Top Ten Questions and Tips For Expats Moving Abroad

Moving overseas is a major and exciting life change. If you are are thinking of becoming an expatriate, there are questions to  ask several things to look into before moving abroad:


  1. Check to see how much support your expatriate employer will provide you in your move abroad
  2. Check with your spouse to make sure he or she is OK with this move abroad. Many expat assignments will fail because the spouse can’t stand living abroad.
  3. Talk to people and research the country and the position. There’s lots of information on expat websites.
  4. Travel to the country you will be moving to experience what life will be like there entirely. Don’t base it on a holiday experience.
  5. If you have children, what are the schools and childcare services in that country? Will your employer pay?
  6. Will your employer full pay for your travel expenses, including return trips to your home country during the year?
  7. Check on the tax implications of your move abroad. Talk to an expat tax adviser to see if you should become a non-resident for tax purposes.
  8. Will your spouse be able to work abroad? Can she seek employment in the new country?
  9. What housing will your employer provide? Is it in a good area and close to schools? If you are going on your own, will you sell your house and buy a property abroad or merely rent?
  10. Make sure your employer will provide adequate global medical insurance that will cover you abroad as most expats do not want to rely on local health plans. Also, think about expat life and disability insurance for you and your family. If you are not being put on a group expatriate insurance plan, then you will have to look into international insurance coverage. Expat Financial offers a variety of plans for both multinational employers and individual expatriates, including international health insurance.
Beach travel

Road accidents are a major cause of medical claims and evacuations for expatriates


It has been recently noted by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there were approximately 1.24 million deaths on the world’s roads in 2013. Traveling on the roads of the country you are living in is a critical component of an expat assignment or business trip. It is a good idea to investigate and understand the risks factors and take steps if possible to protect your safety. The WHO report also noted that 28 countries have comprehensive road safety laws. It has been further reported that some of the most dangerous road safety stats are in Malaysia, Cambodia and Colombia. Countries such as Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden have the best traffic safety records according to the OECD.

Many evacuations are caused by road incidents, especially in third and second world countries with very lax transportation rules and poor infrastructure. Such accidents are usually the result of poor driving by the local inhabitants or the expat’s unfamiliarity with the country. A nation’s cultures and laws can be radically different from the expat employee’s home country. It might be a good idea to source a professional driver and not drive at all. Public transit, if it exists, is another great option. Any driver should be properly vetted and references checked. Vehicle maintenance is also important and may be lacking in some third world countries.

It is a good idea to make sure that your international health insurance policy will adequately cover accidents that might occur on the road. A high level of service and support, especially in the event of a road incident, will be critical if medical evacuation is required. So, look both ways before you cross that street abroad and make sure you purchase adequate medical coverage that will cover you both locally and globally.



Are you ready for the Christmas Holidays? What about including expat health insurance?

Many expats are planning or have already booked a trip home in Christmas. When heading back from an expat assignment, we need to get a list of things such as plane tickets, gifts, hotels, etc. However, many may forget one less obvious thing: international health insurance. Be aware of your options for health care insurance coverage while you are celebrating Christmas with your family this winter.

To get the best protection, most expats will select the most common and relevant plans like travel insurance or annual international health insurance. Travel insurance is designed specifically to provide medical coverage while the policyholder is not at their country of citizenship. Annual international insurance is designed to provide ongoing
coverage for medical health care anywhere in the world. Expats may have coverage that only covers them in their expat assignment country, so they may want to get travel medical insurance for short trips abroad. If an expat is traveling home, he or she should make sure that the travel medical insurance plan will cover a trip to one’s country of citizenship. Some plans will include a trip home with a home return rider.

Despite the flexibility travel insurance holds, an annual international health insurance plan will be the better of the two regarding the actual level of coverage and service. This is because travel plans are designed to cover emergencies only incidents outside one’s country of citizenship. Many people may not realize that travel insurance plans will exclude any medical costs related to conditions such as pregnancy, pre-existing medical conditions, and accidents from sports, etc. In fact, travel insurance plans have more exclusions than an ordinary health insurance policy and many people are too late to know. International health insurance plans offer international direct
billing and can reimburse you for expenses much faster. You don’t need to pay for most medical expenses out of pocket. Furthermore, international insurance is a long-term medical plan focusing on recovery regardless of restrictive time limits and location. For example, if you applied for medical travel insurance and had an accident during your trip, you won’t be approved for coverage extension even though you need the treatment. When your travel insurance is coming to an end, you will be underwritten again, and the extended travel policy will not cover the treatment. However, international health insurance will still cover your expenses for the injury if you decided to extend your trip.

