InterGlobal has been a leading player in the expat/global health insurance business since 1999 but faced a number of challenges as the economic recession hit in 2009. Rapid growth in the large corporate segment around 2009 created operational and underwriting problems leading to a restructuring of the company, both financially and in terms of strategic objectives. This has resulted in InterGlobal refocusing its marketing and execution objectives back to its traditional key individual and SME health insurance products aimed at expats and high net worth's around the world with very positive results.
Pacific Prime has seen a number of very positive changes in 2012 which have lead to 'good growth' and positive client experiences. A few of the changes from 2012 include:
InterGlobal opened its Singapore office in 2010 but 2012 saw the office develop and mature from an operational and execution basis. The focusing of efforts on a market and local service and support have led to better client experience and growth in one of the world's leading global financial centres. Pacific Prime also has an office in Singapore and the close partnership between InterGlobal and Pacific Prime has started to create brand awareness in the local market, which is encouraging.
Fully Medically Underwritten plans were introduced in 2012, providing clients with pre-existing conditions the option to have their conditions covered with a premium loading. This additional product feature opens up InterGlobal to a new large segment of the market. Few global private health insurers offer this capability despite the fact that it is uncommon for individuals in their 40s, 50s and 60s to not have a pre-existing medical condition. While such conditions may not always be serious, they can still quickly become expensive and many would undoubtedly appreciate having their conditions covered.
Direct Billing facilities have been expanded around the world but some particularly positive developments have been made in the key markets of Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore. Outpatient direct billing is often overlooked by insurers when developing health insurance plans but potential clients tend to place this feature high in their selection criteria when choosing an insurance provider. In 2012, InterGlobal launched an exclusive agreement with Pacific Prime in Dubai for individual outpatient direct billing and further expanded its corporate direct billing network. This feature will benefit clients immensely and is likely to lead to further growth in the future.
Emergency assistance support has continued to improve and InterGlobal has extended its relationship with Red 24. Also in line with this improved service and assistance model, InterGlobal started working with Mobile Doctors in Dubai to provide first line telephone medical assistance to clients and to direct them to the most appropriate medical facilities in the Middle East.
InterGlobal has had a long standing presence in China through its partnerships with RSA, AXA MinMetals and in 2012 when ICBC became the majority shareholder, InterGlobal began working with ICBC AXA. Developing a powerful and efficient distribution and operational model in China is a major challenge but InterGlobal has continued to invest in the country and made some important decisions in 2012 which should see its presence in the China market grow.
Finally, in terms of its corporate structure, InterGlobal, which became an insurer in 2007 with the backing of leading UK private equity firm Alchemy, reinforced its financial backing at the end of 2011 when AXIS Capital (the parent company of InterGlobal's principal re-insurer) also invested in the company. This development will align the insurer's and re-insurer's interests for profitable and sustainable growth.
The list of important and strategic changes over the past 12 months has left InterGlobal in a great position for 2013. Neil Raymond, CEO of Pacific Prime commented: "InterGlobal was one of the first dedicated international private medical insurance companies in the market and they continue to be in a unique position. They have a lot of distribution capability and some good products. We feel that the increased focus on service and profitable and sustainable business in really important for them. It's clear that the management team at InterGlobal are becoming very specific about how to go about this and this is great news for the future".
InterGlobal's business with Pacific Prime grew in the year 2012 over the previous 12 months which is remarkable in a challenging and increasingly competitive market. The list of powerful new entrants with individual policies such as Cigna and Now Health will require InterGlobal to continue to up its performance but it is well positioned to do so.