digital marketing and lead generation.
Just 10% of AMII members expected to see a decrease in demand for their services in 2021 and when asked about the greatest threat facing their business, three in four pointed to a challenging post-pandemic economy.
Commenting on the findings, AMII executive chairman David Middleton (pictured) said: “The pandemic has undoubtedly had an immense impact on healthcare in the UK, with disruptions to services, increasing waiting lists, and a reduction in GP referrals and screening services.
“The health industry is well placed to reduce the burden on the NHS in these challenging times, ensuring people can access the healthcare they need, when they need it.
“These findings shed light on the optimism of AMII members for the year ahead and we could indeed start to see more of a shift in how people access healthcare, leading to accelerated growth in our sector.”
Karen Woodley, head of sales at The Exeter, added: “We are encouraged by the level of optimism from the AMII membership. It is important for us to seek feedback from advisers so we can continue to ensure our products and service meet the needs of advisers and their clients.”