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What to consider when you are relocating abroad

Relocating abroad will almost always involve finding somewhere to live, looking for a new job, and finding schools for your children. With so many things to consider, it is often easy to overlook something as important as international health insurance. In this article, we explain what to consider when you are relocating abroad, and we will explore the international health insurance that you will want to take with you when relocating abroad.

The Importance of International Healthcare

The most important factor in your plan to relocate is to acquire an appropriate international healthcare plan. The most common misconception regarding this topic is that you can take your domestic healthcare plans with you when you relocate. In fact, when you leave your native country, most domestic health insurance plans are voided. From an insurance company’s point of view, an expat is no longer a resident in their home country when living abroad and therefore no longer entitled to domestic coverage.

Another misconception is that as soon as you move to a new country, you will be entitled to local healthcare coverage from the state; however, this is not always the case. In addition, healthcare standards in many destinations are often inconsistent and lesser than the standards of your home country. It is also critical that you seek out expert advice when seeking international health insurance, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions which require coverage.

Relocation considerations aren’t only measured in terms of financial costs of living, such as moving expenses and cost of living, but one must also keep in mind the adaptations of language requirements and cultural differences. It is critical that you prepare appropriately for your various needs; however, without international medical insurance, an unexpected injury could cripple your financial situation.

Find what’s best for you

Finding the right international medical insurer is an extremely complex issue. There are many different levels of healthcare around the world, as well as vastly changing local regulations. It is subsequently very important to ensure you’ve selected an international health insurance plan that fully protects you and your family.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Our toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email us at info@tfgglobal.com.

Health Insurance for Canadians in the USA

Health Insurance Options for Canadian Expats in the USA

Our company is contacted almost every day by Canadians living in the USA or about to live in the United States who are not eligible for local healthcare. More often than not, it is the parent of a student living in the USA who is calling us to find a high-quality expat health plan for their Canadian son or daughter. They all know the cost of medical care in the USA is extremely expensive – some expenses can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands. For example, here are some sample medical conditions and the expected claims costs in USD:

  • Pancreatic Cancer – $100K to $150K
  • Valve Repair – $60K
  • Complicated Pregnancy: Hundreds of thousands
  • MS – $80K
  • ICU Stay – Such a claim could be huge depending on the condition and length of stay.

That is why it makes sense for Canadians in the USA to purchase a global health plan if they are not eligible for local coverage by themselves or through an employer. If a Canadian is maintaining provincial coverage and will be spending a few months in the USA, then most will obtain emergency only travel medical insurance coverage from one of our Canadian suppliers such as Tugo. However, if the Canadian is becoming an expatriate in the USA by spending a lot of time living, retiring or working in the USA and most likely losing their provincial medical coverage, an international health plan for the USA is vital.

Most Canadians are not aware of the true cost of their provincial medical plan because they pay little or nothing towards it as the costs are all paid by general tax revenue. We have all heard the stories of how expensive medical care is in the USA, especially in the news where someone forgets to purchase travel medical insurance when traveling abroad. If you are a Canadian expat in the USA and not eligible for local plans, then you will have to purchase an international health plan. Note that when you apply, there will be some medical questions and you may or may not be approved or there may be an exclusion. Also remember that individual expat health plans are not HIPAA, COBRA or PPACA compliant.

Most global health plans for expats in the USA will offer in-patient care with options to add wellness, out-patient medical and evacuation insurance. Dental and visioncare is also available. Some will choose a large deductible, but this is a personal choice. Most Americans are used to having very large deductibles and co-insurance while the Canucks are not.

For more information, give us a call or email today as we are very experienced in covering expats around the world. The best plan we can offer expats in the USA is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. You can even get a quote and apply online. Another potential option is the GeoBlue plan.

