The face of a ‘typical’ private medical insurance customer is changing, with a dramatic difference in the age range of people getting in touch with us within the space of just a year.
Our average customer is getting younger, with a huge upturn in the number of under-30s making health insurance enquiries to our team. Between January 2019 and January 2020, the number of under-30s comparing private medical insurance quotes grew by 40% - while, during the same period, the number of over-55s comparing health insurance fell by 21%.
The shift was particularly noticeable following the general election in December, when we handled a 400% increase in enquiries. In some areas, the average age of callers asking about PMI dropped by as much as 10 years.
During the same 12-month period, we also saw a drop in ‘switch’ customers - those who shop around each year and switch to a new health insurance provider. In election week, the number of ActiveQuote visitors looking to switch their existing cover from one policy provider to another dropped by around 10%. As a result, a greater share of our customers are new - perhaps reflecting consumer concern about the NHS and long waiting lists, and suggesting that more people are looking into PMI for the first time.
In the 48 hours it took for the 2019 general election to take place, the number of UK residents comparing the cost of health insurance rose from hundreds into the thousands. Queries made to ActiveQuote quadrupled from less than 500 in the 24 hours preceding and during the election to more than 2,000 once the polls had closed on Friday, December 13. The lion’s share of enquiries came from Cardiff and the Valleys, while Liverpool saw the sharpest hike in volume nationwide.
ActiveQuote head of partnerships and marketing Rod Jones said: “These figures show us that the NHS clearly was a major factor for many of those voting in the 2019 election, particularly for younger generations, with the average age of those seeking PMI dropping by as much as 10 years in some areas too.
“Consumers in Preston, Chester and Wakefield were among the youngest enquiring, with those contacting ActiveQuote during election week aged between 30 and 32 on average. Before the election, they were seven, nine and 10 years older respectively.”
The L1 and L3 postcodes in Liverpool city centre saw the sharpest rise in enquiries, with four times as many people in both – an increase of more than 200% - contacting ActiveQuote about PMI in the week of the election itself, compared to the three weeks beforehand.
This was closely followed by Preston, which saw a 150% rise in the number of those contacting our comparison site in the same period. Seats in all three areas, as well as Cardiff and the Valleys, were largely claimed by Labour in the election.
Rod said: “It’s interesting to note that not only were there PMI enquiries coming in from geographical areas of the UK where previously you might expect fewer, but also from lower age groups too. PMI is often something considered to be less relevant among the younger generation and more pertinent the older and more financially responsible we become, both for ourselves and our wider family.
“The good news is that for anyone thinking about PMI, and for whatever reason, additional healthcare support has never been more accessible - as anyone looking at the ActiveQuote website before, during or after the 2019 election has no doubt already seen for themselves.”
We’re the UK’s leading comparison website and broker of health insurance, or PMI, as well as other protection insurance products such as income protection, life insurance and critical illness cover. The right PMI policy can enable patients to bypass long hospital or consultant waiting lists, get an earlier diagnosis and treatment and add extra options such as dental cover and physiotherapy.
*ActiveQuote evaluated and compared the number of PMI quotes via the company website in the ‘pre-election’ period dated Nov 18 to Dec 8 and during the ‘election’ period dated Dec 9 to 16, breaking these down into daily readings across the entire date range too.