Due to the increasing demand for company insurance plans on an offshore basis that cover both expatriate employees along with local nationals, Now Health have developed a solution through their partners Asia Insurance to offer coverage for mixed groups of local nationals. This news is promising for Pacific Prime clients as typically, many insurers are not willing to take the risk of offering such a solution due to various compliance issues.
Compliance is typically the first issue international insurers take into account when considering the coverage of local nationals and refers to the fact that insurers need to ensure that they are legally allowed to cover employees who are resident in their home country. International medical insurance is primarily aimed at the expatriate market, and for this reason the laws regarding coverage can be quite different to those referring to covering local nationals. For local nationals, there are many local requirements and laws for insurance that the international companies may not be adherent to, so many insurers will not want to offer cover in case any legal requirements are not met.
If an insurer wishes to increase their presence in a local market, it will take extra time and legal resources to ensure that their policies are legally appropriate. In the case of Now Health, they have teamed with Asia insurance, underwritten by Swiss Re, to be able to offer their plans to a local market, essentially avoiding their own costs in the manpower needed to ensure compliancy. This is good news for Pacific Prime clients as it means that Now Health can continue focusing their attention on their primary goal; servicing the plans for their members, while allowing a wealth of experience and compliance to be at their disposal through the partnership with Asia insurance.
Another reason that insurers tend to steer away from the local market is because the typical mentality behind the clientele regarding the actual usage of the policy can be extremely different to the expatriate market, resulting in the need for an entirely different matrix to calculate risks and set appropriate premiums levels. Generally speaking, one of the fundamental differences between insuring local nationals and expatriates stems from the difference in understanding what the insurance is actually for.
The expatriate market may be more likely to delay receiving any elective, or not immediately necessary, treatment as they may prefer to have the treatment done when they return to their home country. There are, therefore, fewer tendencies for the insured member to receive treatment until they return home. Some of the reasons contributing to this factor are the actual level of treatment received, and the avoidance of lengthy recovery.
If an insured member is living as an expatriate in a less developed country, such as China or the UAE for example, there will be a lower frequency of high level medical facilities. Because of this, the client may feel that local treatment is not the wisest decision if treatment is not immediately needed, and it would be a wiser choice for them to wait until they are back home in their more developed country with more regularity in the level of medical opinions given, or perhaps even a believed higher level of standards with regards to the ethics involved in treatment, having more trust in their home country's governmental body that regulates what treatment can be given, hence diminishing the chance of receiving inappropriate treatment.
Pacific Prime looks forward to extending this offer to local nationals and Now Health is equally pleased to be given the opportunity to offer coverage to groups that they previously may not have been able to even consider. As globalisation continues to spread within many companies, inevitably they will need to consider the insurance needs of both local nationals and expatriates together.