Finally, an international health plan will generally cover you globally excluding or including the USA. If you are an American expat, make sure that your expat health plan covers the USA if you plan to take a short visit home. Another option is to purchase short-term travel medical insurance for that trip to the USA, but make sure it covers you in your country of citizenship while living abroad.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email

Why expats should consider international health insurance over a local medical plan

When you are an expatriate living abroad, you are initially faced with the question of local versus international health plan? Which is better for my expatriate assignment, long-term travel or overseas retirement? Some countries can offer local health coverage to expatriates after an initial waiting period. However, the truth is, the local medical plans are not designed for expatriates. An international health insurance plan can provide superior coverage for you and your family that will cover you both locally and globally.

Local health plans are designed to cover a local national, not an expatriate who may want to seek medical treatment back in his or her home country or in another country. Almost all local health plans will not allow an expatriate to find medical care outside the state of domicile. If you are an expatriate living in a less developed country, it is even more important to obtain an international health plan that will allow for global medical treatment because the local medical facilities may not be up to western standards. You may also require a program that will provide medical evacuation coverage in case the local hospitals are not able to adequately treat your medical condition. Evacuation coverage is a crucial feature of any expatriate insurance plan.

Another problem with local health plans is that if an expatriate is posted to another country, the local coverage will not move with him or her. Expatriates are naturally mobile people who require portable coverage. This is especially important for expat employers who often move expat assignees from one country to another. If an expatriate has developed a pre-existing medical condition while being covered by a local health plan, they may find it challenging to become insured by a new medical insurer in the new country. The portability that a global health plan provides is a crucial feature of any group or individual health insurance plan.

Local plans are often not set up to allow for coverage when an expatriate returns home for a vacation or extended leave. Also, if an expatriate suffers a severe medical illness, he or she may want to seek medical treatment back in the home country. Again, only an international health plan will allow for medical treatment back in an expat’s county of citizenship.

Not only will international health insurance plans provide flexible worldwide coverage and freedom of comprehensive, world-class services, but they also come with the peace of mind that expats require. It is also important that you obtain an expat health plan that will allow for medical reimbursement from the local and global medical facilities. This will help you maintain a successful international experience for you and your family.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email


Cigna Insurance

Cigna individual expat health plan is offering cash back promotion for month of October

Amazing news for all you global expats. Cigna International is offering a simple Cash Back offer for the Month of October.  This first-time promotional period runs from October 1, 2015, through October 31st, 2015.  So if you are in the market for an international health insurance plan, this would be a great time to get a quote and apply.

Four Easy Steps

  1. Purchase a Cigna Global Individual Medical Insurance policy within the promotional period 1st Oct 2015 – 31st Oct 2015. (Min. value $1,000)
  2. Wait 90 days after the policy start date.
  3. Complete the online claim form via Cigna’s customer website after you approved via our site (no later than 120 days from the policy start date).
  4. You will receive the cash back directly into your bank account!

Final premium and coverage are subject to medical underwriting by Cigna and policy is subject to their plan terms and conditions and is not available in individual countries. The plan must be approved in October 2015. For more details, please contact us.

The Global Health Options plan from Cigna provides access to a large network of hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners. The expat health plan offers three distinct levels of cover: Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Cigna global medical insurance plan offers very generous benefits with excellent claims and administration. You can rest assured that you are covered by a large global insurance company backed by superior underwriting and service. The plan is not available to local nationals residing in their country of citizenship (except in Singapore or HK) – only for expatriates. More details are available via our Cigna international health insurance page.

international health insurance for chronic conditions

Covering pre-existing medical conditions is critical for expat group insurance plans

The other day our firm was contacted by a teacher who was wanting to work abroad at an international school. She noted that the school that was interested in hiring her would not cover the pre-existing medical condition, which in this case was Diabetes. The diabetes medications are quite expensive, and the individual was at risk of incurring significant medical claims that an individual expat health plan would probably not cover. Some individual expat health plans can cover some pre-existing medical conditions, but they do not want to go into a situation where they know right off that the medical claims will almost certainly well exceed the premium in the first year. The individual expat health plan will probably request additional premium, exclude the condition or merely decline coverage outright.

Most group plans can cover pre-existing medical conditions because they insurer can spread the risk among healthy and not so healthy individuals. Some firms can offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, otherwise known as medical history disregarded (MHD), if you have a minimum of 10 or 20 employees, but some carriers that we work with can offer MHD for a group of only three employees.

Some expat employers will provide individual medical plans or simply ask the employees to source their coverage, but this misses the enormous benefits of having a group plan that can provide coverage with no medical underwriting and cover the employee and their dependent’s chronic conditions. If an employee has high blood pressure, it probably won’t preclude your company from hiring him or her. If the medical plan you put this new employee on doesn’t cover previous medical conditions and the person suffers a stroke or heart attack, it is very likely the substantial claim will be denied. On the other hand, an international group insurance plan sourced by Expat Financial can usually offer full coverage for an employee’s previous medical conditions.

