More and more people are travelling abroad to work or retire. And with insurers offering both travel insurance and international private medical insurance, knowing which to recommend is vital to getting your clients the cover they need – and could win you more business, as Kevin Melton of AXA PPP International explains.
Today 200 million people live and work abroad. More people are retiring to another country, and a new global workforce is helping businesses unlock opportunities in an increasingly connected world.
Travel can be exhilarating, but it also brings unfamiliarity. For all of us, our health is our most important asset – it is our key to living a full life, at work and at home. So whether your client is a globally-mobile worker or the business that employs them, or an expat gearing up to move to the Costa del Sol, their first question will be the same: ‘How can I make sure that I get the treatment and care I need when I arrive?’
When is travel insurance enough, and when should you recommend your clients take out international private medical insurance (iPMI)?
Travel Insurance is ideally designed for short trips
Travel insurance protects people against the sort of mishaps that can happen when they are on holiday or flying out for a meeting, such as losing a bag or having an accident.
Cover is usually capped at three months for each trip. Medical treatment is usually limited to accident and emergency care, and short-term treatments. If your clients needed ongoing treatment, they would need to return home. What is more, your clients will not have a choice in where they go for treatment, and there is no guarantee
that they will be seen quickly. Most likely, their cover will come with just one phone number – the number they can call to make a claim.
So, if your client is travelling for longer than three months, wants a better standard of care, or is managing a pre-existing or chronic condition, then travel insurance will not give them the support they need.
iPMI protects your clients’ health – any time, any place, anywhere
iPMI is not about reimbursing your clients for lost bags or cancelled flights. It is about making sure that wherever they go, they have the healthcare and support they need.
With iPMI your clients can be covered not just for emergency treatment, evacuation and repatriation, but for inpatient and outpatient treatments and chronic conditions. You can customise the plan for each client, adding whatever cover they need, from maternity and dental benefits or cover for a pre-existing condition.
iPMI also gives your clients the choice of where they prefer to be treated. Both individual and business clients tell us that one of their biggest concerns is knowing that, whatever the local challenges are,
they will get the level of care and support that they expect. The best iPMI providers have built up global networks of best-in-class hospitals and clinics where members are seen by medical professionals who speak their language. Some also give members a second opinion service, so they can be completely confident with their specialist’s recommendations and can settle bills directly with hospitals on your clients’ behalf, so they do not have to pay when they are admitted.
If your clients are travelling to somewhere unfamiliar, then little things matter more than ever. Your clients will want to know that, if the local healthcare system works differently to what they are used to, or even if it has its challenges, that they will still be able to get the best possible care and support. That is why the best iPMI providers give 24/7 access to medical experts through helplines and full support in navigating the local healthcare system, from finding a doctor nearby, to giving health and wellbeing tips on staying healthy overseas.
iPMI helps businesses grow
In the 21st Century, business knows no bounds. The traditional flow of older corporate clients moving from West to East on short-term assignments developed into a vibrant flowing of workers from all ages and backgrounds travelling not just from West to East, but from East and West, and to new and exciting markets around the
globe. To make the most of the opportunities in today’s business world, workers need to be ready to travel. It is predicted that the average number of international assignees will increase by 150% by 2020, with the traditional flow of talent from West to East reversing.
As an intermediary, the opportunities to expand your global portfolio are endless. Employees are likely to see iPMI as a sign that the business is serious about their health and wellbeing. So as well as protection, it gives businesses a great way to attract and retain the best new talent.
This article was first published in our In Focus supplement on iPMI which is available as a free download here.