International Major Medical Insurance

How do Expat Employers Compare Global Insurance Companies

We often get the question asked by our corporate and non-profit clients who have a diverse expatriate population abroad. Whenever a human resources manager or global mobility executive is building a global rewards strategy, they have to invariably think about setting up or managing an existing global benefits program that includes international medical care.

Attracting and retaining expat talent is critical for many companies, which are often mandated to meet certain duty of care obligations but also secure coverage that will meet the destination country’s visa and residency requirements concerning global healthcare.

Mozambique Insurance

While there are many resources online, it is not as simple as you might think to compare one global benefit insurer to another. The first thing to do is to work with an experienced international insurance broker, as noted above. Global mobility managers should then consider the following:

Cost: Yes, the price is often the most significant factor in deciding on which global health insurance program to put in place for an expat population. The cost will depend on many factors, such as the demographics of the employees, location, gender, age and the industry. It is nearly impossible to get a quote for a group of expats without relevant information.

Insurer Rating: We prefer to place our corporate clients with well-recognized and secure global insurance companies that we know will be there for the long term and have the resources and financial strength to weather the highs and lows of the market. Make sure you check the financial ratings of your global benefit plan provider. If they are a TPA, ask who the underlying insurance company underwriters that are covering the risk.

International Major Medical Insurance

Medical Network: This is a big factor in deciding which global medical provider your company should engage with. Expat employees prefer to be covered by an insurer that has a wide variety of medical doctors and hospitals that allow for automatic payment or reimbursement. Check out our article on the subject for more information.

Administration: Most global rewards managers prefer to work with an international group insurance provider that has excellent online administration. Such an administration system should allow for easy addition and subtraction of expat employees along with welcome emails and insurer cards that are sent to the employees online and offline.

Customer Service: We have found that there is a wide range of service levels amongst global benefit plan providers in the market. Large global insurance companies such as Aetna or Cigna International often have the highest service levels for both the consultant broker and their clients.

Employee Communications: This is an often overlooked item when selecting a global benefit plan for expat employees. A global health plan for international employees should have a clearly defined and effective way to communicate with the expat population around the globe and work with them in multiple languages. Global benefit plan communications are important for providing clarity and ensuring policyholders understand coverage details, exclusions, and claim procedures. Such communications can help foster trust and satisfaction levels for the employees posted abroad.

Coverage Options: Having choices as a global HR manager for medical, evacuation, dental, and life insurance is key when deciding which insurer to choose. Better yet, if you have enough expat employees, you may be able to request a customized solution.

Compliance: If your firm is sending expat employees to certain destination countries such as the UAE, Australia, DRC or the USA, you will need to make sure your insurer has the ability to not only pay claims there but be compliant for your employees and their visas. This has become more vital as some countries are requiring that expat insurers have local insurance partnerships.

Insurance Company Service & Support

Insurance Company Service & Support: This is crucial for prompt claims processing, policy understanding, and assistance during emergencies. Efficient service ensures policyholders receive timely help, fostering trust and satisfaction. Many of our global benefit partners will assign a dedicated administration and client service advisor.

What If My Company Is Only Sending Employees Abroad for Short Trips?

There is often no point putting your employees on more expensive global benefit programs when your organization is sending employees for short-term assignments under 180 days, as it will often be more cost-effective to maintain their domestic coverage, which is often possible for short-term trips as the employee is probably not giving up their domestic or government-based healthcare.

Note that many built-in emergency travel medical plans are not meant for business trips abroad, especially if they are over a month or two, so it is recommended that human resource managers secure a robust global business travel plan. There are also individual travel insurance plans available that can cover short, single trips abroad.

Remember that travel medical insurance is not a substitute for group expatriate benefit plans as they won’t cover your employees back in their home country and do not cover non-emergency or chronic conditions.

Business short-term travel coverage is meant to cover trips up to well under one year, often to 6 months per trip. Some plans will cover a pooled workforce traveling from multiple countries of a multinational employer. The policies are meant to cover emergency medical expenses, not chronic or wellness-related conditions or treatment. They often include medical evacuation, crisis assistance and sometimes personal accident coverage. 

If your employees are going to high-risk regions, then it is vital to talk to us about securing a plan that will cover that destination and provide additional protection, such as war and terrorism coverage, but also think about kidnap and ransom as well. We also recommend that HR managers provide some travel safety education to their employees, which we have arranged for some clients.

Why Global HR Managers Should Not Put Expats on Domestic Group Insurance Plans

It will often seem more cost-effective to place your expat employees on a domestic program abroad or keep them on the home country program if it is allowed and feasible. There are too many reasons to list here as we have written several articles on the topic. Still, it generally revolves around domestic plans that can’t meet the coverage requirements of globally mobile and portable employees as they are not made to.

Here is one such article that addresses the reasons why domestic plans abroad or at home are not a good choice for expat employees: Why group expat insurance plans are better than domestic policies