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iPMI Magazine Speaks with Mr. Christopher Percival, Director, HealthCare International

iPMI Magazine Speaks with Mr. Christopher Percival, Director, HealthCare International

Christopher has been a Director of HealthCare International since 2004 and prior to that held senior positions within the Banking and Financial Services industry in London. He is recognised, fully qualified and authorised by the Financial Services Authority in the UK and has over 25 years experience in the industry. HealthCare International has an energetic, dynamic and successful team, with more than 35 years’ experience in the Global International Health and Private Medical Insurance arena.

HealthCare International is a specialist provider of global private health and related personal insurances, designed to provide not just the basic health cover, but also a wide range of benefits for expat employees and families. HealthCare International’s renowned HealthCare and Risk Management experience has brought to the market a comprehensive, transparent and easy to understand range of private international medical and life insurance solutions. HealthCare International is constantly seeking to refine and improve their solutions and to build successful client relationships wherever possible.

Please provide an overview of your role at Healthcare International, its infrastructure, and core business products and services?

I am fortunate to work within a really experienced team and I have been a Director of HealthCare International since 2004. Prior to HealthCare International I held senior positions within the Banking and Financial Services industry in London. HealthCare International pride themselves in offering a suite of specialist and innovative products which include comprehensive Private Medical Insurance, Travel Insurance, Life Assurance and Income protection for the global expatriate market for both the Personal and Corporate client sectors whilst ensuring members the highest standards of service at affordable levels. HCI has a substantial Broker Client base of which my team and I look after.

What current trends exist in the expatriate health and travel insurance markets, and what is your company doing to maximize on these opportunities?

The variables in an expatriate life cycle and in the changing circumstances of an individual are many, and we are in the business of providing International Medical Insurance and expatriate assistance in the form of Travel Insurance, International Life and Income Protection, both directly and indirectly. For over 35 years, and during this time have responded to the need for flexible insurance cover and adapting to the protocol of the destination country. Our product development is the key to our success and each year we are able to analyse data and world trends in terms of health care and, along with personal feedback from our clients, improve our plans and benefits where necessary to deliver the most comprehensive cover available. Innovation is a key consideration for us. Technological advancements mean that we are continually monitoring and evaluating developments in the market that will allow us to communicate better with our clients or to manage their policies and personal data even more efficiently.

While we feel our delivery times are excellent in areas such as policy administration and claims processing, if there is a way to improve the service that we provide to our clients, we will be sure to investigate it and to apply it to our industry. Ultimately, healthcare insurance is not something that a client wants to worry about. A company wants to feel comfortable that they are catering to the needs of their employees by providing the best possible benefits and cover. They also want to feel secure in the knowledge that the company they have selected to work with is able to do this. Historically, HCI have not specialised in indigenous populations, but this is very much on the agenda.

What key industries represent the core focus of your expatriate insurance business?

Until recently we have majored in the individual and the small corporate sector of the market. The expatriate movement is growing significantly and we find the majority of our policy holders are in the industries of finance, teaching and natural resources such as oil, gas, and mining. These industry growth trends tend to be grouped in particular areas internationally, but ultimately you will always find expatriates based at different levels in their various industries and our plans and solutions cater for high level individuals as well as for core/bottom line employees - , so we are well equipped to respond to sophisticated needs as well as large claim events.

What emerging industries represent good market potential & growth rates for your products and services? Can you explain the geographical markets in which you operate, and the present challenges your organisation faces there?

Aside from the obvious growth areas in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, we are always pleasantly surprised to hear from a broker who has recommended HCI and feels strongly about the opportunity in their specific market that we can cater to, as often, smaller pockets of incremental business is overlooked in an effort to focus on growth rather than the quality of niche markets. It would be easy to turn this answer into a summary of world trends in industry and expatriate growth, however, what remains essential to us is our relationships that we have with our supporting brokers and existing companies, many of whom refer new business to us. Furthermore, industries such as construction, technology and financial services will always provide us with consistent business growth.

What emerging markets require expatriate health insurance and services, and how do you adapt your services and policies for the new markets and industries?

Everyone is aware of the emerging expatriate markets in Europe and the Middle East, and indeed industries and opportunities are highlighted in Russia and Asia. With more and more countries closing their doors to expatriates’ medical needs, companies like ours need to fill the gap. The trend today is linking closely with local companies who have vast knowledge of local rules and regulations whilst creating successful strategic partnerships. We are already equipped to provide an expatriate with comprehensive and easily managed policies in the health, travel insurance, life and income protection sector. Trends in world industry growth and the location of this growth may shift, but we are there! Wherever the expatriate may be, our policies are designed to be flexible. Introducing local claims administration teams and services in particular, can be done at the request of large corporate groups or a large expatriate presence, and in this way we will continue to strongly align ourselves with both local brokers and international companies, reinforcing local confidence and claims control.

Can you name some key clients, and provide an overview of the type of health insurance solutions they require?

