Dubbed as one of the hardest working Health Insurance Brokers in the business, International Private Medical Insurance Magazine speaks with Mr. Olivier LE FAOUDER. Olivier is a certified European insurance broker and the Managing Director of AOC Insurance Broker, a leading Private Medical Insurance Broker with offices in Europe and Asia. AOC Insurance Broker help expatriates and travelers compare the best private medical insurance and international health insurance. AOC Insurance Broker is a member of Groupe Cadre, ranked 18th Insurance Broker in France and represents more than 25 Overseas Insurance Companies.
Please introduce yourself, your business and background in the international expat, travel and health insurance industry:
I’m Olivier LE Faouder and I have a professional background in insurance, corporate consulting and tax. AOC Insurance Broker is a French expat health insurance comparator, with a strong presence in Asia, and part of a broker network group in France. As a comparator it’s our strength to be fully independent towards insurers, so that we can act in the interest of our clients. These days we are setting up a master broker activity with one of our wholesale partners, whilst creating our own international health insurance plans, all to be released early 2013 under the trademark Panda International Expat. We are working closely with our associates Assur Travel, a wholesale provider specialized in International Private Medical Insurance in France, and launching a Third party administrator in Bangkok, with headquarters in Hong Kong.
Also, we provide sourcing to providers in emerging markets like South East Asia, of which we are very familiar with. When we started AOC Insurance Broker, it appeared that even back then, although expats were keen on private health and medical insurance, they found it hard to see clearly the best best private medical insurance plan for them, through the multitude of plans and coverage's available on the market. So from there we went on to be very transparent to our customers about this market. We made comprehensible, side-by-side overviews comparing premiums, detailed benefits and available services in the country of expatriation.
We inform independently and won’t hesitate to give an unfavorable review about certain companies if they don’t seem to be willing to provide long term customer services. Our comparator is a e-commerce platform offering a blend of insurance solutions by our partners as well as our own products. And the success of these products lies within their simplicity and customer interaction like online chat, replies within 24 hours and a continuous follow-up.
What can AOC Insurance Broker do for an Expatriate?
AOC compares 1st Euro/USD expat health insurances complimentary to CFE (social security for French expats) and OSSOM/DOSZ (social security for Belgian expats). We provide our know-how and practical back office experience and act as an intermediary. We feel it’s our duty to provide independent information. I’m a traveler and expatriate more than half the year around like most of our team members. This helps building lots of ‘in the field’ expertise. We’re particularly sensitive for the real delivered services by our providers and not what they might promise.
What Private Medical Insurance Plans are currently proving popular?
International health insurances are community oriented, which I would group basically into a non-anglophone European one, and on the other hand the rest of the world. Both groups’ expectations are different and we feel we are pretty good in responding to their specific needs. We do so by highlighting some key players or providers in specific zones like Asia, then provide our clients comprehensive side-by-side comparisons with practical & legal advice so they're able to take informed decisions instantly. Today we’re convinced that plans should go more local and provide TPA’s nearby in the customer’s country of residence.
What advice may you provide an Expatriate when they are comparing private medical insurance?
We feel we should provide practical, professional advice when comparing private medical insurance for expatriates and travelers. You have to make the client see the reality that in case of a critical emergency medical situation, they need to be able to rely on their health insurance benefits and plan coverage.
Why is it important to compare private medical insurance for Expatriates?
A handful of reasons:
- Benefits and a full understanding of what they really imply
- Stable premium with real management of the cost containment and not accounting administration with bad premium calculation
- Private agreements and the insurer’s general conditions with some parts to avoid
- Service and proactive resources of these providers and assistance companies you know, the public opinion isn’t in favor of insurance companies as they are known to look for escape clauses whenever possible. our role is to inform correctly, so we peeled off these general conditions, highlighted important issues more and where legal terminology, from time to time, turns out to be very blurry, we will question legal back office operations.
How will the cost of expatriate healthcare and expat insurance rise in the coming year and why?
This year premiums increased between 7 and 30% with an average of 15%. In my opinion due to a few reasons:
- The eldest providers and insurers within Asia for instance, they suffer very high increases as they didn't invest in local administration to control medical costs. The pure commercial aspect, premiums, were their main goal, and developing a solid medical provider network was rather neglected.
- Due to successive premium increases they lost clients and this loss on its turn builds up to a higher medical risk.
- Ratio claims/premium go up as well and so again this leads to higher premiums by the insurers. We feel some new key players who are implementing local TPA’s and are in touch with regional customs will be able to control costs.
How can corporations improve and manage the life cycle of their expatriate workforce?
Expatriate Employers should have more confidence in brokers who actually defend their interest because we can can contribute to segment their health plans regionally, as well as life insurance, liability, protection income of employees living abroad.
Over the next 5 years, which geographic markets will represent your core strategic focus, and why?
Emerging markets, in particular South East Asia, South America and the Maghreb. See how insurers are organising themselves, and you understand their and our drive to be involved in these regions, and you actually see a checkerboard of expat health plans. Meanwhile they all try to penetrate into respective local markets step by step.
What role does technology play in your day-to-day operations and within the health, expat or travel insurance plans that you offer?
Very important. Our model has a strong focus on online services B2C and B2B (by our broker network) with, as I mentioned before, in 2013 the implementation of a specific range of health plans designed for SE Asia and our own local TPA. AOC Insurance Broker works with a worldwide healthcare provider network.
Can you talk us through how you select third party service providers?
With our new private medical insurance plans we select those medical providers with whom we should be able to accomplish a win-win situation. Most importantly, we have to smoothen our premiums by time without any considerable increments. This way we build serious credibilty. Actually, it’s all about collaboration.
Last, but by no means least, if you could live anywhere in the world, at land, or at sea, where would it be?
I’m was born next to the sea so my preference goes out to Thailand or Morocco. The latter I’m particularly fond of since more than 15 years, and where I think International Private Medical Insurance will be growing rapidly during the next years.