 

Top 10 Expatriate Careers in 2019

Learn About the Top Ten Expatriate Careers in 2019

The decision to move abroad has been made, and the process of organizing your checklist of tasks to accomplish before taking off has begun. There will surely be lots of things to consider while planning your move abroad; however, one task that should be high on your list will be your search for a job. Securing a job will facilitate your move by securing funds, increasing your local network, facilitate your ability to rent an apartment and so on.  We have created a list of the top 10 industries for expats working abroad to help you discover where you’ll prosper! It is important to remember which opportunities are best for you and where you believe will allow you to call a new city home.

1. Hospitality

The hospitality industry is known for its social and high energy environment. If you are looking for a career that allows you to explore new cultures and to fully immerse yourself in the day to day life of local natives, hospitality is the job for you. With the advantage of being diverse and flexible, jobs within the hospitality industry – such as working in a restaurant or a hotel – are a wonderful way to join the community and understand local traditions, cultures, and way of life.

2. Resort Staff

Living in a resort is a dream for many people, however few can experience the opportunity due to high costs. If this sounds familiar to you, or you simply are looking for a new adventure, then working in a resort may be your best option! Working abroad in a local resort has an amplitude of benefits, such as wonderful accommodation, food service and the beautiful sceneries. There is no limit to where your resort stays may bring you – whether that be the beautiful African Sahara or the stunning beaches in Greece.

3. Tourism

The tourism industry is the perfect balance for people who are continuous adventure seekers but also want the stability of a career. If travelling is one of your biggest passions, a wonderful benefit of getting involved in the tourism field is that it allows you to help others fulfil their biggest dreams and desires to travel the world. The flexibility of working in tourism is another important benefit to consider. If you prefer an office position while on your downtime for travelling, you can easily obtain a job for a local travel agency; however, if you prefer to maintain an active lifestyle you can find jobs as a flight attendant or a tour guide.

4. Education

Joining the education field is always a satisfying and enjoyable opportunity. There are many options that one can take as an expatriate that is wanting to get into education. Whether you decide that private tutoring is the way for you, or take the more traditional approach and teach a full classroom, both options will surely satisfy your teaching desires. Teaching abroad is a wonderful opportunity to expand your skills as it allows you to work with a diverse group of people, as well as allows you to expand your experiences and connections with those in your new community.

5. Au pair

An au pair is someone who moves in with a family and takes care of the children and some basic household needs. It is a fantastic opportunity for young adults to experience a new city while helping a family. Typically, a host au pair family will pay all the expenses for the worker (lodging, food, weekly allowance etc.) in return for the help of au pair. It is particularly popular for families looking to incorporate a new language into the family, as they will often bring in an au pair from a foreign country that can teach a new language. An important aspect of being an au pair is to ensure that you have discussed expectations of hours to work, time off etc. in order to avoid any complications down the road!

6. Nursing

Working abroad as a nurse is an amazing opportunity to gain new knowledge and expand your experiences in the field. Working in a new country will allow you to treat patients from different backgrounds and new techniques in the medical field. As rewarding as a nursing job abroad is, it is important to note that you will need to be a registered nurse in your home town in order to transfer to a nursing job overseas. Transferring to a new country may require an entrance exam for the country, so make sure to do all the proper research before making the move.

7. Photography

What better way to expand a photography portfolio than to jump into a career in photography while living abroad. The opportunity to gain new insights and designs from a new environment will surely bring new creative designs and looks for anyone’s portfolio. Another advantage of starting a job in photography is that you often have the ability to work as a freelancer – meaning you are less likely to be tied down to a standard 9-5 career.

8. Marketing & Public Relations

If you see yourself as a more creative person, a job in marketing or public relations could be the best option! In a field that thrives in a dynamic and continuously changing environment, marketing allows someone to fully integrate their own personality and values into their jobs. With the field of marketing vastly growing, the number of international jobs that are readily available for expatriates moving abroad is on the rise and have proven to be extremely successful and enjoyable for new workers.

9. Business

With the movement of today’s global industries, the international approach for many companies is becoming very predominant. As these companies continue to expand, the opportunity to interact with international clients is rising in popularity. A wonderful way to strengthen your professional profile is to jump into the business field and learn how to communicate and interact with a largely diverse population. Business opportunities can take you anywhere in the world – whether it is getting into the finance industry in Denmark or the fashion industry in France, you have the chances to travel the world while advancing your career.

