With public budgets tight and negative incentives a concern, government is keen to focus its help on the most needy, letting others carry more of their own burden. This may be the start of a third way for welfare, in which individuals themselves are expected to take on more responsibility for insurable risks presently covered by the state. There is wide experience to draw on, both from within the uk and abroad, of how private insurance can take up some of the strain and tailor a better service to today’s more diverse population.