Thursday, 24th November 2016

AMII SUMMIT 2016: Call for greater co-operation between insurers and intermediaries

The implications of Brexit, a further increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), and constitutional changes were all on the agenda at the recent Health and Wellbeing Summit held by the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII).

Opening the Summit, AMII Chairman Stuart Scullion announced the industry is “entering an unprecedented decade of change not seen for a generation”, and shortly after a panel debate on the industry implications of Brexit, it was announced that Chancellor Phillip Hammond plans to increase insurance premium tax (IPT) to 12 per cent from June 2017.

On the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement Stuart commented: “I have previously described the increases in IPT as an ill-conceived and ill thought through taxation, in part driven by the desire to deliver a balanced fiscal policy.

“This further rise marks the third increase in just 15 months and I believe, in making this decision, the Government is thinking purely of generating revenue in one area and not considering the wider implications, particularly for the NHS and health sector.

“The suggestion by the Chancellor that IPT is a taxation on the Insurer not the Insured consumer is naïve at best.

“Throughout much of the European Union health insurance is exempt from IPT.

"I have already met with Craig Tracey, MP, Chairman of the All Parties Committee Financial Services & Insurance, earlier this year and expressed my concerns about the two previous increases in IPT. I will be writing to him following this latest announcement to ensure our concerns are forwarded to the Chancellor directly. In addition, we are looking to set up an Intermediary roundtable chaired by Craig to discuss this further.

"In the meantime, I urge everyone in our industry to come together. I do think we are an easy target and we need to work in partnership and start lobbying now. My fear is the Treasury has an agenda to equalise IPT at the same level as VAT as soon as possible without giving due consideration to the wider implications for the healthcare sector as a whole."

The Summit, held at One Great George Street in London, was attended by nearly 200 representatives of healthcare businesses and organisations from across the country. A host of leading industry figures discussed and debated a new era in the health and wellbeing sector, including Mark Page, CEO of Ramsay Health UK, and Ted Townsend, senior consultant at LaingBuisson, who presented on the ‘The Next Decade in Health & Wellbeing’.

Ted Townsend then joined a panel consisting of Rebecca Pullen, Director of Corporate Affairs, HCA Healthcare UK, Kevin Green, CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, and Philip Wright, Managing Director of IMG Europe, to discuss the opportunities and challenges over the next decade including the implications of Brexit.

Steve Charles, Head of Business Partnerships at Qdos Group, joined the speaker line-up to launch a business support services initiative for AMII, and the final presentation of the day – ‘Adapting to Cultural Change – was delivered by Jim Lawless, an international motivational speaker and author of self-help business book ‘Taming Tigers’.

During the Summit, the body also took part in a formal vote on constitutional changes to ensure AMII runs in a democratic way with each participating member having a single vote in the affairs of the Association.

The outcome sees Corporate Members allowed equal voting rights and the opportunity to serve as Honorary Officers of the Association, including the role of Chairman.

On the vote, Stuart commented: “Not only do we need better cooperation and better cohesion as an industry to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, but importantly, AMII needs to adapt as a body and change from within.

“If we had not adapted in the past and taken steps to introduce corporate members to the body, I really believe AMII would not be here today.

“The executive committee and I strongly feel that, as an organisation, we should be a democracy. Corporate members are active participants and add value to AMII and it should be one member – one vote.

“The industry is changing significantly and we need to position AMII for the next decade and beyond.”