Insurance options for companies with only one expat employee

Our firm has worked with many companies and organizations with hundreds and even thousands of employees that have only one or two expatriate employees posted abroad. These firms are not able to adequately cover their expat employee and his or her dependents under their domestic plan and should definitely not try for a variety of reasons. The human resource manager is often faced with a dilemma of where to find adequate insurance for the lone expat employee and may have a limited experience or understanding of expat insurance, not to mention no expat insurance contacts. So what is a company or non-profit with only one or two expat employees to do? Let’s learn more.

What to do when you have only one or two expat employees?

Attracting and retaining expat talent for your firm’s global operations is not easy. Finding the right person to help grow your sales or run operations abroad is both challenging and rewarding. If you want to attract the best person for your expat position, it is vital that you offer him or her the best global insurance coverage possible. It may not be easy to match your existing domestic benefit plan coverage for an expat position, but it is possible to gather coverage that will meet your duty of care obligations and properly cover that employee and any dependents who will also live abroad. There are many insurance coverage requirements if you are hiring an expat employee, but we will deal with the three most important ones: Life, Disability & Global Medical Insurance. Note that all individual policies are medically underwritten, unlike most international group insurance plans, so keep this in mind if you are sending an individual expat abroad. Also, there are significant pitfalls in covering your expat employees on domestic plans in the new country location that we have described in a separate article.

Global Life Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

Your company’s existing domestic benefit plan will most likely offer a multiple of annual income in the local currency, but most expatriates will be paid in USD or Euro and will expect to be covered for 1 or 2 times annual income if he/she should die from an accident or illness. There are not a lot of global life insurance options for individual expats, but our firm does have access to some excellent life insurance plans that can cover most expats around the world. The premiums will, of course, depend on the age, occupation, and location of the employee. An employee being posted to a high-risk country such as Afghanistan will most likely have to obtain Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage, which may also be an adjunct to the life insurance for some expats in more “safe” countries. The typical plans will exclude war and terrorism, but it may be possible to quote AD&D cover including war risk depending on the location of the policy and employer. Final premiums will depend on the health, age, location, occupation of the employee. Unlike a group plan that we can offer, it is possible that the employee won’t qualify for coverage.

Finally, that “consultant” that you are hiring or who is only working for you – it may be tempting to have him or her secure insurance coverage on his own, but many companies who employ consultants abroad are taking a risk. That consultant may be viewed as an employee should he or she only work for your firm and should he or she become sick, injured or die while being posted abroad, your company may be held responsible regardless.

Expat Disability Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

One of the most important parts of your expat employee responsibilities is securing adequate disability coverage should he or she become sick or have an accident that will make it impossible for him or her to work. However, global disability coverage is often not secured by expat employers and domestic workers compensation plans will generally not extend beyond the national borders. Unfortunately, the risk of a disability is extremely high for most persons under age 65 and this represents a huge liability and risk for both the employer and employee. Part of your duty of care is to help the employee secure global disability coverage. Expat Financial offers an excellent individual expat disability insurance plan from William Russell that can provide income protection after 3 or 6 months waiting period. The longer the waiting period, the lower the premium. We can secure individual short-term disability, but this can easily be self-insured by most employers. A long term disability can not.

Individual International Health Insurance Options for Expat Employers

Many expat employers will have their domestic employees covered by private or public health insurance schemes or a combination of the two. However, most human resource professionals and their advisors will have limited or no experience in the unique challenges associated with covering expat employees posted abroad with or without their family members. Some will keep the employee on the domestic health plan which almost certainly will not adequately cover the employee abroad in an effort to save costs or simply a lack of understanding of the domestic policy and requirements for healthcare while living abroad.

That is why it is vital for HR professionals to provide a comprehensive international health insurance coverage that will meet your duty of care and other employment responsibilities. We have seen too many expat employers ask the employee to obtain his or her health coverage on his or her own, but you as the employer will be responsible should that coverage not be adequate. This can lead to a failed expat assignment, large unfunded medical claim or your prospective expat employee seeks a job with another employer. If the expat employer has more than 2 or 3 employees, Expat Financial can probably source a group plan, but under 3 most expat employers will want to secure an individual plan for that expat employee.

