Posted by Sparcmedia on Apr 19, 2017 9:30:00 AM

A new national study has found Australians prioritise car insurance over private health care cover with the industry failing to attract new customers.  

In findings that have implications for the national healthcare system, the data suggests marketing efforts of private health insurers only contribute to churning customers between funds rather than attracting the uninsured. One in three Australians still have little or no insurance cover.

The research by Pureprofile (ASX:PPL) of 1,000 people across the country in March 2017 looked at ownership and attitudes towards fully comprehensive car insurance, home and contents insurance, private health cover, life and income insurance.

The survey found private health insurance only had a “medium priority” after car and home insurance but before life and income protection.

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The survey found 72 per cent of Australians have comprehensive car insurance and 62 per cent have home and contents insurance. Just over half of Australians (55 per cent) have private health insurance, only 22 per cent life insurance and 12 per cent income protection.

The report shows that the private health insurance market is concentrated among two large brands - Bupa (26 per cent) and Medibank Private (24 per cent). Both operate strongly across all states while the brands following are HCF (16 per cent) and NIB (13 per cent) and are particularly strong in NSW.

16 percent of all Australians have claimed to have switched private health providers in the last three years. Among current private health insurance owners this share increases to one in four showing the volatility of the market. Customers are more likely to switch providers in their first five years of membership with a brand (70 percent have a tenure less than six years).


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Nearly every second switch (46 per cent) was prompted by the renewal notification. One in five customers switched after habitually looking for a better plan every year. Comparison websites like iSelect, choosi and Compare the Market are used by 54 per cent of all switchers and an insurance provider’s online presence also plays a big role in searching for a better deal.

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We found 48 per cent of people under 35 years rely on word of mouth and the opinion of friends and family when switching. Every second Australian recalls recent advertising for private health providers. Cut-through is highest for women (54 per cent) and 18-34 year olds (55 per cent). 

Through Sparcmedia's Competitive Intelligence we uncovered online advertising insights of five main private health insurance providers between April 2016 and April 2017.

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• Bupa has 35% share of digital ad impressions dominating the market when compared to the other four.

• Bupa is a lot more active in online advertising than Medibank and with a very effective media plan for the March period (renewal phase).

• nib does a lot online (relative to their market share). This fits to them targeting the younger generations and firsttime customers.

• Bupa had 1000+ creatives types in circulation in the 12 month period whilst others were between 200-300.


Download the full report at 


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Topics: Insights