According to VHI Chief Executive Jimmy Tolan, 2009 has not been a good year for the VHI. The loss of 120,00 customers and losses of €80 million are not the sum total of the beleaguered Healthcare Insurance company.
The year ends with the VHI having more customers over the age of 60 than it did at the start of the year. Mr Tolan also ascertains that €170 million will be lost by the end of the year in servicing the needs of those customers who are over 60.
The health insurance industry in general has had a hard time, 40,000 less customers than this time last year. This is not surprising given the economic situation, with so many people no longer able to afford private health insurance.
What it does point out though is that the VHI are losing ground badly to their competitors. Even if every customer lost to the industry as a whole had been with VHI, the figures suggest that the VHI would still be hemorrhaging a whopping 80,000 customers to their competitors. This figure must be significantly higher, since not all the 40,000 who are no longer insured privately were with VHI.
2010 does not look promising. With more people forced to abandon their policies, and a further bleeding of the customer base to competitors, the situation looks bleak for the VHI.
What the figures show is that younger people have been attracted away to competing Health insurers. This gives them a competitive advantage, with younger age profiles costing less than older profiles.