Most global medical insurance plans will cover hospital, out-patient care, wellness and evacuation & repatriation. Some expat employers will also want to secure dental and vision coverage. if the employee has a spouse who may become pregnant, it is vital that you include full maternity coverage – however individual plans will have a 9 or 12 month waiting period. While it may be tempting to obtain the least expensive plan, you do get what you pay for and we recommend that expat employers secure the best possible coverage with or without a deductible to help lower the premiums. As noted above, the employee or his/her dependent’s health may impact the approval or coverage that is secured. Rates will depend on the ages, citizenships, health status, plan options, deductibles and country location of the expat employee and any dependents. Most American expats will want a plan that fully covers treatment in the USA, but this will mean a higher premium. If you have an expat employee posted in the USA or in a nearby region, you will want to make sure it covers treatment in the United States. We have an excellent global health plan from Cigna where you or your employee can get a quote and even apply or expat health insurance.

Obtaining Individual Expat Insurance for that Lone Expat Employee

While you may want to turn to your domestic consulting firm or broker for the above coverage, it is very likely his or her firm will have very limited experience in global life, disability, and health insurance – this is even the case with the large insurance consulting houses. Like most things in life, it pays to talk to an expat specialist firm and that is where Expat Financial and its parent TFG Global can be of assistance in understanding your organization’s international insurance requirements. Also, we do not charge a consulting fee as we are compensated by the insurer with the same rates regardless. We also have long established insurance provider relationships and excellent service and support. We may be able to assist on other insurance matters related to your expat employees, such as kidnap & ransom and even business travel insurance for domestic employees who travel abroad. To learn more, contact us today if you are sending one, two or a hundred expat employees abroad to expand your global fortunes. We look forward to being part of your international relocation efforts.

5 Tips for expats to live like a local when moving abroad

In this article, you will learn about how expatriates can adjust to their new county by learning about the local culture, make friends and adapt to their new surroundings. We have put together five tips for expatriates who want to learn how to live abroad like the locals.

  • Learn the Language

Expatriates will find that learning the local language is crucial when trying to immerse themselves in another country and culture. Once you start to speak the local language, the locals will start to open up to you. It is not just a way of communication, it shows your respect to the local culture. Don’t struggle to become fluent. Try to start with some basic greeting expressions – as long as you try, that’s all that counts. You can get assistance with learning a language from a variety of online resources, such as Babel. Others will take language classes before and after moving abroad. However, there is no substitute for diving right in when you move to your new location. The less you use your native language, the faster it will be before you are conversing with the locals over a cup of espresso. Finally, it is important to learn the local customs of your destination country to avoid embarrassment and better integrate into the culture.

  • Making Connections

Many expatriates may tend to make friends with other expats of similar background, especially if they are going to local expat pubs and gatherings. However, it is a good idea to try to make some local friends as well. It may be difficult at first, but having a few trusted local friends will enrich your expat experience and will help you adapt the cultural differences. Don’t expect to feel immediately accepted and comfortable in your new environment, but try to be open and friendly.

  • Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture

There could be many elements to make you feel that you are a foreigner, no matter in your daily life or at work. In order to get involved in the local culture, expatriates are encouraged to go out and attend local events such as colleagues’ party, high tea with your new neighbor, etc. These important social interactions will make you want to explore the new culture and keep the curiosity about the destination country.

  • Integrate Into Local Community

Some expat experts recommend that you try to live like the locals and integrate into local communities. As an expatriate, you have a lot to contribute such as volunteering and sharing your skills and experience at local educational institutions. It is also encouraged for expats to keep their hobbies while living abroad. If you are fond of painting, then join a local artist club; If you love sports, you can join a sports team. Once you obtain local connections and a group of friends, you will start to enjoy the expat life.