10. Teaching a language

Last but not least, one of the amazing jobs you can do while working abroad is teaching English. In today’s day in age, English has become one of the leading languages to learn, and many foreign parents and young adults are on the hunt for professional English tutors. The opportunity to choose just about anywhere in the world, the ability to travel, and work digitally are just a few of the benefits of this amazing job field.

Don’t Forget Global Health Insurance When You Work Abroad

Before you take on any career abroad, it is important to obtain global health insurance coverage through your employer’s global benefit plan or an individual expat healthcare policy that will fully cover your medical expenses and those of your partner and family members. Medical expenses can be extremely expensive overseas or medical care and health coverage may be substandard locally. Your work abroad may also take you to different locations where a domestic policy won’t cover you or you may move from one expat destination to another. Contact our firm to learn more about the excellent international health coverage that we can source for you today.

Choosing between a local or global health insurance plan as an expat

Why you should purchase a global over a local health plan if you are an expatriate

Expatriates who are moving overseas will often opt into purchasing a local health plan from the government or a private insurer. Some countries, regardless of your own coverage, may require you to purchase the local coverage care, even if inadequate for your needs. Most local plans will be inexpensive and some can potentially be quite good. However, if you are moving overseas there are five reasons why we recommend expats to purchase a global health policy:

Portability

As an expatriate living abroad, opting into a local health plan may limit your portability and your access to medical care in cases of relocation. If there is a possibility of you moving to a new destination, or if you are not consistently in one primary country, you will want to have access to a health care plan that provides you with the portability that you require. Another benefit of obtaining a global health insurance plan is that it may also include coverage for business travel and travelling for pleasure. Global health insurance plans are especially important for expat employers that employ mobile employees globally.

Local health plans may be deficient

Many expatriates find that local health care plans are not sufficient for their standards. One benefit that has proven to be important for expats is the ability to get medical care with a large network of hospitals and clinics. Many local plans will have a small network, in which you have to receive your care. Global health care plans tend to have a much larger network, as well as the ability to access medical care from outside network hospitals with approval from the insurer.

Local health facilities may be substandard and not up to western standards

The quality of medical care and facility capabilities vary greatly from one country to another, and in some countries, the standards of medical facilities may be much lower than those in Western countries. If you are an expat located in a second or third world country, the medical standards set in place may not be up to the standards in which you are accustomed to. Medical care that is not up to your usual standards may be passable for check-ups and basic care, but will not be adequate for any procedures that require a specialist or any form of intensive care. However, it is not only in third world countries that you will want to consider a global health plan. Even in developed countries, having a global health plan in place will help in a time of emergency, and explain how to deal with medical emergency coverage when times of need require it. It will also have the added benefit of providing you and your family with an accurate direction and alleviate panic at all times.

Local plans won’t cover you for treatment outside of that country

The difficulty with local plans is that once you have left the country, your local plan may be cancelled out. While being an expat often encompasses a certain amount of international travel, you will want to ensure that you are covered upon leaving your main destination. Another difficulty that comes along with local health care coverage is if you do decide to relocate, there may be a lapse in coverage or necessary waiting periods for coverage between the two regions. This may become detrimental in your protection if you are travelling in high-risk zones.

You may need or want to seek treatment back home or regionally

Although local health plans may be tempting for expatriates, local health plans are not designed for expats, but in reality, are designed for local natives. If you are wanting to obtain medical coverage back in your home country, you will no longer be covered under your local health care plan. You may also require medical evacuation coverage in cases that local hospitals are not able to treat you adequately. Evacuation coverage is a crucial feature of any expatriate insurance plan.

Expats are often portable, so it is vital that you have a global health policy that will cover you if you move from one country to another. It is important to note that most expat health providers are not able to renew their coverage should you move back to your home country or spend more than 6 months in your country of citizenship. It is important that you check your requirements and fine print when you apply online for a global health plan.

Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email info@tfgglobal.com

Five most costly cities for expatriates living abroad

When talking about cost-of-living overseas for expatriate employees, it is not just exchange rates of currency, cost of food or groceries, but also housing costs. According to a recent Forbes’ survey result, the five most expensive real estate markets are Hong Kong, Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai and London. In this article, we will discuss the five most costly cities for expatriates living abroad.

  1. Hong Kong, CHN

Hong Kong is considered one of the most successful financial centres around the world. It owns advanced medical care system,  promotes an active lifestyle and provides an excellent educational system. According to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 2016, Hong Kong‘s property market is the world’s most unaffordable. As stated in Mercer‘s Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong is the most expensive in the Asian Pacific region. According to a local real estate site HongKongHomes.com, you should expect to pay around HK$ 55,000 per month (equivalent to ~ USD $7086.4 monthly) in order to rent a two bedroom, two bathrooms apartment with a saleable area of 953 sq.ft. If you would like to own the apartment, the price increases to HK$ 24,000,000 (~ USD $3,092,245.44).

2. Mumbai, IN

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Mumbai is the most populous city on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. Mumbai is listed among the most costly cities to buy real estate in. As being one of the most international cities of India, Mumbai has pleasant weather and advanced health care facilities. With job opportunities offered, increased expatriate migration and investment buyers that are willing to reside in the city has consequentially driven up the demand for property in Mumbai.

3.Beijing, CHN

Beijing Expat Insurance

The second Chinese city that is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in as an expatriate is Beijing. Beijing is China’s capital, as well as its political and cultural centre. Known for its influential culture, Beijing has been known to be an extremely popular destination for expatriates moving overseas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Beijing is in continuous demand for real-estate investments, resulting in increasing high costs of living. Apart from real-estate costs, Beijing also has one of the most expensive healthcare systems, especially for non-native residents.

4. Shanghai, CHN

The third Chinese city that has made its way to be one of the leading most expensive cities in the world to live in is Shanghai. Located on the central coast of the country, Shanghai has become one of the leading financial hubs of the world. The importance and ability to conduct business in Shanghai have transformed the city to be an expatriate hot spot. With continuous growth and demand, the cost of living has skyrocketed in the last few decades. Don’t be surprised to see an average, furnished one-bedroom apartment costing $3,000 CAD/month.

5. London, UK

London has long been one of the most popular, and therefore most expensive cities to relocate as an expatriate. London is known for its rich history and remarkable agriculture, as well as being a city that can please all needs. Whether you are interested in art, culture, food or adventure, the city has it all. As a leading destination for expatriates, the significant increase in population has caused a substantial surge in living expenses, such as accommodation, transportation and food & entertainment.

 

If deciding to relocate to one of the above cities, it will be very important to ensure that you have proper medical coverage while abroad. Living in one of these cities will cost you a substantial amount of money, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t have to worry about any unforeseen medical expenses. At Expat Financial, we can offer a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. For additional information, contact us at info@tfgglobal.com or click here for a quote today! 

 

Top 5 reasons expatriates are choosing to live in Costa Rica

You’ve taken the plunge and decided to move to a foreign land to pursue your dreams of living an expatriate life. Countless days have been spent trying to decide on the perfect new place to call home, and the decision has finally been made: Costa Rica.

There will surely be obstacles along the way; learning a new language, adapting to new cultures and customs, and developing new social networks. However, these obstacles are no match to the numerous benefits that will come from making the move.

Whether you want to surround yourself with a vast array of volcanoes and waterfalls in the Central Valley, prefer the quiet life on the beach in Tamarindo, or want to live an exciting life of adventures and activities in the Arenal Region, Costa Rica offers a diverse and exciting profile for everyone.

For English speakers looking for work in Costa Rica, available industries are wide-ranging for an expatriate: varying between hospitality, tourism, the arts, sales, sports, and education. With Costa Rica calling your name, read through the top 5 reasons to make the move to this beautiful country.

