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Relocation, Relocation – how to play the game
Relocation, relocation – might be the name of a popular TV programme, but, along with outsourcing, is very much a major issue in the world of international healthcare. Whether it is private individuals moving overseas to capitalise on new markets and opportunities, or companies moving divisions to capitalise on lower labour costs, high up on the list of factors which determines whether life overseas will be successful or not is healthcare, particularly if the spouse and children are included. Regular research published by a range of specialist publications serving this market, as well as our own research, suggests that in 75% of cases, the spouse will also be living abroad and in over half of cases, the family will have children. Cover which includes choice of treatment location and cover for everyday costs are important features when looking at family healthcare.
Debbie Purser, CEO of April International UK comments, “With more and more families moving overseas, it makes sense to take out a policy which helps with the day-to-day business of being ill. ”Another factor which needs to be taken into consideration is the increasing threat of global terrorism. Nearly a third of brokers questioned in the April International UK research said that they would not consider a policy if it did not provide some level of war cover. We have a ‘stand out’ benefit that really makes a difference to those expatriates living and working in world hot spots. For these individuals, we provide ‘passive war’ cover including terrorist attack. Passive war cover is likely to be of particular interest to aid agencies and rebuilding contractors working in the Gulf area, especially in Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait or indeed Africa. Policyholders will benefit from the full range of April International UK services, including hospital benefits and evacuation, in the event of injury by terrorists or as part of a broader war conflict. With many placements now including countries such as India and China, healthcare has increasingly come into sharp focus, especially for companies looking to provide specialist cover for employees. Perceptions of the quality of local facilities are paramount, so companies increasingly need to develop tailored healthcare solutions enabling staff to be treated where they want to be, in the event of emergencies. Hot and humid climates allied to poor sanitation and infrastructure conditions are a prime cause of infections, particularly amongst expatriates who will not have the same level of immunity to such illnesses as either locals or other longer term residents. In such circumstances, a company may well find itself having to develop one level of benefits for a management grade in one country and a quite different set of benefits for the same grade elsewhere. This is where the specialist healthcare insurers such as April International UK can play a vital role. With over 30 years experience of supporting the international business community worldwide, April International UK is used to facing the challenges of developing bespoke policies to cover groups of employees around the world. This ability to create individual packages for companies is of little use if the range of cover is not sufficiently comprehensive to satisfy employees in all locations. In this respect, cover for chronic or long term illnesses is one area that many companies will steer clear of. However, with lung and respiratory problems on the rise generally, it is clear that cover for the costs of treating conditions such as asthma is a basic requirement.
Indeed, in the recent April International UK industry-wide report, nearly 75% of brokers said that the availability of chronic cover is a key requirement when selecting a provider. These twin abilities, to create bespoke solutions and offer key areas of cover such as chronic illness costs, explain why the specialist insurers such as April International UK still compete strongly with the larger, less flexible groups. As business becomes still more international and searches out new locations for low cost production, IT and telecom services, the ability of companies to reflect this diversity in their range of staff benefits will be key in ensuring a healthy global placement programme, which itself will be a major driver of corporate success.