  • Eat Like the Locals 

Enjoying food with new friends is one of the best ways to break the ice. That’s why we recommend that you try the authentic local cuisine at restaurants. If possible, avoid the familiar chain restaurants that you visit in your home country. When shopping at local grocery stores, try to imitate the shopping list locals make and buy locally produced food.

How to Handle Health Care When Living Abroad

To stay healthy and fit while living and working abroad, there are many health risks that you want to avoid. To better plan and prepare a safe and rewarding journey before departure, one of the most important considerations is international health insuranceExpat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats.

Six tips for planning an international relocation

Moving abroad requires a great deal of planning, especially for those who are planning for a long-term assignment, travel or retiring abroad. If you are planning an international move, you will find the pocess can longer than you think it will. To better assist you during the transition, we will discuss 6 quick tips on how to plan an international relocation for future expatriates.

  • Making Decision and Check All Important Documentations

It is critical that future expatriates should make a decision as early as possible. Once you have firmly decided to relocate overseas, you are able to move forward and make plans. Getting started a year or 10 months in advance will provide you with enough time to plan and react.

Another important reason for making an early decision is due to the processing time of work permit or visas required in your destination country. In some countries, it can take up to a year to process and approve a visa. Therefore, it is suggested that future expatriates apply and submit the required documentation as soon as possible. Make sure that your official documents, such as passport, birth certificate, ID card, driver’s license, etc… are all valid. Please check to see if your family member’s documents are in order as well if they are moving with you. In general, entry into any countries for tourism or business trip requires that your passport be valid for at least three months. If you are planning a long-term relocation abroad, it is better to have your passport with at least 6 months’ validity remaining.

Obtain other required documentation such as your children’s school report card, which is vital if enrolling in a new school in your destination country; and all legal documents that you plan to take with you: birth certificate, marriage certificate, medical records, bank drafts, medical insurance documents, etc.

  • Arrange for Necessary Vaccinations 

As international travelers, they may face many potential health risks and diseases. According to a new study published recently on Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the international travelers in the USA did not get vaccinated between 2009 and 2014. This may result in severe infection in countries where many diseases are prevalent. It is critical to arrange for necessary vaccinations before departure. For example, if you are moving to Hong Kong, suggested vaccines to consider are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Measles and Yellow Fever.

It is important to note that each country may have different vaccination entry requirements. It is recommended that future expatriates contact their doctors to verify additional vaccinations requirements of the destination country or region.

  • Job Search 

Another consideration is obtaining a job overseas. Most expats will want to start researching employment opportunities in your destination country long before leaving. It is important to know whether you need any additional certifications or training, such as TOEFL/IELTS certification of English proficiency, research abstract (for early-stage researchers), teaching portfolio, a complete list of publications, second language skills, etc. We encourage future expatriates to apply for a job as soon as possible due to the processing time of work permit application.

For younger people who haven’t found a job but decided to move abroad, many countries offer special programme to provide them with work opportunities. For example, in Canada, The International Experience Canada provides young people aged 18 – 35 from all over the world to work and travel in Canada. Future expatriates should try to do research and participate in this kind of programs and gain valuable working experience. Please keep in mind that in some countries there might be age restrictions. Please check carefully before you apply.

  • Financial Assessment

Before moving overseas, it is suggested that expats have a full financial accounting and take into account the cost of living in your destination country, including apartment rental rates, property purchase cost, school tuition fees, meals and more. Try not to forget any moving expenses such as boxes and packing materials fees, transportation of furniture. If you are lucky, your employer may provide some assistance and subsidies for your expat assignment. All future expats should also look into your expat tax obligations in both your home country and your destination country. Check out our links page for some great expat tax accountants. Contact your bank and get a global account for internet banking. If you have mortgage or loan payments in your home country, please also set up a direct payment account with your bank while you are away.