1. Low Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Costa Rican regions is relatively stable throughout the entire country. Costa Rica is relatively affordable in comparison to most Canadian & American cities, and therefore, more advantageous for incoming expatriates.

On average, a furnished 900sqft apartment will cost ~$750USD per month, and in a more luxurious region can cost up to $1,500/month. Groceries range from $5 for an lb of chicken, $6 for 500gr or cheese, $2 for 2lbs of potatoes and $0.75 for bread. If you are living in a region where transportation is necessary, a bus pass will cost you $ 62/month.

Being an expatriate in a new city, you’ll surely want to explore the town with a few nights out. An average dinner for 2 will cost you about $40, drinks at a downtown bar will be $8 and if you’re in the mood for a fancier night out, a high-end restaurant will be ~$68 for 2.

2. Culture

 

“The happiest country in the world” – Costa Rica has long been given this reputation. Through its energetic and friendly locals, Costa Rica is a sophisticated and proud country. It prides itself on its strong cultural values, which stems from freedom and equality for all, with a rich history incorporating many diverse influences. Costa Rican citizens are very friendly and it is a great country to explore culturally.

3. Safety and Stability

As an expatriate, it is important to know that you will be living in an area that prospers in safety and wellbeing. As one of the longest reigning democratic states in Central America, Costa Rica is known for its safe and stable environment and functional government. While you will want to take normal precautions that you would take while living abroad, most expats will agree that this beautiful country is a safe destination for living abroad.

Costa Rica is also one of the leading Central American counties for a stable and prospering economy. Although deciding to make the move to Costa Rica is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, you will be able to rest comfortably knowing that you are making the move to a financially stable country.

4. Weather and Environment

If versatility is what you’re looking for, Costa Rica is the best place for you. You can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches in 30-degree weather, to going off exploring the rainforest and jungle region of the country. With dry and wet seasons, you will still experience the changes of weather, while also enjoying a constant 12 hours of sun a day, all year round.

5. Established Healthcare System

Costa Rica has one of the leading healthcare systems in the region. Most expats will want private healthcare provided by a large global insurance provider. As an expatriate, Costa Rica has the added benefit of offering English Speakers at nearly every major hospital and clinic. However, when making the decision to relocate, it is very important to obtain an international health insurance coverage plan for your extra protection.

At Expat Financial, we provide international healthlifedisability, and travel insurance to expats moving abroad or already living the expat life overseas. Our firm has extensive experience in working with expatriates in need of global health insurance while living in Costa Rica and other Central American countries. Contact us with any questions and obtain a quote online today!

 

 

Should you retire abroad?

Learn About Retiring Abroad – Determining Your “Expatibility,” or Candidacy, for Retiring Abroad

A lot of us wanted to travel abroad while we were younger or were interested in taking time off work to explore and see more of the world. You may or may not have had the chance to see as much of the world as you wanted. But now you nearing retirement. And you always thought you’d travel once your career was complete. Now you are considering going abroad – and staying abroad permanently as a retired expat.

How do you determine if retiring abroad is right for you?

For one thing, going abroad for retirement is an adventure. Another thing is that it may make total financial sense to leave your native country, with costs of living climbing. And it’s never been easier to pull off expat living – with resources at your fingertips around the clock through the easy facilitation of information-sharing online. You can look up what others have done and read about their experiences online, and even connect with them as well.

Determining your expatibility is the most important step to deciding if you should retire abroad.

Here are two steps you can take in order to determine whether you’re a good candidate for this adventurous expat lifestyle.

Step 1. Take a good look at yourself and profile whether you have the personal disposition to retire abroad.
Retiring abroad takes a desire for adventure, yes. But it also means embracing change, difference and meeting difficulties with an open mind. Do you shy away from obstacles that may arise, like language barriers and a different way of life? You should also consider the following disadvantages of moving abroad:

  1. You will not be able to see your friends and family as much
  2. You may have to sell your house and give up health coverage back home
  3. You will have to give up some activities at home which may not be available in your new location – such as skiing if you are moving from Vancouver to Barbados.
  4. Will you have enough money to last for your life no matter how long you live?

