expatriate employee insurance

Top seven global insurance considerations before sending expat employees overseas

More and more multinational companies are opening offices around the world, including in regions such as Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and South America. While working and living abroad can be a very exiting opportunity for expat employees, expat employers have a fiduciary responsibility to provide adequately protect their expat employees and achieve a successful expat assignment – this includes purchasing global medical coverage. In this article, we will discuss the top seven global insurance considerations you should consider before sending employees on overseas assignments.

Coverage – Local or International Coverage

In many countries with limited or no local health insurance coverage or health infrastructure, an expat employer should put their expat employees on an international expat group insurance plan. A local plan is designed for local coverage and does not provide the portability that most expat employees require. A proper international health benefit plan will provide medical coverage each time an expat employee is moved from one country to another without having to change plans, apply for new coverage or satisfy a new waiting period. Furthermore, in some nations where local health benefits coverage may be available, most expatriate employees will want to use a major stable currency instead of local currency when dealing with insurance claims. Therefore, obtaining an global international expat group insurance plan is very important prior to relocating to a new country or destination. Local plans are great for locals, not usually good for expats. 

Special Risk Insurance 

Many companies are exploring new markets and resources in areas with unstable local governments or conflicts, which are often considered to be high risk countriesThe potential damages and costs caused by acts of war, terrorism and kidnapping are quite tramatic and can be very high for employers. 

If your company or organization is operating in high risk zones, it is critical to source full coverage for war and terrorism risks, kidnap and ransom insurance for expatriate employees.

Medical Emergency Evacuation

Medical emergency evacuation insurance plan is also critical for any expat employees working abroad, especially if residing in a region with limited medical facilities or health clinics that are not up to western standards. However, even residing in a highly developed country, medical evacuation may also be required – for example, if they are residing in a remote region of the country or require an air ambulance.

When your employees are posted overseas and experience a medical emergency that can’t be addressed in the host country, it is critical that your organization have a comprehensive evacuation insurance planMost expatriate group health insurance plans will provide emergency evacuation and repatriation as an option or include it as a standard benefit. Note that a medical evacuation must be approved and coordinated by the health insurance company. Most group plans will include evacuation as an optional benefit. 

Will the Health Insurance Plan Cover Pre-existing Medical Conditions?

A pre-existing medical condition relates to a medical condition that existed prior to an insurance company taking on the risk of an insured, sometimes known or even unknown by the employee. If an expat develops an illness later on it may be recognized as a pre-existing condition when trying to obtain health coverage. For example, you may have an employee who has high blood pressure, diabetes or a skin disorder. 

Most expat employers may not aware of the cost of the treatment of chronic diseases for expatriate employees overseas can be very high. It usually requires medical treatment to cover ongoing health needs. Individual expat health and life insurance plans have to be medically underwritten and employees who are under separate individual plans may have restricted coverage, exclusions or even be declined when applying pre-existing medical coverage. Whereas a group international benefit plan can usually offer full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions because the risk is shared among healthy and unhealthy employees and their dependents. We will often recommend to our group clients that they purchase a plan that fully covers pre-existing medical conditions.

Health Insurance Plan Administration

A tailored international group insurance plan provides simple administration platform for your HR department. It can provide for the instant communication online between employees, insurance company and HR administrators. This is especially convenient for highly mobile expat employees. It is very important for your expat employees to move from one country to another without worrying to switch from one local health insurance plan to another. It is important that HR managers consider a plan that has excellent plan administration when choosing a global medical plan.

Seeking Advice from an Experienced Broker

It never makes sense to obtain global medical coverage for your employees on your own – your HR manager will not have the necessary experience, training, knowledge or global insurance contacts that are required for your expanding expat population. Expat Financial, a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., can source international group insurance plans from a variety of large and respected insurance companies for multinational companies, Non-government Organizations, non-profits, governments and international schools. We work on your behalf to source the best possible quotes and assist you once a plan is put in place – both at renewal and throughout the life of the policy.

In addition to medical and evac, we can source coverage for disability, AD&D, Life Insurance, EAP and dental. Our company is very used to working with companies and aid groups which operate in high risk countries such as Democratic Republic of CongoIraqAfghanistanNigeriaSouth SudanEritreaSomalia and Yemen. The plans that we can source can provide full coverage for war and terrorism risks

Individual Plans for your Expat Employees

For companies with less than 3 expatriate employees or individual expatriates, we can also source individual International Health Insurance Protection as well as individual expat life and disability plans. Note that individual plans have to be medically underwritten, so final coverage, rates and coverage will be subject to medical underwriters at the insurance company. To find out more, contact Expat Financial to discuss your organization’s requirements and obtain quotes from the market. Read more about our group expat insurance plans on our corporate page.

5 Tips for first time expatriates living abroad

For many first-time expatriates relocating abroad or doing an expat assignment, the first few months of living abroad could be either exciting or overwhelming. To help expatriates adjust to living in another culture, in this article, we will discuss 5 tips for your first months abroad so that you will overcome the negative feeling of culture shock and make your first move successful.

  • Go Out and Meet the Local People 

The most common feeling that expats will face in their first month is isolation. It is strongly encouraged that expats go out and engage locals and other expatriates alike. This kind of interaction will immerse yourself in local living, the earlier you start, the quicker you will eliminate the uncomfortable feeling about an unfamiliar country.

  • Eat Local Food

When you are in a new country, it is vital to maintain healthy eating habits, especially during your first few months. Try to eat local food that you’ve never had before will provide you with active thinking patterns, and building a new healthy patterns will give you the feeling of exploration. It is recommended that you try to give your body a few days to adjust to the new place, then you’re good to explore. From Cairo to Bangkok, there are lots of great food choices for expatriates.

  • Keep Your Own Pace When You Move Abroad

Lack of language skills, making mistakes when taking local public transit and getting lost are all common experiences for first time expats in your new country, so try not to feel embarrassed at the beginning. Things will gradually gets better , so we encourage expatriates to embrace all the imperfections during their first few months. It is a way to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and learn.

  • Try Something New

It is also suggested for expatriates to do something new in their destination country such as mountain hiking, dancing, dragon boating, etc. You will not only develop a new hobby, but you might meet amazing new friends. For expats will busy working schedules and don’t have time to attend these exercise classes, it is also encouraged to join gym during weekends.

  • Don’t Rush

Give yourself some time to settle in and don’t blame yourself on feeling lonely and missing home. It takes time to integrate in your new country. Accept your colleagues and neighbors’ invitation will help you ease the transition process. Many expat employers will have programs in place to help you and your expat spouse an children ease into your new life abroad.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

Moving abroad for the first time is both exciting and sometime unnerving. Don’t let unexpected medical costs abroad worry you of your family when you make the big jump. It is important to choose a quality insurer when you live abroad for your global medical needs. Expat Financial offers many different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world from large and respected insurers. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. Our firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with 2 or more expats.  If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your unique needs and produce a customized expat quote, please contact us or complete the quote form