  • Language Training 

Communication is crucial for expatriates who want to live and work overseas. If expats are relocating to a destination country with language barriers, the interaction could be very difficult for their integration and even career. This is especially true if expats are in dangerous situations or medical emergencies. Therefore, it is recommended that future expats receive basic local language training before departure. It will also accelerate the adjustment of foreign expatriates.

expat healthcare if critical

  • Obtain International Health Insurance 

International health insurance coverage is obviously a necessity and should be future expats’ top consideration. Make sure you and your family are covered by a comprehensive medical plan in your destination country. Expat Financial offers a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for any expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. With expat health insurance plans, you and your family’s health are protected through an appropriate level of expat insurance. It is quite easy for expats to obtain a quote for one of our comprehensive international health plans. For more information and to review the plans that we offer, contact our office or visit our international health insurance page. You can still purchase global medical coverage if you have already moved abroad.

TFG Global & Expat Financial Exhibiting at PDAC 2018 in Toronto

As an extremely experienced global insurance brokerage with extensive clients around the world operating in the mining resource space, TFG Global and it’s Expat Financial division will be attending and exhibiting at the PDAC 2018 convention in Toronto from February 4th till the 7th, 2018. As a proud member of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), we are excited to participate in the event where we hope to meet other suppliers and executives from the mining industry who will be attending from around the globe.

The event will take place at the  Metro Toronto Convention Centre with 1000 exhibitors and over 24,000 attendees from over 130 countries. Our firm has worked with mining companies with operations around the globe for many years, including those operating in high risk countries. We encourage mining executives, especially those in CFO, Operations and Human Resources positions, to visit our booth number 6428N in the Trade Show North pavilion.

We hope to meeting small and large mining companies which require global mining insurance solutions for their expatriate staff posted at remote mining sites around the world. We offer international group insurance plans that include:

If your company is operating in the global mining space, we would be pleased to examine your current requirements and policies while obtaining quotes from the market that will fully meet our company’s duty of care to your employees posted overseas. Mining employees posted overseas are a very valuable and sought after resource, so it makes sense to work with an expat insurance specialist firm that can help source the best coverage that will both retain and attract mining talent.

We will also attend the Canada Africa Chamber of Commerce mining breakfast on March 6th, 2018. Our firm has extensive experience in covering mining employees in Africa. In fact, in 2015 we saved a mining company in Africa over $400K per year in expat life insurance premium after they agreed to let us quote on their global benefit plan after three years trying to get a meeting. If your firm is in need of a global mining insurance coverage, please visit our booth at the PDAC or contact us today.

Urgent medical claim problem resolved by Expat Financial

This urgent medical claim from last night is why you should use our firm for your group expat insurance needs:

We received an email from the HR Manager for a group client of ours in the Middle East at 8PM last night our time – An employee’s spouse in Europe was urgent need of an operation. We were informed by the Global Mobility Manager that the surgery was a life and death situation, but the hospital outside of the large and well known global insurance company’s network – which is the largest in the world. The hospital was unwilling to accept a written guarantee of payment from the insurance company and their evacuation provider, ISOS – which is unheard of. The hospital wanted claim paid in advance, which is generally not possible. One option was to have employer or the employee pay the claim to hospital & get reimbursed. This is  often the fastest solutions for these situation as the insurer can then simply reimburse the claim and if the insured’s family member does not have enough money or credit limit on hand, most employers will.

But we immediately called the expat group insurance company and got a work around by having International SOS wire payment with insurer’s permission. It simply took a little broker advocacy. Payment was then wired by ISOS. The claim issue resolved. The employee was very much relieved and thanked all involved this morning. He mentioned in an email to us: “Really many many thanks for this!”

We asked the HR manager for permission to post this blog with no reference to the insurer, client or employee/dependent name etc… and he mentioned – “This is fine and true and I would like to thank you once again for your help.”

This is what we do as our client advocate, even after working hours and during weekend – it is what sets our firm apart. Expat Financial is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. and is a global insurance brokerage firm.

To learn more about what we can do for your expats employees, contact us or visit our corporate page.

Expat Employers – Obtain a free country risk profile report

TFG Global and it’s division Expat Financial is now offering a complimentary country risk report to global HR managers who allow our firm to examine their global benefit plan and obtain quotes from the market. Such international group insurance plans can include vital health, evacuation an/or life insurance for their expatriate employee population.

