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Expat Investor : December 2007
HEALTHCARE DAVID PRYOR Managing Director, Medicare International As our annual MediCare International research into trends and attitudes clearly demonstrated, it is never too early to plan ahead when it comes to looking after your health and that of your family. In fact, 2007 has certainly been a year when the need for considered and long-term planning has risen on your health insurance checklist. We have found that more of you in 2007 have been looking at preventative annual healthcare check-ups as part of your policy. When we asked the question, "Do you agree annual healthcare check-ups are useful?" over 88% of you responded with a resounding 'Yes'. That's why we have offered a Wellness Benefit with our Executive International policy from 2004 for individuals and groups, which allows a medical screen for up to £500 per person every two policy years. The need for prevention and planning is especially valued by families with children, who find benefits such as child wellness checks useful in an international policy. It is generally estimated that in 75% of cases where an expatriate is working overseas, the spouse will also be living abroad, and in over half of cases the family will have children. Cover which includes choice of treatment location and cover for everyday costs are important features when planning and looking at family healthcare. The costs for even seemingly mild illnesses can mount up, especially when children are involved. We have taken this into account and offer tangible benefits for our policyholders, such as our 2007 introduction of a first free claim outside the outpatient policy excess, which might be a visit to the doctor or consultant. Planning ahead and preparing for all eventualities is a consistent theme. Nearly a third of you said in our research that you would not consider a policy if it did not provide some level of war cover. MediCare International was one of the first international providers to offer war cover -- for individuals in areas of trouble and danger we provide 'passive war' cover, including terrorist attack, in contrast to other insurers whose policies have a full war risk exclusion. And when you are looking at long-term planning, making sure you are covered year-on- year is vital and could be a costly mistake if overlooked. The ability to offer year-on-year renewal of policy is something MediCare International is able to provide with policies underwritten each year. Like you, we take our planning seriously at MediCare International. MARTIN BANKS Head of International, Norwich Union Healthcare Making the decision to move abroad is a calculated risk. Many are happy to leave familiar surroundings for the sake of their career or lifestyle, but how many include their health when making that calculated decision? British expatriates have no absolute right to NHS treatment in the UK once they are resident abroad for over three months. The European Health Card only provides access to emergency treatment in countries where the card-holder is not ordinarily resident. Expatriate rights of access to publicly funded health services vary from country to country, as do the quality of health facilities. It is vitally important that expatriates understand what access they have to health systems in their new countries of residence. The French government announcement that unemployed expatriates below French retirement age will be required to purchase private health insurance caused concern for many early retirees in France. Subsequent clarification that the rule will not apply to those resident for an uninterrupted five year period has provided relief to only a few. Other countries will be observing the situation with interest. Ageing populations place increasing strain on social security systems through pension and health costs. Limiting rights of access for those who are regarded as not having made adequate financial contributions to the system in order to reduce overall costs should probably not have come as such a surprise. We may see similar initiatives elsewhere. In a number of Middle Eastern markets, national governments do not use fiscal receipts to fund the state healthcare system. Growing expatriate populations have put pressure on health systems, and this has led to a number of countries in the region making it compulsory for expatriates to purchase private medical insurance. Some jurisdictions, notably Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, have made health insurance a prerequisite for an employment visa. In Abu Dhabi the authorities have strayed into the area of product design, stipulating certain minimum levels of cover which must be offered for a plan to be recognised for employment visa purposes. Dubai has begun a consultation process on making PMI compulsory for expatriates; it is not yet clear whether the Dubai authorities will partner with a commercial player as Abu Dhabi has done. Insurers have voiced concern that minimum cover requirements may differ from one emirate to another. Consistency has much to recommend it to the authorities, providers, intermediaries and ultimately customers, who will benefit from greater competition between insurers. NIGEL HARRIS Chief Executive Officer Asia Pacific, William Russell We have launched