Health insurer HBF has revealed one of its strongest years on record as improved investment markets more than match up with the rising levels of claims.

HBF, a mutual which operates on a not-for-profit basis, recorded a $134 million surplus for the year ending June 30, its second highest performance after hitting $216 million. The previous record, in 2006-07, was strong due to global investment markets and included a one-off $60 million inclusion in general reserves following strategic decision to close the HBF Future Health Benefit scheme.

HBF CEO Rob Bransby said there was nothing particularly exceptional about the financial result which resulted from premium income rising to almost $1.1 billion, up more than 7 per cent from $1.16 billion in the previous financial year.

However, Mr Bransby said it was notable that this year - HBF's 70th - was the first time that the baby boomers had reached retirement age, the start of a demographic shift that was expected to put more pressure on health funds due to forecast increases in hospital services.

Mr Bransby said that HBF was trying to be more than an insurer, attempting to be a trusted health adviser to reduce demand on hospital services in the future.