If you are sending your employees abroad, it is vital that your organization live up to it’s duty of care as failure to do so will expose management, employees and the company to legal and financial liabilities. As we all know, it is a very chaotic and dangerous world out there and civil unrest, crime, war and terrorism can strike wherever your expatriates are posted, especially in high risk countries. Our firm has extensive experience in covering expatriates in high risk regions. We have had to work with clients who have unfortunately been impacted by terrorist attacks, kidnappings and civil unrest – our level headed and quick action was invaluable for our clients and their employees.

We are very pleased to extend this offer to companies willing to work with an specialist firm such as ours. This extremely detailed and valuable country risk profiles will provide a important insights for your company and expats. It will also allow management to plan for more eventualities and minimize risks. For our kidnap and risk insurance clients, they will be given complimentary online access to this information that is constantly updated and extremely detailed.

The country risk report and travel guide reports will provide the following information that will enable you to make more informed decisions when sending employees overseas on long and short term assignments:

  • Destination country’s risk score – from stable to terminal threat
  • Areas of concern
  • Travel safety and pre-trip recommendations
  • Risk projections
  • Analysis of security – including crime & terrorism risks
  • Security recommendations
  • Political risk profile
  • Details on specific regions of the country where precautions are recommended
  • Medical profile
  • Kidnap & ransom profile number on a scale from 1 to 4
  • Details on recent incidents.

We have the ability to obtain a risk overview & travel safety report for up to 180 countries and 400+ cities. To obtain a report and talk to us about the insurance for your expat population, please contact us today. If our company is assigned as your broker of record for your existing or new global benefit plan, the above reports will be available for any country that you are sending employees to upon request.

 

Legal Notice Regarding this Offer: The above offer can be withdrawn at any time without notice. We can only release one country report to companies or organizations who have 2 or more expatriates employees which allow us to obtain quotes from the market for their global expat insurance program after releasing the current plan contract, premiums, reports and expat employee census information that is vital for us to obtain accurate quotes and provide our report and recommendations. The above offer is not available to expat employers based in the USA and other select countries. We reserve the right to not quote or offer this report to your company. The reports are not available to individuals.

6 Reasons to become an expatriate in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan metropolis located in Asia. As a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, it has a thriving economy with easy access to all major cities in East and Southeast Asia, including Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul.  As a critical and influential business center in Southeast Asia, fully 115 countries have consulates in Hong Kong, surpassing any other city in the world. The official languages in Hong Kong are Chinese and English. Hong Kong has attracted international visitors and talents from across the world. In this article, we will discuss 5 reasons to become an expatriate in Hong Kong.

Convenience 

If you ask expatriates who are already living in Hong Kong about what their impression of the city, they would tell you that Hong Kong is a vibrant city with the highest efficiency and convenience. According to CNN Travel, Hong Kong has the highest density of convenience stores such as 7-Elevens in the world. Most of them operate 24/7. Some restaurants offer late-night meal till 3 am in the morning. Hong Kong also has a very well established public transportation system. In addition to speed train and bus, Hong Kong has more than 18,000 taxies serving the public. Anytime you want to get around Hong Kong, choose a taxi or train or a combination of all, you’ll have an efficient and convenient trip.

It is important for expatriates to note that taxi fare information will be listed on the inside of the taxi. If encounter any problems, please take down the taxi driver’s name and licence plate number for future references.

Healthcare 

The medical facilities in Hong Kong are considered as high standards of medical practice. There are 11 private hospitals and 42 public hospitals in Hong Kong. Both public and private hospitals are equipped with the most advanced medical technology. Most of the medical staff and doctors can speak English. The public medical system delivers a comprehensive range of medical services including emergency medical treatment. Private hospitals in Hong Kong have partnered with the United Kingdom under international healthcare accreditation. Most expatriates in Hong Kong would want to use the private medical system due to the long waiting period in public system.

