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.


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.


The medical facilities in Hong Kong is 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 longer 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.


Universities in Hong Kong are recognized as top schools of education in Asia, according to many global surveys. 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.


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 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.

Top 10 tips for expat women living abroad

Many expat women living and working in a foreign country face unique challenges that include physical well-being, common illness and health care issues. In this article, we will discuss ten health & safety tips to prepare for your new life abroad. At Expat Financial, we are want to share our expat knowledge that includes providing expat health advice before and after relocating abroad.

Know General Medical Standards in Your Destination Country Before You Go

It is recommended to do some research on general medical standards in your destination country before relocating. In most countries, the healthcare system is divided into two categories: public and private medical care. In some countries, the healthcare standard is very high. Government funded hospitals are well equipped and staffed, with excellent services to patients. However, in other countries, hospitals may only provide basic medical treatment and lack of specialist care. In order to better prepare for your life abroad, it is recommended to do some research on general medical standards in your destination country before relocating.

Get Immunizations 

Many expat adults are not up to date with their vaccines. The specific vaccines you need as an expat are determined by many factors such as age, job, relocation plans, health condition, etc. To prevent yourself from getting new and difference diseases, it is critical to visit your doctor and get immunizations before departure. You can even get some great vaccination information from the CDC.

Bring Travel Medications

If you are under certain medical condition and require regular medication, then you should pack at least three months’ supply with you when relocating abroad. Many medical experts suggest that you have access to your medication in your expat destination and that bottles are clearly marked with your prescription. Expat women should also bring birth control pills if required. For long term relocation abroad, expat women should also prepare a good first aid kit with everything you need. Always pack an extra pair of contact lenses or eyeglasses wherever you go.

Try to Avoid the Expat Blues

Whether you are moving abroad for retirement or travel, you may face a series of challenges as an expat woman. The term “trailing spouse” is refer to a person who follows his or her partner overseas because of work arrangement. Due to a recent survey of more than 14,000 overseas expats, the 84% of trailing spouses are female and most of them are highly educated. However, according to the survey, only 24% of them have jobs. Others are staying at home and not working. This mainly because of work visa restrictions or family needs, taking care of children, etc. Even though they are highly educated, they could often not find any adequate job assignments with an appropriate payment range. This can be very difficult when adapting an international move.

When you move abroad and leave behind you career, your life is entering a new stage. Don’t be afraid to loose your sense of self-worth. Rather, take some time and allow yourself to redefine your identity in the new country. Embracing these potential differences will make your life overseas more enjoyable. Your mental health is a crucial part of your overall healthcare while living abroad. 

Build a Supportive Network

It is important that trailing spouses and expat women find a way to counteract frustration. Go out and join a social groups, participate in volunteer groups, sports classes or language lessons. For expats who are very busy, you can expand your network online. There are many expat supportive forums and websites which provide a sense of community. This will eliminate doubts, negative thoughts and uncertainty.

Connect Yourself to Local Community

It is not a good idea for expat women to isolate themselves from their new culture. Indeed, it is vital to find ways to get involved in the local community. It is strongly recommended that expats go out and engage locals and other expatriates alike. No matter you are meeting local friends or expat friends, they will help you to overcome communication barriers and culture shock. 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.

Take Steps to Secure Your Safety and Security While Living Abroad

According to the Government of Canada, expat women are facing greater challenges such as petty and violent crime, the dangers of international cyber-dating, etc. Therefore, it is critical for expat women to plan carefully in order to minimize your risks while living and working abroad.

Before going to your destination country, it is recommended to do a risk assessment that includes safety and security, healthcare, political environment, and culture customs. During your travel, try to avoid displaying expensive-looking jewelry and other devices that may indicate you as a wealthy expat. Beware of strangers, including locals, fellow travelers, use only legal and reputable taxis. Pay attention to fraudulent ads that recruit foreign women for work as models, maids, nannies, etc… Unfortunately, expat women have to pay extra attention to their safety while working and living abroad.

