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 HR.com 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 AM and finish by 2:30 PM.

Maternity expenses can be very expensive for expats & tourists

Going abroad is a huge financial and emotional commitment for expatriates, but even more so if you add maternity to the mix. The importance of maternity coverage is even more important if you will be residing or traveling abroad, especially if your travels will take you to the USA. Travel insurance plans will generally not cover pregnancy-related expenses, especially in the last three months of pregnancy. If a pregnancy has any complications, then you can rest assured your travel insurance policy will not cover any expenses should there be a premature or regular birth. This was made quite clear in the news recently as a Canadian couple purchased travel medical insurance to cover their trip to Hawaii. Only two days after their arrival the mother’s water broke and was prescribed bed rest and was unable to be repatriated back to Canada.

The premature baby was born six weeks later by C-section and was required to stay two months in the neonatal intensive care unit. The medical expenses amounted to over $900,000 along with additional living expenses for the husband. Unfortunately, the travel insurer denied the claim because it noted the pre-existing medical exclusion in the policy because of an earlier bladder infection that was clear before they left on the trip. This huge medical claim illustrates the danger of traveling when pregnant, especially in the USA or elsewhere in the world where medical expenses are expensive.

Expat Financial is often contacted by couples who are traveling while pregnant and we are not able to located travel medical coverage that will cover an existing pregnancy. Some expat medical policies will provide some medical coverage, but it is better not to test the plan and instead stay home. For individual expatriates who are already pregnant and require international health insurance, there are no expat health plans that will cover them. Individual expat health insurance plans that offer maternity coverage will only cover pregnancies after a 10 or 12 month waiting period. Maternity can often be included in a plan or purchased as an optional benefit.

The only way to potentially an existing pregnancy will be to part of a group expat health plan that covers maternity expenses with no waiting period. As demonstrated by the huge medical claim for the Canadian couple in Hawaii, a high policy maximum is also important. If you are lucky enough to be covered by a group expat health plan, make sure you read the fine print as it relates to pregnancy expenses. Caution when it comes to pregnancy is probably the best policy.

44% Increase in terrorism attacks in 2013 – Terrorism insurance is critical

It has recently been reported by the Global Terrorism Index 2014 report that deaths from terrorism rose by 61% from the previous year in 2013. There were nearly 10 thousand terrorist attacks in 2013, which is a 44% increase from 2012. Iraq is the country that is the most impacted by terrorist attacks thanks to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS). A report from the Institute for Economics and Peace remarked that 18 thousand people died from terrorism-related injuries in 2013. Syria and Iraq are fueling a dramatic increase in terrorism, but Boko Haram in Nigeria is also responsible for the global increase. Further destabilization in the Middle East will only increase the amount of terrorism in the world. Even Turkey and Mexico are experiencing higher rates of terrorism.

Terrorism across the world is being driven by religious, nationalistic and separatist movements that are attracting followers from the western world. Authorities are justifiably worried that citizens who have traveled abroad to join terrorist movements such as ISIS will then come back to wage terrorist battles back in their home countries – especially in Europe and the USA.

Expatriates are encouraged to obtain international insurance coverage that will cover civil strife, terrorism and even war if they will be travelling or posted to countries where such risks are present or possible. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks can occur almost anywhere. Expat Financial can work with individual expatriates and expat employers who are sending employees overseas to discuss their risk profile and find international insurance plans that will not exclude terrorism and war-related claims for passive bystanders. War and Terrorism risk insurance is becoming a necessity for many international employers with employees posted overseas and Expat Financial can search the market for an international group insurance plan that will provide war risk coverage. Please contact us for more information.

Source:  Global Terrorism Database

Please check out our video which describes the special risk coverage that our firm can source:

 

 

Terrorism coverage has become a necessity for some expatriates

Silhouette of soldierIt is an unfortunate reality that living abroad today can be just as risky as ever. Recent events have shown that many parts of the world are becoming increasingly volatile.

Whether your move is for business or pleasure, understanding and predicting future medical needs can be very difficult. If you’re relocating on a fixed contract, you may be fortunate enough to have your insurance provided by your employer — they will likely have a better idea of how much health coverage is required for your stay. Otherwise, seeking out expatriate medical insurance is essential to maintaining your health, safety, and peace of mind.