Having a comprehensive plan that covers an employee’s previous medical conditions will help you attract and retain expat talent. It will also protect your employee and your bottom line at claim time. To learn more about the expat group benefit plans we can source, please contact us today.

Potential end of Iran sanctions may open the country to expatriates

It has been announced recently that Iran and the Western powers, especially the United States, have reached a preliminary deal on the nuclear issue with Iran. There have been intense negotiations between the major Western powers and Iran for many months. It is anticipated that if a nuclear deal is finally reached and approved, then sanctions will slowly be lifted. At present Iran has been crippled by many years of economic and political sanctions imposed by the UN and Western nations. It has been near impossible for countries to do business with Iran, which is in dire need of the expertise and investment – especially in their oil and gas infrastructure. If the sanctions are removed, there will almost certainly be an influx of foreign businesses and their expatriate employees into Iran. Some foreign companies are already in Iran.

At present, the global medical insurance companies are very limited in how they can pay for medical expenses incurred in Iran because they all have to abide by the OFAC sanctions rules.  Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces trade and economic sanctions against targeted foreign countries such as Iran or North Korea. Most global insurance companies that insure expatriates have to make sure that they do not contravene these rules. This is especially true for those insurers from the USA or Europe. Some expat insurers can reimburse a medical claim incurred in a sanctioned country such as Iran or Sudan, but only to a bank residing outside of that country. Other insurers interpret the rules differently and will not reimburse a medical claim that occurred in a sanctioned country at all. Sometimes it can also be challenging to cover a person from a sanctioned country such as Iran, but some expat insurers will check to make sure that the person is not on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.



If your organization has expats who have a citizenship from a sanctioned country, it is important to check with the insurance provider to make sure that the person can be covered and if the insurance company can cover their medical or life insurance requirements.


Coverage for medical treatment in the USA is important for many expats

Almost all international health plans will either include medical treatment in the USA or exclude it. Some global medical plans will give individual expatriates the option to purchase coverage in America at an extra cost. For some plans, this can mean a much higher premium while others may include it for American nationals residing abroad at a fraction of the cost. Most American expats living abroad will seek out a global medical plan that provides for the USA because if they suffer a severe medical illness or injury, the expat will most likely want to seek medical treatment back home in the USA. For non-US citizens who are residing in the USA who are not eligible for a local health plan on a group or individual basis, it is critical that one purchase a medical plan that includes treatment in the United States.

If you are an expatriate who is living abroad and often travel to the United States, it is also critical to get the USA coverage option. For non-US expats residing in a country that is close to the USA, it is also advisable that you get the USA coverage option because the local medical system in your host country may not be able to handle a severe medical claim and you may be sent to the USA for medical treatment. This is especially important for expatriates who reside in the Caribbean, Mexico and even Central and South America. Yes, it will add to your monthly premium, but you do not want to be in the USA without medical insurance, mainly if you are evacuated to a hospital in Miami or California for treatment.

medical treatment

While some individual expat health plans will cover emergency medical treatment in the USA, some expats who do not wish the substantial cost of including coverage in the United States will choose to purchase single or multi-trip travel medical coverage for any trips to the USA. It is important to contact for your international health insurance needs with an expat insurance expert and weigh the costs and benefits of having an international health insurance plan that provides full coverage in the United States of America. Expat Financial provides a variety of individual health plans that can provide global coverage – including Cigna, BUPA, IMG and Allianz. The Cigna Global Health Options plan offers very attractive rates for Americans living abroad who require access to treatment in the United States.

David Tompkins to speak at Global HR Conference in Toronto on June 18th

David Tompkins, President of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., which owns and operates Expat Financial, will be speaking at the Global Human Resources conference in Toronto on June 18th, 2015. The theme of the event will be on growing global business and managing mobile talent. The objectives of the conference are to help HR managers who employ expatriates around the world. Business leaders will be attending and will learn how to acquire the best talent of the positions, local and right price in the globalized business environment.

David Tompkins will speak on international group insurance and provide detailed tips on what to look for when setting up and maintaining an expatriate group insurance plan. David has spoken and written extensively on global insurance challenges that are faced by individual expats and their employers. David will also discuss special risk coverage for employees who are posted to high-risk zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan – especially the requirement for terrorism insurance in today’s uncertain world.

The event will also feature fascinating presentations from a global tax expert at Trowbridge, CEO of and the head of HR at Hootsuite. This event is critical for any business which manages global employees outside of Canada or is bringing in talent from overseas. More information can be found online. Tickets are available from Global Business News’s web site or TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd.

The event will take place at the AIG offices at 145 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Canada at 9:00 AM and finish by 2:30 PM.