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Healthcare International

We Need Better Communication To Make International Assignments A Success 

By Tom Wilkinson, CEO of AXA Global Healthcare 

While international working can often be a breath of fresh air, it can also be an isolating experience; one that expats enter into eagerly but might not always be best prepared for. Combined with the expectation of delivering strong enough results to justify the cost of being sent overseas, all while trying to adapt to a new environment, it can be easy for an expat to begin to feel overwhelmed.  

With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that a fifth (21%) of all assignments end earlier than planned. Now, this can’t just be down to the work environment expats enter into. And it isn’t.  

Research we commissioned involved hearing from almost 600 HR Decision Makers and 600 Globally Mobile Workers, to see if there was a disconnect between what support was being offered to expats and what they felt would actually benefit them throughout their assignment.  

The communications gap 

We found that 82% of expats felt supported when they had a health issue, but they consistently weren’t aware of the full range of benefits on available to assist them. What’s even more revealing is the fact that HR directors knew, in every category asked, a great deal more than the assignees about the benefits available.  

If we dive a bit deeper, it became clear that the most commonly offered benefits were travel insurance (64%), accommodation costs (62%) and international health insurance (58%). Yet for expats, the benefits they wanted the most were international health insurance (39%), income protection (38%) and accommodation costs (34%).  

How to close the gap 

For businesses, focusing on communication will have a greater effect than they may realise. After all, the differences in understanding of available benefits is something that can be clarified and dealt with.  

If employees aren’t aware of what’s available to them, this could be perceived as a lack of support, and in extreme circumstances even contribute to the placement ending. Likewise, if they aren’t drawing on the benefits provided, employers aren’t reaping any rewards and are wasting money. These can both cause major problems for any employer.  

So, what should you focus on? 

Earlier research we commissioned  has shown that assignments are being designed with more of a focus on employees’ lifestyle ambitions. This is a step in the right direction, but further work is needed to ensure the wants and needs of assignees are being met.  

Listen to what is being asked  

We’ve seen already that international health insurance is the most valued benefit for international assignees, however, it is only the third-most commonly offered benefit.  Listening to what is being asked for is an easy win, ensuring happier, healthier expats and then in turn, more successful assignments.  

Make it flexible  

Each employee has a unique set of requirements and expectations when it comes to their benefit requirements. As an employer, recognising these and providing the right support, can help assignees make the most out of their time on assignment, so if, and when, challenges arise they feel supported and ready to face them.  

We found that a quarter (24%) of employees are left having to select their benefits from a pre-set list, and only 29% are offered the opportunity to negotiate the benefits they receive. It seems there is still a heavy reliance on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to benefits for internationally based employees.  

Perhaps put in place a more flexible healthcare package that allows for an assignee to choose which benefits would be best for them.  

Check in regularly  

In our research, we discovered that two-thirds (64%) of companies carried out a review of the assignment at least every six months.  

How often do you check in with your assignees? How often do they come forward to raise a concern? In all cases, better communication, and action off the back of that communication, can help everyone involved, both financially and emotionally. I know from my own experience living as an expat that working around the globe can be hugely rewarding, but it does come with challenges and requires a great deal of planning.  

What HR managers do to accommodate and listen to the needs of an assignee, before they make the move, makes a huge difference. As leaders, we must constantly be seeking ways to create an inclusive, productive and supportive work environment. The relationship between HR mobility managers and expats is essential and addressing any gaps in communication will put your business in a better position for success.  



AOC Insurance Broker Launches A Partnership With Mission Internationale To Support Professionals Around The World

AOC Insurance Broker is a marketplace of more than 25 insurers that allows expatriates and professionals to compare international health insurance in order to access the protection they need according to their destinations.

Recently, they partnered with Mission Internationale, another marketplace for connecting international experts / consultants and business leaders wishing to expand abroad.

A partnership focused on supporting professionals:

Like AOC Insurance Broker, Mission Internationale shares the human values ​​of diversity, in a multicultural and multidisciplinary spirit. A true exchange and information platform, this marketplace is based on a dual objective:

  • On the one hand, it allows experts of international support to showcase their talents to business leaders with ambitions abroad, to highlight their different capacities, to promote them throughout the world and to generate new sources of income.
  • On the other hand, it allows companies with projects abroad, particularly SMEs / SMIs and ETIs, to seek, find and select reliable and competent consultants around the world, to guide them successfully.

With more than 15 years of experience, Mission Internationale creates the conditions for trust between companies and experts / consultants. It is therefore natural that the two marketplaces have entered into a partnership to support these professionals from all over the world.

Whether you are an international expert or a business leader:

Discover Mission Internationale and create an account on the marketplace

... resulting from a desire to offer effective solutions.

The origin of this partnership stems from Mission Internationale’s commitment to educating its users on the importance of subscribing to travel insurance. AOC Insurance Broker jointly wanted to make a contribution by guaranteeing suitable cover: the AOC Business Travel Insurance offer.

It is a professional travel insurance to deal with unforeseen events and incidents that may occur before and during your journey abroad. In particular, it allows you to benefit from a set of guarantees in all areas: coverage of medical and hospital costs, assistance and rescue, insured professional equipment and personal effects, etc.

This partnership is therefore part of a logic of offering international experts and business leaders viable solutions on all continents that meet everyone's requirements. To highlight your expertise or to develop internationally, think about the opportunities offered by Mission Internationale  and protect yourself effectively with AOC Insurance Broker.

About Mission Internationale

Mission Internationale is a marketplace which facilitates business relationships between experts and business owners who wish to develop their activities abroad. Boasting a powerful professional network in several international markets and accredited by public institutions, as BPI France and Business France, Mission Internationale is the new trusted partner both for consultants and entrepreneurs who would like to achieve with success their export development project. 