a new Global Health Essential plan for 2008 which provides cover in over 180 countries worldwide. The plan has been created exclusively for expatriates who are not worried about paying for everyday minor medical needs like visits to the GP and dental treatment. Rather, these policies are designed to cover the more expensive elements of private health care, like emergency surgery and evacuation. By selecting a Global Health Essential plan, expats can make up to a 25% saving on William Russell's comprehensive world-wide insurance cover, but still have a value-for-money insurance plan with the peace of mind of being covered by an award- winning insurance provider. Expats are offered a choice of two plans -- Essential Care and Essential Care Plus. Both offer comprehensive cover for hospital treatment and emergency medical evacuation. The Essential Care Plus plan also offers cover for out-patient treatment. To keep premiums to a minimum, cover in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and certain Asia Pacific countries, is restricted to US$50,000 accident and emergency treatment only, and there is no cover in the US, Canada and the Caribbean. Another development for William Russell has been China, which represents a massive opportunity for growth with its burgeoning expat population. One of the greatest issues facing expat private medical insurance (PMI) providers is the rising cost of international standard healthcare, which is driven by demand from the increasingly affluent domestic market in the principal Chinese cities. William Russell opened a new office in Kuala Lumpur this year, and has recently seen a rise in interest in medical tourism within Malaysia, which is seeking to join its neighbours to the south and north, Singapore and Thailand, in this increasingly competitive arena. These developments give policyholders many more options with regards to treatment destinations in Asia, with potential cost savings to be gained by more agile providers. Our new Global Health Malaysia Essential plan is available exclusively to Malaysian expatriates who require a value-for-money insurance plan. After consulting with Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) agents and the Ministry of Tourism, we are pleased to confirm that this new plan meets the visa requirements of the MM2H programme. Money tool from Skipton Guernsey Continued from page 17 December 2007 EXPAT INVESTOR 19 AXA PPP Healthcare 10430 BUPA International 10431 Interglobal Health Insurance 10432 Medicare International 10433 Norwich Union Healthcare 10434 William Russell 10435 For more infor mation just enter the above numbers on the Reader Reply Ser vice coupon on page 20 or visit www.expatinvestor.com FAST FACTS Customers' lifestyles have moved and changed over the years, but their demand for reliable and effective savings products has not changed, says Alan Bougourd, Managing Director, Skipton Guernsey. "Even in today's fast- moving financial environment, the offshore deposit account remains a key component when it comes to putting together a well-performing savings portfolio." Mr Bougourd continues, "One of the reasons that Skipton Guernsey has been able to work so successfully for its clients is because the company always aims to offer attractive rates across a reliable and appealing product range. "This unique proposition is backed up by the support of Skipton Building Society, the sixth largest UK building society, which enables us to pass on the benefits of mutuality to our clients." Mutuality, reliability and trust are important words in the customer offering that Skipton Guernsey provides. As Ken Jones, Manager -- Investments, comments, "While attractive rates are important to our clients, they also appreciate the peace of mind and reassurance they get when saving with us. We work hard to ensure that our clients can invest their hard-earned money safely in our range of attractive savings products." This approach has helped build the success of Skipton Guernsey's range of savings products, which now includes the recently launched Sterling Island Ninety Account. The new Sterling Island Ninety account has great rates on offer with just 90 days' notice for withdrawals without loss of interest. On balances of £100,000 plus, savers can earn 6.50% gross p.a./AER and 6.25% gross p.a./AER on balances from £10,000 -- £99,999. Mr Jones continues, "Our new Sterling Island Ninety Account complements our existing savings portfolio, offering an extra investment option for longer-term savers looking for a great rate. We are now able to give our clients appealing rates across easy access, 30 day notice, 60 day notice and 90 day notice terms, allowing them to mix and match easy access and notice products to suit individual needs. "Good notice accounts are at the heart of a well-balanced savings portfolio. Notice accounts, such as our Sterling Island Ninety allow savers to save for purchases in the future -- because you do not need to access funds so frequently, the interest rate is usually higher so savings grow more quickly. We offer 30 day, 60 day and now 90 day notice accounts to give savers an added dimension where there is not a need to dip into funds on a day-to- day basis -- so these are ideal for those customers who want to plan ahead."
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