Eating Healthy & Exercise is Critical for Expat Women

When you are moving to a new country, it is critical to maintain healthy eating habits. Expatriates living and working abroad should avoid fast food or street food stands. Always go to local grocery stores or markets to find some fresh fruits and vegetables, but be aware that local sanitary conditions can vary in third world countries. It always makes sense for expatriates work out often, though it can be more difficult while living overseas. Jogging around a park, exercising yoga, hiking, running and golf are all popular options. If you prefer treadmill and gyms, or in some circumstances when the weather is unfavourable, go to local gym clubs near you.

Don’t Skip Medical Check-ups

Wherever you are traveling to, it is vital to ensure that you make sure you don’t forget to manage your health status and monitor changes. In many countries where local public healthcare facilities may not up to western standards, expatriates will want to use private medical care. However, these private facilities are usually very expensive, especially in emergency situations. A global medical plan can not only cover large medical expenses, but it can also cover you for preventative health and medical tests that can help you maintain you and your family’s health. This can even include vaccinations and health monitoring.

An international health insurance plan will provide expatriates and their families worldwide coverage (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). Such plans can allows you to seek medical care internationally and is critical for expatriates residing in less developed countries where medical care facilities are below standard. Expat women living and working abroad will benefit from an international insurance plan that will cover medical check-ups. with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation.

Obtain International Health Insurance

The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family access to the best healthcare is very important for expatriates of any gender, including expatriate women. A tailored expatriate health insurance that meets your unique requirements is important and you should also consider life and disability coverage, especially for expat women. 

Expat Financial offers several different global health insurance plans for expatriates. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

The impact of global disease outbreaks on expats and tips on prevention

With people traveling from all over the world and relocating overseas, expatriates should take extra precautions when it comes to health and safety. In the last few years, public health experts were on high alert due to rapid spread of diseases threat such as the Zika virus, Dengue fever, SARS, Ebola virus, plague and more.  In this article, we will discuss several pandemic disease threats and tips for expatriates to protect themselves from those diseases while working and living overseas.

Should Expatriates Worry About Disease Outbreaks? 

It is difficult to give a definitive answer to an expatriate’s chances of getting a disease if relocating to a regions that has reported a disease outbreak. However, if there are a lot of people have already been infected, then expatriates should pay close attention if visiting specific area or region. One should note that diseases can travel vast distances because of increased travel and mobility – it just takes a plane ride of an infected person to bring an outbreak to a new location.

According to the Public Health Watch Report, cholera, yellow fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are the potential health threat given recent pandemic report in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. There have also been reports of plague disease in Madagascar, where over 20 lives have recently been lost.

Five Disease Outbreaks that Put Expats at Risk

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, and even death if untreated. Cholera is caused by a bacterium called Vibrio Cholerae in contaminated food and water. It is a serious medical problem in many parts of the world. According to the latest report on Africa News, World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claiming that 17,000 treated in DRC.

Yellow fever was declared outbreak in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda between 2016 and 2017, according to WHO. It was transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The outbreak caused 962 confirmed cases across the three countries. Yellow fever is a disease with symptoms of fever, jaundice, muscle pain, vomiting, headache and nausea. Large outbreaks of yellow fever occur within heavily populated areas, with high mosquito density but lack of vaccination. The virus can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes from person to person.

Zika Virus has become a fairly widespread disease that have cause great concern for expatriates and locals alike. While Zika is not a new disease as it was earlier found in Africa in the 1950s, the disease that is spread by mosquitoes has spread to many regions around the world, including South America, Asia and even in the USA. In most cases those infected will not show any symptoms, but some can experience paralysis or in pregnant women, it may cause birth defects in their children. There is no vaccine at this time along with no effective treatment.

Pneumonic Plague was recently declared as an outbreak in Madagascar. The Plague is a highly infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria and is often found in the fleas of small mammals.  People can be infected by the flea bites or direct contact with infected persons or inhalation.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection ranges from no symptoms to severe respiratory disease and death. According to WHO, the outbreaks have occurred in several countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Korea. And no vaccine or specific treatment is currently available for MERS-CoV. It has been reported that MERS is caused by Coronaviruses, which is a large family of viruses that can cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The typical MERS symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. The virus can pass from person to person through close contact.

