expat employees

International Payroll Tips for Expat Employers

Global Payroll Tips for Expatriate Employers

Paying expat employees is increasingly more common as companies expand their businesses into global markets. There is not one straightforward way to ensure you’re paying your expat employees given that laws are different in every jurisdiction.

What is certain, however, is that human resources and payroll professionals are required to acquire knowledge of international payroll management systems, which are becoming more complex since they vary from one organization or company to the next.

Therefore, there are varying procedures and methods for how international employees are paid.

We’ve put together a list of our top five tips for dealing with international payroll so you can avoid legal problems. While our firm does not provide global payroll service, we are happy to provide some helpful tips that may assist your organization. We can even refer you to a global HR firm if required.

But first, what exactly is international payroll?

What is international payroll?

International payroll refers to the list of a company’s expatriate employees and includes information on how and when the money they are owed will be paid to them.

There are, generally, two aspects of global payroll obligations to remember:

  1. Withholding the correct payroll taxes.
  2. Income/tax reporting.

“Withholding tax” is the amount of an employee’s pay withheld by the employer and sent directly to the government as a partial payment of income tax. These concepts are essential for you to understand so you can avoid problems.

If your expatriate employees are required to travel often, then it is critical to design a payroll policy about how long an employee must stay in one state before withholding must be taken into account.

Remember also that specific expatriate payroll-related concepts include foreign currency exchange transactions as well as US payroll.

Given you need to be compliant with specific laws, rules, and regulations that vary in different areas and are sometimes quite complex and overwhelming, it is recommended that you hire legal or tax professionals to assist you and your firm.

Legal and tax professionals have extensive knowledge of the specific taxation, employment laws, and fluctuating foreign currency trends. These professionals would be able to support you in achieving the best method for setting up a successful international payroll system that works best for both you and your firm.

 

The International Compensation System

Recognizing international compensation plans when reporting expatriate employees’ income and tax is important.

An international compensation plan may include base salary, benefits, and other incentives as part of the expat employee’s monetary and non-monetary return for work.

Some aspects of international compensation plans include contributions to foreign pension plans, foreign trust reporting, and foreign deferred compensation arrangements.

Some US expatriates working for foreign corporations may participate in international pension plans. However, the tax arrangement may not meet “qualification rules” in the US, so this must be taken into consideration.

Discussing how best to treat contributions to your foreign compensation plans with tax professionals is recommended highly, as they can also advise on reporting requirements that may apply in addition to an expat employees’ tax return.

You’re not alone if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or even confused about where to start or how to structure or enhance the HR policies in your company or organization to better facilitate the international payroll for expat employees.

We have compiled five tips for you to keep in mind as you go forward.

  1. Understand the difference between various mobility policies 

It is important to hire professional consultants who can provide guidance on a variety of mobility issues by identifying benefits available in the new location. These professionals will also be able to structure a new global employment strategic plan, as well as developing a worldwide expatriate compensation and benefits plan. In some nations, local benefits coverage and medical facilities may be limited. Local currency fluctuations and the financial stability of the local insurance company are significant concerns for expatriate employees. Expat Financial can source international group insurance plans from a variety of large and respected insurance companies for multinational companiesNon-government Organizations, non-profits, governments, and international schools.

Several benefits are available, such as Group LTD, AD&D, Life Insurance, Health, Dental, and Emergency Medical Evacuation & Assistance Insurance. The risk and the administration for numerous operations and countries are pooled under one plan. Benefits can be paid in several major currencies. For companies with less than three expatriate employees or individual expatriates, we can also provide individual International Health Insurance protection as well as individual life and disability plans.

  1. Tax knowledge is a must

It is critical that you understand the foreign payroll withholding requirement and are able to determine whether the various compensation aspects are taxable or non-taxable. Our firm can often refer clients to expatriate tax specialists and even global payroll firms with excellent global tax knowledge.

Expat Financial may be able to provide international pension plans from large and established insurance company. These plans are usually free of taxes on accumulations, and there are no withholding taxes on benefits paid.

In addition, a variety of investments can be made available. The administration costs are also typically much lower for the company and the employees than setting up individual plans. Check with your tax advisor to confirm your tax status at your location.

  1. Organize documentation of payroll operations

Managing the documentation of payroll is very important. It provides the payroll team members with operational standards and policies. Due to the complexity of international payroll, different staff members may have different payroll methods. Maintaining payroll documentation can help administrative staff to manage payroll operations efficiently.

A tailored international group insurance plan provides simple administration platform for your HR department. It can facilitate instant communication online between employees, insurance companies and HR administrators. This is most especially convenient for highly mobile expat employees.

