Insurer Aviva Says UK Demand for Private Health Jumped Amid NHS Strikes

May 25, 2023 by

UK insurer Aviva Plc said demand for private health care continued to surge as more individuals and companies look for alternatives to the National Health Service.

Private health insurance sales grew 25% in the first quarter, the UK based insurer said Thursday, following a 14% jump last year.

British patients have been increasingly turning to private options as the state-funded NHS struggles with mass strikes, budget constraints and extended waiting times.

Customers opting to pay for private care are buying full packages, which include access to online physicians as people become more concerned about not being able to get a doctor’s appointment quickly, Aviva Chief Executive Officer Amanda Blanc said in a phone interview.

“We don’t see it stopping anytime soon,” Blanc said of the increasing rise in health-care sales. “Volumes are very strong.”

In its first quarter trading statement, Aviva said annuities sales rose due to higher interest rates, while its workplace pensions business grew with flows rising 25% as higher wages resulted in more contributions.

Wealth net flows of £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) represented 6% of opening assets under management, but were 15% lower than the first quarter of 2022 because of continued market volatility, Aviva said.

The company provided a dividend guidance of about £915 million for 2023.

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