Disease Outbreak Prevention Tips for Expatriates Living Abroad 

  • As a general precaution, expatriates visiting markets, farms, jungles, or other rural region with animals are present should practice high caution with hygiene, including hand washing before and after contacting animals, especially sick animals;
  • Avoid consuming raw or under cooked animal products or produce in developing countries, including unpasteurized milk or vegetables;
  • Based on infected cases reported, some people are considered to be at high risk of disease infection. Consult your doctor about your medical history before relocating abroad;
  • For diseases that haven’t been determined response priorities by health authorities, expatriates should maintain a high level of vigilance;
  • Avoid crowded areas if there is a disease outbreak
  • Avoid direct contact with animals and wild life, especially in regions where outbreaks often occur;
  • Do some research on the potential health risks in your destination country’s travel advisory page and obtain required vaccinations before departure – there’s a wealth of information from the CDC and WHO.

To ensure you and your family are protected from costly medical bills outside the home country, it is strongly recommended to obtain international medical insurance. Most medical insurance plans will include coverage for sicknesses caused by most disease outbreaks. It will be important to make sure your global medical plan includes medical evacuation coverage and will cover you for treatment outside your country of residence. 

Bring International Health Insurance with You

If you fear that you may have been exposed to an infection or virus no matter how many precautions you have taken, consult with a medical doctor as soon as possible as only your medical provider can provide definitive medical advice and treatment . Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form


How expats can work from home – 5 tips for expatriates living abroad

The idea of working from home can be exciting. And there are many expatriates would decide to work from home while living and traveling abroad. This is especially important for expat spouses who are living with their partner who is employed, but are unable to work in the new country for a variety of reasons, such as work visa issues. However, there are many concerns and challenges about it. In this article, we will discuss 5 tips for expats who decide to work from home while living overseas.

Benefits of working from home

It is easy to understand why working from home has become so popular. The freedom to control over your schedule, the flexibility in pursuing personal interests, keeping down the cost your commuting or gas, etc. To many people, it is pleasant to begin their day as early as they wish so they’re working when they are most efficient and alert to perform their jobs.

Working from home opens up more opportunities for career growth and personal satisfaction. Here’s a practical guide to excel under minimal supervision:

Make Sure You Set Goals 

It is essential to set goals if wish to work from home, especially during the change of family dynamics while living abroad. You will want to break goals down into daily small goals, and identify what daily expectations must be to achieve them. It is important to concentrate your efforts if you want to achieve your goals.

Avoid Distractions

To avoid infinite number of distractions while working from home, it is critical to set up professional home based office and stay focused on your daily task. It is ideal to have a reliable computer with quality internet, printer, business phone and general office supplies. All these items will increase your productivity and save your time.

Another suggestion would be a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. All the outside and inside noises can ruin your day. Construction noise, traffic sounds, etc., even the TV sounds are annoying. Therefore, it is wise to choose a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while working from home.

Work and Exercise Balance 

It is important to get out of your home office and do some exercise. Instead of sitting in front of your computer all day long, just take a short walk outside your house during the day or head to the gym for an hour workout. It will make a huge difference to your emotional and physical well being. You will have the chance to connect to people, or even socialize with other groups of people who work from home.

Update Your Colleagues Often 

This will help lower your stress level without the feeling of falling behind. Many work-from-home professionals know that they don’t have to do it all alone. Using an online file sharing system such as Dropbox will easily allow you to update your colleagues or team mates in real-time. It will also eliminates the problem of working with outdated projects.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

For work-from-home professionals living abroad, it is important to note that you will most likely be responsible for obtaining your own international health insurance plans as you might be working for yourself or may not be supported by an employer. Also, the country you live in may have little or no medical coverage and may not provide adequate healthcare facilities. However, some expat employers will employ people working abroad, especially in IT roles. 

Domestic health plans may not even cover you or will only cover you in that one country, which is not ideal if you wish to travel or obtain health coverage abroad. You will probably lose your current health plan coverage if you live abroad or it may not cover overseas travel. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. Also don’t forget to obtain individual life and disability coverage as well if you are an work-from-home professional.