It is imperative for your expat employees to move from one country to another without worrying about switching from one local health insurance plan to another. It is crucial that HR managers consider excellent administration when choosing a global medical plan for their expat employees.

Contact Expat Financial to learn more.

 

  1. Provide ongoing training for payroll team members 

The role of an international payroll specialist requires strong professional skills, as well as extensive knowledge of new technologies and software in an ever-evolving business environment.

Arrange annual training and professional upgrading programs in international payroll for all team members to enhance knowledge, learn trending methodologies, and stay up-to-date on the latest best practices. Training programs should ideally include a comprehensive range of webinars, seminars, and forums.

Opportunities to network are also a great plus. Building an international payroll network can be helpful in advancing your company’s HR team and their performance.

  1. Optimal payroll productivity

International payroll management usually requires a cross-department effort from the finance, administration, and HR departments. Therefore, it is vital to connect global payroll to the business administration process and continuously update your management strategy.

For example, implementing a reviewing process within each party involved (such as HR & Finance) before delivering the review process results to employees is a great idea that can be used to avoid mistakes and improve expatriate employee satisfaction. Continuously building your communication with employees is critical to a great international payroll procedure.

A Reminder About Global Insurance Requirements

While international payroll is a very complex and vital requirement for expatriate employers, it is also important to consider the insurance needs of your globally mobile employees.

Expat Financial offers international group insurance plans for expatriate employees. We can even source expat group insurance plans for multinationalsNGOs and governments that have groups of three to 1000 expatriate employees working overseas. We offer numerous global benefit plans that are available to meet almost any budget requirement you may have.

With extensive global experience, knowledge, and contacts, Expat Financial is a leading source of group international health insurance plans that offer global health insurance coverage from various leading insurance providers that offer only the best plans.

For companies with only one expat employee, we have excellent global health plans that you can obtain a quote and also apply for completely online. We also offer xpat life and disability insurance plans as well as source special risk plans including war and terrorism insurance.

We are also a major provider of international insurance solutions to companies across many sectors of the economy and regions of the world.

Contact us today to obtain a quote, learn more, and we can answer your global insurance questions. If you require a global payroll specialist, we may be able to refer you to a company which can assist your HR Department and of course your expatriates.

Read more to learn why an international group insurance plan is superior to placing your expat employees on domestic policies.

business travel

Seven business travel tips for 2018

Business has become even more global over the past ten years, and for most companies, it means that business travel overseas is an absolute necessity. Your clients are no longer local, they are global, and you need to keep in touch with them through email, phone, Skype, chats and of course, travel. Experienced business travel professionals are always sharing their tips on how to make their corporate journeys as smooth and productive as possible. We have gathered seven business travel tips for 2018 to share with our globally mobile employees and associates.

Business Travel Tips

  1. Try to be loyal to your favourite airlines so you can rack up your travel miles with one or two carriers. It will also give you added travel perks and upgrades when you often travel for the same airline.
  2. Dress professionally when you travel, especially in business class. Yes, we love to be comfortable when travelling, but if you are travelling for business, you have to remember that you are representing your business and your brand. You never know whom you are going to meet – maybe a new or existing customer or your boss. It may also help you get an edge in being upgraded by the airline.
  3. Pay attention to travel warnings if you are travelling to countries with current or previous travel safety problems or political instability. There are lots of great government websites such as the US State Department or UK Foreign Office which can provide excellent safety information that is continuously being updated. Your employer may have access to exclusive private country intelligence information, especially if they have a corporate kidnap or evacuation policy through our firm.
  4. Check with your doctor or travel clinic if you require specific vaccinations for the travel destinations that you are going to for business. You don’t want to come back with unwanted diseases or illnesses. The CDC provided some excellent information for business travellers, but talk to your doctor for more details.
  5. Make sure your travel documents are up to date and provide for full entry as a business traveller. You should check first if your passport is valid for at least six months after travel is started or has recently expired. You should also check to see if you have the correct visa entry requirements as business travellers are often viewed differently than tourists. You may have to apply well before you travel to avoid being denied entry into your country destination.
  6. Staying healthy is always good advice, but have you taken steps to ensure you stay healthy when you travel? Here are a few sub-tips for you to consider when travelling abroad:
    1. Try to get some exercise and use the hotel gym.
    2. Bring hand sanitizer and wash hands regularly to avoid unwanted germs and viruses.
    3. Get up during the flight to improve circulation and avoid deep vein thrombosis.
    4. Stay hydrated during the trip and when at your destination. It can do wonders for your travel health.
    5. Try to eat well when travelling, including fruit and vegetables. It can be difficult when you are being wined and dined during your business junket.
    6. Be careful where you eat, especially in developing or third world destinations.
  7. Perhaps the most relevant and important tip for business travellers is to make sure you are covered for emergency medical and evacuation expenses by purchasing travel medical insurance before you go on your business trip. Your corporate HR department may have purchased a single trip or multi-trip business travel insurance policy that will cover your business travel. If you are going to add some pleasure travel days to your business trip, make sure your corporate program thoroughly covers sojourn travels. If you are travelling to areas where terrorism, war and civil conflict are possible, make sure the policy doesn’t exclude war or terrorism. Some plans will also provide some trip delay, trip cancellation, liability and Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage as well.