Also, are you ready to immerse yourself in a different culture, including the food, the type of dress you’d be donning? If not, then retiring abroad may not be for you. Or you’re not just yet ready to take the leap into expat life at the moment.

Step 2. Ask yourself what you truly need – what are your necessities in life?

What are some things you absolutely can’t live without? Do you need to be able to speak the local language in your new home country or get away with speaking English? Do you have to have the ability to live with very low costs, or peace and quiet, or a car or internet? Evaluating your needs will help you decide if you’re able to live abroad, and where.

Whether or not you decide to retire abroad, and wherever you go, remember that you’re going to need international health coverage as it’s very likely that your domestic plan will NOT cover you during your retirement abroad. Medical expenses incurred abroad can be extremely expensive and as we all know, our health does not improve with age. It will make sense to lock in a global medical insurance plan when you are living abroad from a well known and respected global insurance company, such as the expat health plan we offer from Cigna.

Finding the right international medical insurer is an extremely complex issue. There are many different levels of healthcare around the world, as well as vastly changing local regulations. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure you’ve selected an international health insurance plan that fully protects you and your family. You should also consider a global health plan that will cover you for life as some plans will termiante after you reach age 70 or 75.

Contact Expat Financial for expert advice and to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

Why is expat health insurance so important?

Many expats traveling worldwide do not realize that the cost of medical treatment overseas can be extremely expensive. Expat health insurance is a great solution not only to protect you and your family’s well being but also to avoid an impact on your finances. In this article, we will discuss why expat health insurance is important and how to acquire proper coverage.

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Global Multiple Countries Coverage

Many international health insurance plans can cover expats in multiple countries. And the plans usually have many benefits and offer customization that can influence the premium you pay. This is very important for travelers and expatriates living and working overseas. As a foreign national, you and your family members are generally not covered for medical treatment abroad. No matter where you are, or you wish to travel elsewhere for medical treatment, most global medical plans will offer medical coverage all over the world either including or excluding the USA.

Financial Security 

In most of the countries around the world, expats are required to prepay the cost before receiving medical treatment, and some of the medical procedures can be extremely costly. With an adequate expat international health insurance plan, you will be protected from any short and long-term medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. It will help you avoid the financial risk of uninsured medical costs while living and working overseas. Besides, most of the insurance providers have developed trustworthy medical network centres and medical staff worldwide. This will be able to keep pace with you and your family as your medical needs change. If you wish to be able to seek medical treatment in the United States, you should get the USA coverage option, but this will increase your premium.

Flexible Plan Design

International health insurance is usually easy to adjust to challenges with a variety of individual and family health insurance needs such as life insurance, disability, and more. If you are an employer sending your employee overseas, an international group health benefits plan and insurance solutions will help retain talented employees. Please also read our blog post “The Benefits Of An International Group Insurance Plan.” 

Aid Workers, Missionaries and NGO Organizations

Whether you are traveling overseas for a short missionary assignment, volunteer position or a long-term aid worker assignment, it is vital that you obtain a global travel insurance or expat health plan that will adequately cover your stay overseas.

How To Acquire International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several international health insurance plans for expatriates across much of the world. Our insurers will help provide you with peace of mind during your stay overseas. We are also able to source international health insurance for Non-Governmental Organizations around the world sending aid workers overseas.  The insurance companies that we work with also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan – our firm can also assist as your independent advocate. If you have special questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. The Cigna Global Health Options plan is our most popular international health plan for expatriates.

Learning the local language is crucial for expatriates on overseas assignments

Learning the local language is crucial for expatriates on overseas assignments – Language Tips for Expats

According to a recent survey that was carried out by Rosetta Stone, approximately three-fifths of global mobility experts believe that learning the local language is crucial to a successful expat assignment. Indeed, if an expat employee can communicate with the local business team and partners, then it definitely helps when building the bridge between local business leaders, expats, and the head office. In this article, we will discuss how expats can make learning their host country’s language easier.

