International healthcare group Bupa has declared its half year results, confirming that the UK health insurance market is facing an “affordability crunch”.
The figures showed the company has experienced a growth in revenues and profit, driven by its international performance, but Bupa’s chief executive Stuart Fletcher stated it was taking steps to “improve competition and efficiency among providers”.
The market for privately funded healthcare is currently under investigation by the Competition Commision and Fletcher’s comments reflect the current tension in the market between providers and insurers.
Globally, Bupa’s overall revenue is up 5% to £4.1 billion, giving it an unbroken five year revenue growth record.
The group’s overall underlying profit is up 3% to £254.7 million, an increase of nearly 50% since 2007, while the profit before tax is up 5% to £255.3 million.
The report also showed customer numbers are up by 3% to £11.1 million.
Bupa saw the most success in its international markets where revenues were up 10% to £2.1 billion while profit increased 8% to £150.2 million.
The statement attributed this to growth in customer numbers in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Bupa’s joint venture in India as well as the launch of new products.
This climb was in contrast to Bupa’s performance in its European and North American market, which saw revenues drop by 2% to £1.4 billion and profit plummet 22% to £35 million. The report attributed this fall to a reduction in UK customer numbers and increased UK claim costs.
Bupa chief executive Stuart Fletcher (pictured) said: “Bupa has delivered a satisfactory set of results, in line with our expectations at the start of the year, despite challenging conditions in several of our key markets.
“In the UK, the health insurance market is approaching an affordability crunch over the medium term. In this context we are taking steps on behalf of customers to tackle the rising cost of care and improve competition and efficiency among providers.”