We hope that the above seven tips for business travel will be well received by all the business travellers who are expanding markets, meeting customers and delivering solutions to clients around the world.

What are the Best Solutions for Business Travel Medical?

The best solution for business travellers is to have your HR department contact our firm to quote on a corporate multi-trip annual business travel insurance policy. Such a plan can cover all the business travel for the entire company throughout the year. All employees who travel will receive a particular travel card that they can use in the event they suffer an illness or injury while travelling abroad. The plans can even cover employees in different countries travelling for your company, and some insurers can also include some sojourn or pleasure travel. To learn more, contact us today to discuss your requirements.

7 Tips for School Groups Traveling Abroad

Are you preparing for School Group Travel Abroad? 

There are many exciting opportunities for students to gain international experience while working towards their degree or for high school student groups going abroad on short school trips. Many universities provide either an exchange program or field school, as well as short-term summer programs. If you wish to spend one or more terms on an external program such as volunteering overseas, international employment, school group travel, international Co-op, etc., it is critical to making preparations, such as obtaining a travel medical coverage. In this article, we will provide seven tips for students and school group leaders when preparing for a short or long-term trip overseas.

 

Tips for Students and School Leaders 

  • Vaccination is critical for school group travel overseas. Many universities require standard immunization before arriving, especially for students who come from countries identified as having more infectious diseases and outbreaks. If your school group is visiting the USA, you may be required to complete a TB screening test.
  • Research your destination country for travel advisories and healthcare facilities. No matter where your school tour intends to travel, make sure you check the Travel advisory sites before you leave. This is because a travel advisory may affect your travel health insurance. In some regions, healthcare facilities may be limited. It is critical to understand any terms and conditions in your insurance policy for medical claims made for injuries in your destination country.
  • When selecting a travel medical insurance plan, you should make sure that the plan provides continuous coverage for the duration of your stay. It is also essential to check whether the plan pays for foreign hospitalization and provides the up-front payment of bills.

  • Be sure to obtain an emergency medical plan with a 24-hour/7-day emergency contact number in your language for health care providers in your destination country. Medical evacuation coverage is critical, especially in regions where medical care is not up to first world standards. Ensure that your medical insurance provides coverage for medical evacuation to the nearest location with appropriate medical care from your destination.
  • Preparing your school members for travel is essential, so it makes sense to plan ahead and also bring a first-aid kit. Travelers with any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or other problems need to carry medications with you on your trip. Moreover, it is always recommended to bring an extra prescription in case you want to extend your trip or have a delay.
  • Regardless of where you are going, you school members should always carry your prescription copies, allergy medication, antibiotic ointment (for more remote areas), sunscreen, etc. It is recommended that students consult a healthcare professional for some extras you should carry if heading to more remote regions or areas.

Bring Student Group Travel Medical Insurance with You 

And finally, with appropriate planning before a school group trip, your students enjoy their travels abroad without worrying about the costs associated with dealing with the unexpected injury or illness while on your tour. Expat Financial is a key resource for students who are going abroad to travel, attend a foreign university or volunteer for up to 1 year for emergency medical expenses. Here are two travel medical insurance plans that we can provide to students living outside the USA:

For students who are studying abroad and require a global medical insurance plan, we offer several international health insurance plans from several global medical insurance providers which are perfectly suited to studying abroad and offer excellent rates for young students, but not school members who are based in the USA.

Check out our international student health insurance plan and discuss with us your student health insurance requirements today. 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.

TFG Global & Expat Financial Exhibiting at PDAC 2018 in Toronto

As an extremely experienced global insurance brokerage with an extensive client list from 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 meet 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 adequately meet our company’s duty of care to your employees posted overseas. Mining employees posted overseas are a 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 8 PM last night our time – an employee’s spouse in Europe was urgent need of an operation. The Global Mobility Manager informed us that the surgery was a life and death situation, but the hospital was 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 situations as the insurer can then 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 workaround by having International SOS wire payment with insurer’s permission. It merely 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 weekends – 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 expat employees, contact us or visit our corporate page.

