The coronavirus pandemic and the public health crisis have been the growth engine of private health insurance in the last three years. Billing, without taking into account the part of the subsidy, increased in 2020 and 2021 by 5.1% and 5.2% respectively. Although if this variant is taken into account, the improvement was 7% by 2022 to invoice 10,543 million, according to ICEA data, collected by Unespa. This percentage is above multi-risk insurance, which experienced an increase of 5.69%, but it was also ahead of motor insurance, which experienced a positive evolution of 3.31%. Industry sources point out that concern for health and well-being has been installed among the population for years, which has allowed the evolution of premiums to rise, although it did show that the coronavirus pandemic and, above all, the perception of greater difficulty when it comes to accessing public health has made their hiring continue to accelerate.
The perception among the population that health insurance gives access to care-related services almost immediately, or without having to wait too long, has also contributed to its development. And this has meant that, in 2021, the last known data, the number of the population that had private health insurance stood at 11.6 million, compared to 8.7 million in 2011. In this ten-year period, the percentage of the population covered by this type of policy has been increasing, even with crises involved. Although it is true that in 2020 and 2021 (the hard years of the pandemic) the rate of improvement was somewhat higher than the previous average, growing in both years at a rate of 4.5% per year, compared to increases of 3%, of consistently from past years. The impact of the rise in inflation, giving rise to lower disposable income, and economic uncertainty have not paralyzed the hiring rate either, according to the aggregate data published for 2022. Nor is it expected to be a problem for 2023.
Unespa highlights several reasons why private health insurance has not stopped growing. “These are products that are marketed at competitive and accessible prices”, where insurers move not only to have access to the best coverage, but also to move by price. The fact that it is a product that people use on a recurring basis also plays in its favor. “This gives it a very strong feeling of service among its customers,” the employers insist. Finally, one of the phenomena that drives the purchase of health insurance is its growing acceptance as a payment mechanism in kind, especially in the years before the covid. “Many companies have incorporated health insurance for their workers as a complementary remuneration concept,” they assert from the insurance employer.
The big five have a 73% share
These perceptions have also been transferred to the evolution in the number of premiums of the main insurers in the market. According to ICEA data, to which La Información has had access, in 2019, the volume of premiums grew by 4.338% for the first five groups in the sector (Mutua Madrileña and SegurCaixa Adelas, Sanitas, Asisa, DKV Seguros and Mapfre), with variations ranging from 6.5% to Mutua Madrileña, which includes SegurCaixa Adeslas, followed by Mapfre, with an increase of almost 5%, and Sanitas, 3.92%. In 2021, a year after the pandemic broke out, premium contracting accelerated, with Mapfre and DKV Seguros growing by almost 10%. For the five largest groups the mean was 6.546%
By 2022, the increase in the number of premiums issued by the five groups with the greatest weight within private health insurance has continued to rise, with increases of 7%, where the average for these companies stands at 6.752%. Precisely, these five companies have a cumulative market share of 73% of the total.
By 2023, insurers hope that private health insurance will end up consolidating itself as the locomotive of growth in the insurance sector. In fact, Mapfre, which already has more than one million insurance policies, has set itself the goal of continuing to grow considerably this year.