Even with the ability to relocate nearly anywhere in the world, health and safety risks for expatriates have increased once again with the political unrest in the Middle East, especially with advances made by the terrorist group ISIS. Seeking special risk coverage is a necessity when traveling to countries in conflict. Earlier this year, this coverage has become additionally important for expatriates in some European countries, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict persists. Terrorism is a real danger for expatriates spending their residency in countries such as these.

Many insurance policies for expatriates will exclude war and terrorism-related claims, so it is vital that individual expatriates and their employers secure plans which will cover war and terrorism. More information on global insurance plans to cover expatriates can be obtained at Expat Financial.

 

Venezuelan currency problems are impacting expat insurers

global_medicalThere has been a steep devaluation of the Venezuelan Bolivar in recent months. Official exchange rates defined by organizations like Dow Jones – that are used in the claims reimbursement process by many expatriate group insurance companies, no longer reflect market exchange rates. Continuing to do so could lead to reimbursing claims for amounts that are disproportionate to the actual market value of the expenses.

Some international health insurance firms will now use the SICAD II (Complimentary System of Foreign Currency Acquirement) exchange rate for reimbursing claims incurred in Venezuelan Bolivars. The Central Bank of Venezuela introduced this exchange rate in March 2014 as part of the government’s plan to help stabilize its shaky currency. It is thought to be more in line with the actual market value of the Venezuelan Bolivar than any other index. It is critical that expatriates be covered by an insurance company which can settle claims in major currencies.

TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. and its expat division Expat Financial will continue to monitor the situation and how it will impact expatriates who reside in Venezuela and other countries with currencies which are volatile. More information on international health insurance, including quotes, can be obtained at Expat Financial.

 

Ebola Virus and Medical Evacuation for Expatriates

Ebola VirusThe World Health Organization recently declared the West African Ebola epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people an international public-health emergency. As the Ebola virus continues its march across Africa, international health insurance providers and their medical evacuation suppliers are continuing to monitor the precarious situation there. Some clients of TFG Global and Expat Financial which have employees in Africa are asking how their employees will be treated should they become infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

If an insured person is infected, it will be vital to immediately advise the health authorities, eliminate contact with others and seek medical attention. Most medical insurance policies will cover the medical expenses associated with the Ebola disease, but medical evacuation will be much more complicated and precarious because of the highly infectious nature of this disease.

An evacuation request would still be subject for review and coordination between the insurance company and the evacuation provider, however, the Ebola outbreak also has the added component of local and world health organizations. For instance, the insurer’s actions may be limited if a specific village is quarantined. If a client is worried about the safety of their employees, they may wish to take them out of that infected area as a proactive measure.

Generally, a healthy individual would not qualify for medical evacuation, so the client/member would be responsible for such travel costs. Evacuation is often decided on a case by case basis that would need to follow an approval process and be reviewed and handled by the insurance company’s medical staff. Evacuation providers such as ISOS have staff and also the local health authorities in the region who are continually monitoring the situation. The fact that Ebola is a deadly contagious disease with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical organizations involved makes it more complicated as insurers must also follow these authorities’ guidelines.

Also, a country may refuse to allow Ebola-infected patients to be evacuated to their country to prevent the spread of the disease, so I would expect that evacuation of an infected individual may be very difficult due to countries not wanting to import the disease to their country. Resources may be stained as well as transporting an infected patient is extremely difficult and requires specially outfitted planes and support staff.

For more information on international group insurance, medical evacuation plans and an examination of your organization’s global mobility benefits, please contact TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. through its Expat Financial division. Individual global health insurance plans are also available.

 

Ebola Virus Outbreak is Reminder of the Importance of International Health Insurance

There have been reported outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. One infected person even died in Lagos, Nigeria after a plane trip from a nearby country. Ebola virus is a rare and deadly disease. The Ebola incubation period, from exposure to when signs or symptoms appear, usually ranges from 2 to 21 days. Early symptoms include sudden fever, chills, and muscle aches. Around the fifth day, a skin rash can occur. Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may follow. It is vital that one seek treatment as soon as possible and take immediate steps not expose others to the illness. 

Some expat health insurance policies may not cover a pandemic illness, but most policies will cover the illness like any other illness. One should check your international health insurance plan to make sure you know what you are covered for, especially if you will travel to a region where Ebola has been reported. Your employer should also check the international group insurance plan to ensure that any Ebola-related illness will be covered. More information can be found at:

 

Expat employers with few employees can obtain group expat coverage

One of the largest barriers to expatriate group insurance adoption for small organizations without a current plan is the simple belief that their company is “too small” for a benefit plan. Others think that a global mobility program for their small firm will cost too much.