Expat Employers – Obtain a free country risk profile report

TFG Global and its 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 its 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 pleased to extend this offer to companies willing to work with a specialist firm such as ours. These incredibly detailed and valuable country risk profiles will provide essential 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 receive complimentary online access to this information that is updated continuously and highly 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 can obtain a risk overview & travel safety report for up to 180 countries and 400+ cities. To receive 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 not to quote or offer this report to your company. The reports are not available to individuals.

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 whose skills require an employee with extensive experience that only an older employee can provide. Many industries are faced with an ageing workforce these days and struggle to find and retain the best employees possible. With older expat employees, it is more likely that they may suffer from a pre-existing or chronic medical condition. These senior employees may also be highly paid and entitled to more substantial 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 50s or 60s. Unfortunately, some insurance plans from less experienced brokers have their clients with plans that will not offer coverage for expat employees past age 60, 65 or 70. Additionally, some expat group insurance plans will exclude pre-existing medical conditions.

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

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 your organization has over 30 employees globally, we may be able to source a plan that can usually cover your 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 laws, you may be excluding excellent employees with health issues. Additionally, 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 cover pre-existing medical conditions fully.

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. An expat’s age does not usually impact dental and evacuation coverage.

What if our company has only one expat employee? 

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

So, if your 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.

The importance of dental coverage for expat employees

Working overseas is an exciting and rewarding journey for expat employees around the world. Most expats consider obtaining global medical care as a priority; however, many expatriates forget about their dental health, which is not only important for your teeth and appearance but also critical for your overall health. Dental treatment abroad can be very expensive and is almost certainly private. Expat dental insurance is one of the top priorities in your organization’s global benefit plan. In this article, we will discuss the importance of dental coverage and how to obtain dental insurance for expat employees working and living abroad.

Why Visit the Dentist? 

This may seem obvious, but according to recent findings presented by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two major threats to dental health among adults. And according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 64.7 million people aged 30 or older have periodontitis, which is a more severe and destructive form of gum disease. Furthermore, several pieces of research have shown that gum disease and complications could lead to heart disease and diabetes.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

With preventive dental care, your dentist can examine your teeth for cavities when they are still minor conditions. For people who smoke or have pre-existing dental problems, this is especially important. A dentist can examine your mouth for any irregularities before they become worse. If expat employees are relocating abroad with family and children, dental coverage should be one of your top considerations along with international health insurance. Prevention is crucial and can help keep dental costs low and also help with employee productivity.

The Cost of Dental Care Abroad

The cost of dental care abroad will often vary greatly based on your expat country of assignment. Some countries or regions offer excellent dental care and facilities, but often at a charge or higher price. Your overall dental care cost can vary dramatically in different regions around the world. For example, in Singapore and Hong Kong, dental practices are 100% private and incredibly costly; while many third world countries will offer dental care a fraction of the costs in North America.

Finding Expat Dental Care

Your global benefit plan may provide a list of dental clinics which will be able to direct bill the dentist overseas, but most will want to have the employee pay the bill directly and then have the expat obtain reimbursement from the insurer. The other expat employees in the country may also be able to refer your new employees to a reputable dentist. One should always examine the facility before obtaining dental care to look for credentials and see if the clinic is practicing proper hygiene practices. Some expats may prefer a Western-trained dentist, but most countries dentists will be properly trained and regulated.

Expats Prefer Private Dental Care

For those countries with a public dental healthcare system, expatriates may still want to use the private dental care system. This is not only because they can avoid the long waits for medical appointments in the public medical care system, but also the access to English speaking dentist and medical staff. An appropriate international health insurance plan with dental coverage affords you the option of choosing a private dentist, standard routine check-ups, and a higher level of dental treatment such as scaling and repairs. Therefore, taking out an international health insurance plan is essential if wishing to receive treatment from a private dentist as an expat employee.

expat healthcare if critical

Standard Dental Care Coverage for Expats

There are usually three types of dental plan covered by insurers:

1. Regular Dental Care

  • Emergency care
  • X-rays
  • Root canals
  • Regular anesthesia
  • Tooth cleaning
  • Consultations and examinations
  • Occlusion bar
  • Simple fillings

2. Large Dental Operations – Restorative

  • Root scaling
  • Tooth adjustment
  • Periodontists care
  • Membrane care
  • Bridgework and repairs
  • Gingivitis care
  • Temporary crowns, porcelain crowns and gold jackets

3. Orthodontics

  • Ortho expenses for dependent children, usually up to a $1500 lifetime maximum.