The medical cost in the region is very high. Expatriates living and working in Hong Kong would want to obtain international health insurance before departure. Many expats in Hong Kong will add optional dental care for their family. For more information regarding Hong Kong international health insurance options, please click here. The Allianz plan can offer excellent health coverage in Hong Kong.

Education 

Universities in Hong Kong are recognized as top schools of education in Asia, according to many global surveys. The education sector in Hong Kong is based on the British model, even primary school is highly competitive. There are also many private international schools span from grade one to grade twelve. Most international schools use English-based curriculum and IB (International Baccalaureate) program. Expatriates who want to enroll their children in private schools should start the application process as early as possible to secure the limited number of spaces available.

Expat Community

As an international business centre in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong is known as a city with a large expat population. According to research, the majority of expatriates who are living in Hong kong mainly come from the United States, Britain, and Australia. In addition, foreign residents include Malaysian, Portuguese, Japanese, Canadian, Indonesian, etc. living and working in the city are also quite common.

Safety 

While Hong Kong is a large city and with any metropolis of this size, crime will be more common, but in our opinion, we would consider it a very safe city. As a traveler there, I have never felt unsafe. The city has an excellent police force and is a great place to live for an expat family. You should be careful to avoid doing a foreign exchange on the street and also be aware that some goods offered to you may be fake. You should keep your ID on you at all times just in case you are asked for it by local authorities.

A Great City of Business

Without a doubt, Hong Kong is a great city to become an expatriate. This bustling city is home to hundreds of corporate and branch offices of large global companies that are operating in Asia and around the world. An expat career in Hong Kong should be a highlight of any resume and should also allow you to move forward in your company. It is one of the most business-friendly cities in the world and government red tape is at a minimum. If you are an expat searching or a great place to work or a business wanting to explore opportunities in Asia, Hong Kong should probably be your first stop.

7 Reasons to become an expat in Vietnam

Vietnam is the eighth most populous Asian country. It is located in Southeast Asia, bordering China, Cambodia, and Laos. Tourism in Vietnam is a major component of its vibrant economy. According to reports, the number of international visitors has increased from 7 million to 10 million in 2016. And tourist arrivals in Vietnam have continued to rise in 2017. For expats, Vietnam has become a popular expat destination in Asia. In this article, we will discuss top 7 reasons to become an expat in Vietnam.

Attractive Natural and Cultural Experiences

Vietnam has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, Complex of Hue Monuments, as well as natural sites such as Ha Long Bay. There are many wonderful culture and history heritage sites to enrich your expat experience in Vietnam. You can start a day by visiting the ancient civilizations in Hoi An, enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the region, and explore the night market and try local delicacies.

Lower Cost of Living 

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Vietnam is about 43% lower than in Canada. For US expats, the country is a great place to return as a three course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant would cost $17.61 USD. A bottle of imported beer costs $1.32 USD. Groceries are generally much less expensive than those in North America. Though prices range among different cities, the average rent fee in Vietnam is almost 50% cheaper than in North America, according to Numbeo. For expatriates coming from a Western country, they will be pleased to discover that the cost of living in Vietnam is a great value.

Friendly Expat Community in Vietnam 

There are many expatriates working and living in Vietnam. You can either reside in a typical expat neighbourhood or choose to fully immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture. For expatriates relocating with family and children, there are great areas that will cater to your requirements along with some excellent foreign schools. It would be a great idea to connect and become friends with the expats community and join a sport team.

Teaching English in Vietnam 

Education is very important in Vietnamese culture and expats can find many ESL teaching opportunities in Vietnam. The government of Vietnam implemented a National Foreign languages Project, aiming for most of Vietnam’s students to be using English confidently for work and study by 2020. There are numerous international schools, state owned universities, private owned education institutions, language centres. Many of these schools are looking for hiring the qualified ESL teachers who come from overseas.

Friendly People 

Like many other countries in Asia, everywhere you go, local residents in Vietnam are friendly to foreign visitors. The overall culture and tradition in Vietnam is easy-going and hospitable. Most expats will find that the traditional culture and hospitality are quite welcoming.

