Health insurer Vhi is to increase its premiums by up to 5% on plans from 1 November.

It said the average rise is 2%, while the minimum will be 1%.

Vhi described the increase as modest and the first in 20 months.

The company said the rise was needed to deal with the rising cost of customers' claims.

Declan Moran, Vhi’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, said: "More of our customers require access to quality healthcare including access to new and improved medical technologies, new life saving drugs and new treatments as they come available but these come at a cost.

"Vhi is totally committed to managing costs and reducing inefficiencies in our business in order to keep health insurance affordable for our customers."