Most Spoken Languages in the World

Out of the most popular languages, Chinese Mandarin is often seen as the most important language for expat employees, especially if residing in China, which is one of the largest economies in the world. Other common languages include Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Russian and Japanese. Spanish is the primary language of Central America and South AmericaCuba and parts of the U.S. French is also widely spoken in varies countries, including Canada, Belgium, and Haiti. Arabic is mostly spoken in the Middle East and Egypt. It is the sixth official language of the United Nations. For expatriates planning to live and work abroad, it is recommended to have a working knowledge of your destination’s foreign language. Learning the local language can advance your career by giving you have a much better chance to start a conversation with locals and employees.

How to Learn a Foreign Language

  • Join a language learning group or attend a course: There are usually many language learning groups available in major cities across popular expat host nations. Try to find a local colleague or friend who would be willing to help you learn the language. If you can not find anyone who speaks the language or there are no language learning groups, try to apply and attend a language learning course. Many language learning schools provide modern language teaching techniques and updated learning materials in a small classroom setting. Some of them even offer expat students the chance to take part in local cultural activities. For busy expats, taking private language lessons can be more suitable than taking group lessons. Private language lessons are flexible, with options to specify different fields, such as business communication. Another popular choice is to take an online language learning course, as they are flexible and location independent.
  • Employer-Sponsored: It is recommended that the expat employer provide some language courses both before and during the expat assignment. Even just learning a few words and phrases can help your expat employees better integrate into their new surroundings.
  • Self-studying: Some expats will try to learn a new language themselves by spending a couple of hours each week and using a dictionary to enlarge your vocabulary. According to scientific research, language learning is based on repetition. If you spend some time every day to study the foreign language, you are more likely to grasp it within a few months. A dictionary is a handy tool for you to consult when you are finding the necessary words. Expats can use either an actual dictionary or a translator app. There are also lots of great online courses, such as ones offered by Babel and Rosetta Stone.

  • Immerse yourself in the language: Being immersed in a foreign language means that you are interacting, listening and speaking in the language daily. There are many conversation examples and lessons on Youtube and live stream radio on websites. And these are all free to access. Reading the local language can be very difficult for expats, but try to start with local magazines or newspapers. Read a short article in the beginning, and look up any words that you don’t understand. This will allow you to recognize commonly used words and phrases.
  • Embrace making mistakes: The best way to learn a new language is by practicing. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Focus on the practicing process other than on perfection. The more you speak, the better chance you will get to the ideal level.
  • Learn important vocabulary: One of the most important things about learning a new language is vocabulary. Even if you don’t understand a whole paragraph or a sentence, knowledge about some keywords will help you to understand the general meaning of a conversation. It is better for expats to focus on learning the most common words, and figure out which category of vocabulary is most relevant to you. It is also key to carry the correct vocabulary to assist you in a medical emergency. In the case you do need medical assistance, you want to be able to describe your condition to medical staff.
  • Don’t Forget About Dependents: If you are an expat with a partner or children living abroad, it is also critical to assist them in their new language endeavours. Check if the neighborhood school will provide lessons in the local language, and suggest that your spouse enrolls in some courses as well.

Don’t Forget Your International Health Insurance 

Learning a new language and living abroad is a wonderful experience within reach of you and your family. That new language will assist you should you require medical care from a facility or doctor who doesn’t speak your language. A great medical plan will also provide medical insurance support in all of the major languages. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world who are about to move abroad or already there. In addition, we offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have any questions regarding 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.

Insurance options for companies with only one expat employee

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

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

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

Global Life Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

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

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

Expat Disability Insurance for Individual Expat Employees

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

Individual International Health Insurance Options for Expat Employers

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

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

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

Obtaining Individual Expat Insurance for that Lone Expat Employee

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