Private medical insurance is outsold five to one by pet insurance, according to a Defaqto report which urges the industry to make PMI service standards more transparent.
The financial research company says there are one million individual PMI policies in place in the UK compared with five million pet insurance policies and says advisers criticise PMI for being too expensive.
The report found that the product fails to engage advisers and consumers and people do not want to buy the product because it is seen as augmenting the NHS, which people are already paying for through taxes.
Another barrier to selling PMI is that many IFAs lack the knowledge or training to sell the products and they do not believe selling PMI is valuable to their business.
Research conducted by Defaqto in its annual IFA satisfaction study shows that 46 per cent of advisers never advise on PMI and 50 per cent do so infrequently.
Defaqto believes that providers need to invest in the product and seek out new distribution channels such as the internet to tackle the problems the PMI market faces.
Head of life and protection Nick Telfer says: “With insuring pets appearing to be more important than taking out individual private medical insurance, it is clear is that the PMI industry is failing to persuade consumers that insuring their health is more important than insuring their pets, or, for that matter, their bel-ongings and holidays.
“Defaqto believes that opportunities exist for PMI to integrate with the financial services market, something it has never really achieved.”