Many companies do not know that there are international group insurance plans that are available for the small expat business market with as few as three overseas employees. The impact of an unfunded life, disability, evacuation or health claim can lead to a large impact on the organization, its employees and bottom line. This is even more of an issue for a small company with potentially much smaller backup resources than a large firm.

While the insurance benefits for a small group plan may be more restrictive because the risks can’t be spread upon a large population of employees, the group expat benefits will still be superior to what an individual expat health plan will offer. The administration of a group expat plan will also be much easier for a company’s human resources executive. The premiums for an international group insurance plan will also be lower than a group of individual plans. Some group plans will also provide medical coverage without any underwriting. Life, Disability, AD&D, evacuation and dental benefits can also be added.

A group expat plan can be started with as few as two or three employees with some global insurance companies. Send your company’s expat population census information to Expat Financial today so we can obtain quotes from the market after discussing your organization’s benefit needs.

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Global health insurance inflation continues unabated

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Recent studies have shown that medical inflation trends continue to rise unabated for both individual and employee sponsored international health insurance plans. The average global annual inflation trend for medical costs may be 10% overall, but the percentage is higher in select countries such as the USA and Canada, where many expatriates are covered and may seek treatment. Companies such as Aetna Global and Cigna International often report medical inflation trends of 12 to 13%. This trend rate is also shared by many expat insurance providers.

What is driving the increase in medical costs? Many providers cite a large number of factors such as:

  • poor health habits such as obesity
  • drug costs increase, especially with biologic drugs which can easily run in the tens of thousands of dollars
  • compliance with local coverage requirements, including the Affordable Care Act in the USA
  • defensive medicine where doctors order unnecessary tests to ward off legal actions
  • new healthcare technologies are constantly being introduced and demanded by patients
  • demographics and age of the population, which is related to the size and age structure of the population that are using health care services
  • the intensity of care, which refers to increases in the care and services per unit of care delivered

These factors and more are having major impacts on the claims that are being incurred by domestic and international health insurers. These costs have to be passed onto individual policy holders and employer sponsored expat group insurance plans. Expatriates and their employers need to adapt their global medical insurance plans to make sure the coverage meets their needs and budgets. Some may choose to reduce costs by:

  • increasing the size of deductibles
  • increase coinsurance levels
  • have employees share in the premium payments
  • remove certain medical procedures and possibly restricting coverage areas

It is important to work with an independent global insurance specialist firm such as Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. We can analyze the coverage needs of both individual expatriates and their employers and then search the market for a plan that will meet their respective needs and budgets. Learn more about the international group insurance plans we offer expat employers.

 

What to Consider When Moving Abroad

Moving abroad to work and life can be a huge decision for both you and your family. A move abroad involves a lot of advance preparation and planning-such as where to live, transport, where to educate your children, getting help, language training etc… It can all be quite daunting, especially if you have never worked abroad or are receiving little help from your employer.

One of the most significant challenges for an expatriate is obtaining the right international health insurance policy. Obtaining a global health plan is usually on the top of your to-do list. It is important to know that the health of you and your family is protected as this will provide a high level of comfort and peace of mind. Expat Financial has long been recognized as a critical source of international health plans for individual expatriates and their employers. Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., offers global medical plans from a variety of insurance providers who can cover expatriates and their family members.

An international health policy can be a complex policy to purchase, but Expat Financial is here to help you find the right product to suit your needs and budget. With a large number of global medical plans – from basic to deluxe – from several large and well-known insurers, we are sure to have a plan that will meet your requirements. Expat Financial even offers health plans that can be quoted and purchased via the internet.

If your employer has three or more expatriate employees, the HR director can contact us for an international benefit program that not only provides global medical care but life, disability, dental and evacuation insurance. The savings from having a group plan can be significant. Also, a group plan can often automatically cover an employee’s pre-existing medical conditions.

In addition to insurance products, our firm can refer you to international firms which can help you with cultural training, relocation and tax preparation. Check out our Links page for more information. Expat Financial can also source global life and disability programs for many expatriates in most parts of the world.

If you are going global, make sure you put contacting Expat Financial for international health insurance at the top of your list.