Vietnam Cuisine 

The Vietnamese diet is quite attractive to expats living there and is also quite varied. Often, food there will include influences from the Chinese and Indian, and the French cuisine. Common Vietnamese dishes include fish sauce, lemongrass, fresh herbs (basil leaves), shrimp paste and mint. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is mostly using fresh ingredients, such as the use of fresh lime instead of vinegar. One of the most classic Vietnamese dish is the well-known pho. It is a rice noodle soup with either beef or chicken, served with Vietnamese lime, bean sprouts, mint and fresh chilies. Expats living and working in Vietnam will have the chance to try different traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

Convenient Travel from Vietnam

Another benefit of relocating to Vietnam is that, you can have easy and inexpensive access to other Asian countries. Starting in Ho Chi Min, you can plan your travel itinerary as VietnamLaosCambodiaThailandChina. Generally speaking, Vietnam serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia and other Asian countries such as Japan. There are also excellent beaches and tourist opportunities for expats in Vietnam.

Don’t Forget to Bring your International Health Insurance 

The government of Vietnam is working to develop a universal healthcare system for its citizens. Although the standard of medical care is considered good in major cities, in rural areas it is still insufficient and not readily available. The standard of care in private hospitals in Vietnam is usually quite good. Most private clinics have doctors from the US, Japan and Europe. The cost of private medical care can vary considerably.

At present, most expats will usually opt to use private hospitals as these are usually equipped with English-speaking medical staff. Expats should ensure that they obtain international health insurance before moving to Vietnam. Many expats may want to seek medical treatment in Bangkok or Singapore for specialist and medical emergencies.

For expat health insurance in Vietnam, it is important that you obtain plan that will provide reimbursement for medical expenses via a large network of hospitals. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage while residing in Vietnam. If you require a quote for insurance coverage in Vietnam, contact Expat Financial today for a quote and to discuss your Vietnamese expatriate insurance requirements.

Five tips for a successful study abroad

Students from all over the world want to experience traveling and studying abroad – to visit a new place, try the authentic local cuisine, meet new people and become fluent in another language. Others want to take advantage of education opportunities, course and experiences that only a foreign university can offer. But how do you make the most of your overseas experience and integrate yourself into the local culture? In this article, we will discuss five quick tips for a successful study abroad to make the most out of it.

  • Find a Balance Between School and Your Spare Time 

The primary reason for international students to study abroad is to learn skills and obtain a degree. Therefore, having a study schedule with all the important dates is a good idea. It will help you to prioritize your study time and stay organized. However, it is also very important to give your brain a bit of break and do something that you enjoy. The best suggestion is to make the most of your study time, while avoid cramming yourself during the exam period. Give yourself some time to study every day. That doesn’t mean partying every night – pace yourself.

  • Continue Your Hobbies and Join Clubs

It is encouraged for international students to try different things and join clubs while studying abroad. Many universities have plenty of student clubs, athletic activities and groups available to new students. From there, you may have a chance to continue your hobbies or discover some new interests. You just might meet some new friends who may be from your home country or those from the local region. Immerse yourself in your new country as this should help you integrate into your new offshore student life. And the priceless relationships you developed with your friends at university can be a lifelong connection – and it may just help your career.

  • Experience the Local Culture 

One of the advantages of being an international student is to experience the local culture that a tourist can’t. Many universities have home stay programs, either short-term or longer period. This may give you a chance to experience the day-to-day life of the local people, learn cultural differences, overcome language barrier, etc. A home stay arrangement may also save you money as local residences and apartments will probably be quite expensive. Home cooking from a local home stay house may also be a great feature.

  • Ask for Help if you Experience Stress While Studying Abroad

Facing challenges and stress when studying abroad is quite normal. However, if you don’t handle it well, it can have negative effects on your performance. If you need certain support and help, it is encouraged to ask your teachers or supervisors and talk to them about your stress. Keep regular breaks and exercise daily, and spend time with your friends. You should check if your health coverage will pay for claims associated with mental illness.