For people with pre-existing dental issues, after a specified waiting period, insurers may cover pre-existing dental issues depending on the policy provider. Most plans will have a waiting period for orthodontics.

How to Obtain Dental Coverage for Expat Employees

Expat Financial can source group insurance benefit plans that provide both local and global medical coverage for expat employees, including dental care. We are not able to source dental only expat plans – the coverage must be part of a group global medical plan. The plan designs for dental can include coinsurance and deductibles to help lower the costs. In most instances, dental rates for expats will be below what is seen for domestic employees in Canada or the USA. The rates will, of course, depend on the expat population demographics – such as age and country location. We can also source dental coverage as part of a global medical plan for individual expatriates when needed.

If you are interested in learning more, have questions or would like a quotation, please contact Expat Financial via email or visit our Quote Request page.

expatriate employee insurance

Top seven global insurance considerations before sending expat employees overseas

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

Coverage – Local or International Coverage

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

Special Risk Insurance 

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

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

Medical Emergency Evacuation

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

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

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

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

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

Health Insurance Plan Administration

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

Seeking Advice from an Experienced Broker

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

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

Individual Plans for your Expat Employees

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

 

Is your company meeting it’s “Duty of Care” obligations to its expat employees?

An Expat Employer’s Fiduciary Duty of Care for Expats

Sending employees abroad is a significant financial, moral and legal responsibility for expatriate employers. Many professionals are constantly talking about the importance of providing a “duty of care” for expat employees sent to work abroad and even when sending employees for long or short term assignments and meetings. A duty of care means that the global employer needs to take all steps required to safeguard and prepare for the safety, well being and health of their employees. It is the fiduciary responsibility that experienced global mobility managers realize is important regardless of the legal implications. It is a basic moral responsibility. This is especially true today in a world where conflict and terrorism can strike almost anywhere. It makes sense to plan for what your employees may face abroad.

Employers Should Examine Their Obligations

It is critical that expat employers meet the overseas obligations of their employees, whom can find themselves in new and sometimes hazardous regions and countries that they may not they may not be be adequately prepared for. It is vital that HR managers carefully read over employment contracts to make sure that the company is fulfilling its obligations to their employees. This means that employers should examine their employees needs and location to prepare for contingencies. Our firm has access to detailed country information packages that can provide global mobility managers with key insights for each destination, including security reports.

Expat Employers Should Identify Risks

When your HR department is sending employees overseas, it often makes sense to identify risk and to adopt preventive measures. You can’t account for all of the risks that your employees and their dependents may face while working or travelling abroad, but you can take steps now to plan and mitigate those risks. We recently had an employer who agreed to implement a comprehensive kidnap and ransom program with security evacuation, and in the first year of the policy it was used after a group of employees were kidnapped by bandits. Luckily, with the assistance of on-sight negotiators paid by the insurer, a ransom was negotiated, and the hostages were released unharmed.

Inadequate Insurance Coverage for Expats

A recent report from Cigna mentioned that 50% of expatriate employees feel that their expat employers are not meeting their duty of care requirements for the global assignments that they are on. Furthermore, three quarters felt that they did not have sufficient funds to support their healthcare expenses. We often run into situations where new and even existing expat employers will send employees and their dependents on overseas assignments with inadequate planning and insurance coverage. With more and more companies and non-profit organizations sending employees for short or long term assignments to high risk countries such as Iraq & Afghanistan, the requirement to provide a secure and safe work location is vital. Our firm has extensive experience in working with employers operating in such areas where civil strife and conflict are commonplace.

Common Expat Insurance Deficiencies We Have Observed

Here is a list of deficiencies that we often encounter:

  • No coverage for pre-existing medical conditions
  • No coverage for pregnancy or a 12 month waiting period
  • Many expat employers have no disability coverage in place
  • Coverage is placed with insurers that can’t meet the needs of expats
  • Lack of adequate evacuation coverage that is not fully insured
  • No war or terrorism coverage for employees residing in high-risk countries
  • The inability of expats to find medical centers that can receive medical payment directly from the insurer

How Expat Insurance Coverage Can Help Your Company Meet Its Duty of Care

A group expat plan that is properly designed and sourced can provide a high level of global insurance coverage that will fully meet the duty of care for your expatriate workforce stationed around the world. We can source the following coverage for our group expatriate clients:

It is critical that your global mobility department fully commit to the duty of care philosophy and provide global coverage for your employees that exceed what is required no matter where they are posted. Our firm can source plans for individuals and groups. For more information on the global benefit plans that we can offer your international workers, please contact us today.