About AOC Group (AOC Insurance Broker & Think Insurtech)

AOC Insurance Broker/Think Insurtech (LF Finance SAS) is a comparator & a software publisher specialized in PMI & IPMI with a SaaS Platform to manage A to Z the distribution of medical insurance (Individual/families - Corporate - Community module - Compliance - Travel Insurance API) in a global and connected environment. We offer a comprehensive approach and process in working with clients to place both international and domestic healthcare cover including group life and protection income.




Bupa Arabia Launches New International Health Insurance Plan Covering Members Anywhere Around The World

Bupa Arabia has announced launching a new International Health Plan for members to have access anywhere, anytime to a hospital or healthcare professionals, in Saudi Arabia or even when they are travelling abroad.  The 'International Health Plan' is Bupa Arabia's first international single card plan for members to cater to their global healthcare needs.

The 'International Health Plan' provides access to over 1.2 million healthcare providers in 190 countries when the Bupa insurance card is presented. It empowers its members to access elective or emergency treatments abroad whenever they need it.

The 'International Health Plan' is targeted to achieve many of the benefits to the beneficiaries wherever they go for business or leisure, with immediate coverage for preventative tests, maternity cases, dental and optical, cancer treatment, chronic diseases, and more with coverage reaching up to tens of millions of dollars.

"With the rise in the number of Saudis and Expats travelling abroad for business and pleasure, along with the increase in foreign investors and business representatives coming into the Saudi business field, the necessity of expanding our coverage internationally has become extremely apparent." said Tal Nazer, CEO of Bupa Arabia.

"People's lifestyles are constantly changing, especially in Saudi Arabia," CEO Nazer continued, "and we must be fast on our feet to meet the demands for new health coverage plans that these changes are generating. Whether a person is a frequent traveler for business or pleasure outside the Kingdom, a familiar and reliable international health insurance plan is indispensable, so making Bupa Arabia your insurance partner is a smart decision."

This innovative product is a result of the fruitful partnership between Bupa Arabia and Bupa Global, which possesses more than 70 years of experience in international healthcare across more than 190 countries around the globe.


Globality Health Continues UK Market Expansion With Appointment Of New UK Regional Sales Director

Globality Health, the international medical insurer with a special focus on expatriates is excited to announce the appointment of Mr. Gavin Royston, as UK regional sales director.

With a wealth of iPMI industry experience spanning over 13 years, including 8 years at Bupa and 4 years posted as an expatriate in Hong Kong, Gavin brings extensive international experience developing private medical insurance markets across Europe and Asia. Specifically appointed to develop the UK medical insurance market, Gavin will be based in the London office of Globality Health.

"Gavin has proven expertise in strategic planning, multi-channel distribution and managing sustainable profitable growth. We are excited to welcome him to the team and continue our UK market expansion" commented Gregor Schulte, CCO of Globality Health.

The news of the appointment breaks as Globality Health continue to invest significant resources that will improve internal processes, delivering a contemporary system designed to meet customer needs.

Gavin added, "Having lived and worked as an expatriate I have learnt to understand what expatriates really need and want when it comes to healthcare overseas. I'm looking forward to applying those lessons learnt and take Globality Health to the next level in the UK iPMI market."


Globality Health is the international health insurer with a special focus on expatriates. People who study, live or work abroad are assured that their health is always in good hands, no matter where they are.

With more than 80 years of experience in health insurance, we provide our customers the convincing competence of an international network of assistance and service partners. Under the Munich Health brand, Munich Re pools its primary insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related services in international healthcare business. Over 3,000 experts at locations worldwide use this wealth of knowledge to offer our international clients innovative solutions, individual consulting and services.

For more information visit the Globality Health micro website on iPMIM, click here.







Beware The Costs Of Tax-Free UAE

A rebounding property market and rising education fees can erode benefits of zero income tax for professional expats in the United Arab Emirates. New rules have put property purchase out of reach for many professional expats, and the rental market is heating up. Education fees are a source of financial stress, as the UAE continues to be one of the world’s most expensive international schooling destinations.

Millions of expatriates work in the United Arab Emirates, attracted by a dynamic jobs market and the promise of tax-free income. But those expecting to pocket the tax break could be in for a surprise, according to a new report and documentary by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Friends Provident International.

UAE Expats and the Bottom Line finds that a range of costs of living challenges eat into the extra income of professional expats—with property and education standing out. In property, new rules introduced to cool the market have increased the size of down payments needed to buy larger properties, pushing more expats into the rental sector.

In some districts of Dubai, rents have risen by over 10% a quarter, while prices for some high end accommodation have returned to the 2008 peak. In Abu Dhabi, rents rose by 10% in the first quarter of 2014. While top end accommodation prices in the UAE favourably with the likes of London and New York, they sit atop a very different—and more polarised—market. In the UAE, there is a dearth of mid-range properties, effectively forcing many expats to take pricier accommodation than they otherwise would.

Education is a second big challenge, with fees set to rise again this year by between 1.7% and 3.5%—and some schools seeking increases of up to 7%. As competition for jobs in the UAE intensifies, some employment packages are losing perks such as education benefits. The cost of education has made some expatriates reconsider the length of their stay in the UAE, especially as fees ratchet up at secondary-school level. Combined with the array of charges, fees and indirect taxes, the real cost of living in the UAE can challenge the unprepared expat.

Adam Green, editor of the report, said, “While the UAE does still offer high salary packages and zero income tax, expats should not assume they are going to simply pocket the difference of the tax break, with everything else staying equal. The cost of property and school fees are among the biggest challenges, but utilities, charges and indirect taxes can all add up. Expats who plan to save money while here need to do their sums before making the leap”.

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