  • Obtain Health Insurance When You Study Abroad

If you are studying abroad and traveling often, it is very important to obtain appropriate health insurance plan. Although many colleges, universities and educational institutions will offer some international health insurance plan, the coverage may be very basic or only cover you in your destination country (not back home). And the university plan may not cover your overseas travel. To learn more about international student health insurance, please click here to learn more about the great plans that we can offer students.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your student health insurance requirements so we can make a recommendation that will fit your needs. If your overseas education facility would like to discuss offering a plan for its students or even the expatriate staff, please contact us to discuss a group plan. For more information, please click here and obtain our one page international student health insurance brochure.

How does your company insure older expat employees?

How does your company insure older expat employees? 

Has your company looked into how it’s expat benefit plan covers your older expatriate employees? It’s a question worth asking. Expat employers are often relying upon older employees for expatriate positions that need to be filled by often senior level executives or specialized employees who’s skills require an employee with extensive experience that only an older employee can provide.  Many industries are faced with an aging workforce these days and struggle to find and retain the best employees possible. It is more likely with older expat employees that they may suffer from a pre-existing or chronic medical conditions. These more senior employees may also be highly paid and entitled to larger amounts of  life and disability coverage.

Older employees can be valuable expat employees

Often, the best person for the job posting overseas is an employee who is in their 60s or even 70s. This is quite common for the mining industry which often has to fill positions in engineering that require an employee who is most likely in their fifties or sixties. Unfortunately, some insurance plans that lesser experienced brokers have their clients with will not offer coverage for expat employees past age 60, 65 or 70 or severely limit the plan benefits. Also, some expat group insurance plans will exclude pre-existing medical conditions that are more often than not more common as you grow older.

What can you do to properly cover your older expat workforce? 

So what can be done if your current global benefit plan is not adequately covering or can’t cover your older expatriate employees? Well, it first makes sense to work with an expat insurance specialist firm such as Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd.. We are very experienced in working with clients from around the world which require a global health insurance plan for their group of expat employees or even just one person posted overseas.

Global medical coverage solutions for older expats employees

If you have a group of expats and you organization has over 30 employees globally, we may be able to source a plan that can usually cover the expat employees (minimum 2) without any medical questions and fully covering pre-existing medical conditions. The global medical insurance for some of these plans have no age limit, so we can still cover that 70 year old employee and dependent. We recommend global medical plans that will fully cover pre-existing and chronic medical conditions for both the employee and their dependents. Some HR managers think that they can reduce their risk by screening out expats with health issues with a medical exam before being hired, but this may not be legally acceptable with employment law, you may be excluding excellent employees with health issues and you won’t be able to fully screen out all conditions that would exclude an employee. Finally, the employee’s dependent might have a medical condition that you can’t screen for. Again, it makes sense for a group expat health plan to fully cover pre-existing medical conditions.

What about non-medical benefits for older expats?

For the Life/AD&D, the benefit levels usually reduce at age 69 and may terminate at 75 depending on the insurer. Long Term Disability will cease at age 65 or 70, but this is not usually an issue for most expat employers. For such pooled expat coverage, it makes sense to go with an insurance company that has a high non-evidence maximum, which is the amount of coverage that can be provided without medical evidence. Dental and evacuation coverage is not usually impacted by an expat’s age.

two businessmen and one businesswoman using laptop in front of modern office building, iStockalypse Berlin – Germany 2012

What if our company has only one expat employee? 

For individual expats, we do have access to a large number of global medical providers who can cover a single expatriate over age 70 for example, but the employee will be subject to medical underwriting and it is possible that he or she may be declined, a condition excluded or a premium increase required. As an international insurance brokerage, we have access to a wide array of insurance providers which we have worked with for many years who can underwrite many pre-existing conditions for individual expats.

So if you company is employing expatriate employees, especially expats who are over 50, you should contact us today to discuss how your existing global benefit plan is meeting their needs along with the premium rates that they are being charged. Our experience in sourcing and servicing a global workforce is quite impressive.