Posted on Mar 16, 2015 by Alex Nellist
Pacific Prime Middle East are pleased to announce that Colin Ward has joined the PP team in Dubai to manage the Corporate Sales and Retention teams. Colin has many years’ experience in the Dubai market and has a successful track record of business development in the region.
Colin started his career in health insurance in 1995, working for Bupa in the UK filling roles in both finance, sales, business development and sales management position. He left Bupa in 2006 to take up a post in Dubai with Lifecare International, an agent of Bupa Global (then Bupa International) to help grow the business in the UAE. In 2008 he moved over to William Russell, partnered with Dubai Insurance in the UAE region. His role at William Russell was to help establish a presence in the UAE health insurance market, Ward identified, designed and implemented the sales distribution strategy for both direct and broker held customers and later built local customer service and claims teams in order to offer local points of contact for customers.
In late 2014, Colin joined the company to lead the corporate sales and retention teams. Ward says, "Pacfic Prime Middle East, part of Medstar Insurance Brokers, has a strong and respected reputation in Dubai and we also have a well-trained, highly professional team. So we are well positioned to achieve significant growth over the coming months and years. The plans we market on behalf of insurers are for discerning clients who demand quality, both in terms of product and service, with minimal restrictions, and world-wide cover where required.” He continued, “The UAE is a very strong expatriate market, and as an independent health insurance broker we are very excited to be providing clients with the right products, based on a full assessment of their needs and personal circumstances.”
With his experience, Ward has shown a real talent in helping customers to find the proper balance of cover and premium within a range of different insurance providers, helping them manage their loss ratio through proper plan design which he believes is fundamental in controlling over-utilization and thus keeping premiums sustainable in the long run.
When Ward was asked, “What should an employer consider when selecting a medical plan for their employees?”, he responded with:
In countries such as the UAE, where employers are responsible for providing health benefits for their expat and foreign employees, we see that organizations seek sound ideas on how to provide benefits that identify and reduce the health risks of their employee population and because businesses come in all different shapes and sizes, we adapt our approach to suit the requirements of each specific customer profile.
When an employer chooses a group health insurance plan there are many factors to consider. The obvious thought process with most customers is the benefits they obtain in return for their premium but there is much more than just benefits and price to consider. Here are four aspects you should also consider.
How do you want to buy?
One of the first and most important considerations is deciding how to buy the plan. Would you prefer to buy direct from an insurer or buy via an independent health insurance broker?
The issue that customers do not understand is that most insurers sell direct to clients on a “non-advised” basis. This means that the insurer does not give you any “advice” during the sales process. In other words, you really have no way of knowing whether that plan is truly suitable for your individual circumstances.
Working with an independent health insurance broker is a far better choice because there is a thorough needs assessment carried out which is designed to establish your needs. A market assessment is then undertaken and a range of product choices are then presented in great detail, enabling you to make an informed choice about what plan is best for you taking into account the entire market rather than just one product.
Perhaps the icing on the cake is that when working with Medstar Insurance Brokers, you do not pay us for our advice or services so the only cost is the insurance premium itself. Ultimately working with us is an opportunity for you, and all customers to have a professional organisation look after their business and manage their account free of charge. It cannot be underestimated how important it is to seek professional advice when reviewing corporate health insurance options.
Benefit Structure and Design
When you consider what benefits you want for your employees, there is a balance to be achieved between the benefits you want to offer versus the price you can afford to pay. The corporate health insurance market in the UAE is complex in that so many options exist. Variables such as optional covers, direct billing networks, deductibles, co-insurance, maternity packages, dental care, preventives and optical can all be customised to developed a tailored package specific to your needs. This is why the fact finding process is so vital within the overall purchasing process; understanding where you can compromise is what ensures that you obtain the very best plan design in return for your premium spend.
Medical Inflation is one of the key considerations to take into account when looking at health insurance, yet we are rarely asked by customers “what happens in the future” the danger here is choosing the lowest premium with the idea that it will remain the lowest.
In the UAE, the private healthcare sector has never been under any kind of regulatory obligation. This has meant the tariffs that medical providers charge could increase year-on-year by any amount that the medical facility deems appropriate. The increased cost of trading, general inflation, medical professional salaries and increases in drug prices are all drivers of medical inflation in the UAE, and whilst not publicly stated by any official body in the UAE it is understood by those in the industry that Medical Inflation in the UAE runs at a rate of 10% per year and growing. All of this has to be factored into the cost of health insurance.
What is very encouraging is that as part of the overall regulatory initiative being implemented by the Dubai Health Authority further regulations will cap the price increase for healthcare services offered by the private sector at 4.22%. Applicable to all clinics, hospitals, and polyclinics. This will impact services provided to all Dubai Health Insurance Policies. The model essentially aims to regulate price increases of health services in the private sector in order to keep health insurance premiums at a reasonable level, and thus facilitate a sustainable health insurance system.
After Sales Care & Account Management
A question you should ask yourself is “What happens after the plan is set up?”
After your health insurance policy is implemented who is going to take care of ongoing administration such as invoicing, enrolment of new employees, deletion of employees that leave, replacement membership cards, the renewal process and problem resolution? This is a point that is often forgotten by customers and yet it is just as important as getting the right benefit structure.
At Pacific Prime we work with clients at every stage, offering an engaging customer experience. We understand our clients choose us because of our industry experience so we support them throughout the entire lifetime of their plan. Working with clients as an extension of their HR team, we always provide clear documentation on the cover we provide and deal with enquiries and administration promptly and efficiently. We also provide a Q&A service for HR teams to help them answer their employee queries and in some cases present the health insurance plan to employees as part of the clients overall employee benefits communication strategy.
If you would like to learn more about health insurance in Dubai, or secure a health insurance plan for you or your company, contact Colin and his team today.