With respect to clients and brokers, due to confidentiality we are unable to name specifics. We look after international plans for some of the largest operations worldwide which include international pharmaceutical agencies, school and educational institutions, as well as those leaders in emerging industries like sports professionals and VIPs. Our focus is on personal service, the speed of this service, and ultimately, customer satisfaction. Every client has their unique circumstances, and our policies and procedures are designed to respond to a variety of needs. We are continually evaluating the market and our operations to ensure that our knowledge, expertise and service best aligns with their requirements. A large part of this relies on open communication between the client and ourselves, and while we believe that our system design and technology is one of the more advanced available to service our client base, without the input from our business partners and choosing to listen to the feedback from our customers, we would not have policy holders as satisfied as our research shows us they are.

How can Healthcare International support and manage the life cycle of an expatriate, mobile and remote workforce?

When evaluating a client and their personal circumstances there are a number of aspects to consider such as age, profession, current health and health needs, work circumstances and destination. A client may require a stand-alone policy, or may have to consider the needs of his or her spouse and dependents. Or they may intend to start a family. Our plans are designed to meet the needs as a person’s life progresses through different and personal stages and circumstances.

For example a British expatriate who is based in China. He joins us at the start of his career, working for a particular company. He regularly travels to other areas of the world during the course of his job, and may be relocated and have a new country of residence. During the course of his career he marries, and he and his wife start a family. They then go from job to job, and country to country. Years later he retires, his children leave home, and he and his wife settle permanently in a foreign country. Assuming this client remains an expatriate throughout, we are able to cater for his International Medical Insurance, Travel Insurance, and Life and Income Protection needs. While we would assist the client to evaluate the plan benefits on the occasion of his annual renewal, the majority of his changing circumstances will be accommodated in the same way throughout his guaranteed cover for life with HCI.

The primary variable is whether a client requires cover for longer than our 90 day emergency cover in the USA on a policy that is essentially excluding USA cover. A client would need to select a plan to include the USA as part of his cover otherwise he would not be covered for full benefits in the USA. Due to the high cost of medical treatment in the USA, it is necessary to select a policy with a premium that factors this in. All his other personal factors are negligible, which is due to the simplicity of eliminating restrictions relating to service providers. The structure of our plans means that a client has the freedom to travel or move to virtually any destination of their choice, and their policy circumstances will remain the same. In other words, we do not have the need to inform them of our local networks in the area, or to advise them of where they may or may not seek treatment. The client comes first – we do not want to compromise the best possible treatment, and thus we provide them with freedom of choice.

We find that this is of huge benefit to our clients, as many may have a personal or family doctor that they would prefer to use, or they may be referred to a treatment facility or doctor by colleagues who have experienced a particularly high level of assistance. We believe that the level of comfort that a client has is to know that treatment comes first, rather than having the hassle of having to go out of their way instead of using their nearest facility, wherever they may be in the world.

How would your International Expatriate Health Insurance Plan, support consistent cover for the life cycle of the employee and family?

Once an expatriate and family have been accepted onto a HealthCare International policy, they are guaranteed cover for life while their period of coverage remains unbroken and they remain expatriates. It is a fact of life that circumstances may change and work requirements can be unpredictable, and rather than having the complications associated with a change in location affecting a network of service providers and having to update details on our systems to cope with a change in their treatment area, we have designed our policies to make this as efficient and client-friendly as possible. A client is free to choose where to receive their treatment and with whom. As long as it is a recognised medical facility or service provider of the country that they are in, and providing the claim is within the benefit level, we are happy to accept the claim or to receive a claim directly from the service provider. Thus, clients are free to travel or relocate without needing to consult with us except to update their contact details. By removing the need for procedural requirements related to networked doctors and hospitals, we are able to put clients’ needs first and provide them with an International Insurance policy that has as little chance for error and frustration as possible.

What services do you offer besides travel, health and expatriate insurance cover i.e. medical consultation, employee assistance programs, medical and travel assistance, travel warnings, cultural training etc?

A HealthCare International policy holder is paying to have security in knowing he has someone who will take care of his Health Insurance needs efficiently. We deliver a service that is personal and we are approachable 24/7. Our claims department is fully trained to be able to process and work with foreign claims. Clients can refer to us for information on local service providers and for assistance in arranging and authorising their treatment. The combined experience of our claims team means a wealth of information from people who are always on hand to assist the policy holder. We organise help in an emergency, and policy benefits include flight arrangements home in the event of the death of a loved one. Insuring an expatriate is not just providing medical benefits and cover, it means realistically assessing what eventualities may affect them. Benefits like paying for accommodation in the event of a parent or child being hospitalised for a specific length of time, are small things that are important to the individual should it occur. It’s not something that they are aware of or may think of here and now, but chances are high that this may occur, and it is our job to provide the services and to consider those unexpected events. A client is placing not only his premium, but also his faith and trust in us.

Are you in a position to offer everything under one roof, to cover all the expatriates healthcare requirements?

Yes. We are one of the few companies that are able to do this on an individual and corporate level with bespoke schemes for the larger corporate. With the strength of major re-insurers behind us we are secure in our operation and development, and are able to provide almost anything that the individual or corporate entity requires. We are not restricted in our development and plan structures, as are some of the larger competitors in the market.

Do you offer EAP (employee assistance programs) and if so can you explain the key features and benefits of this service?

While HCI is a smaller company, this remains one of our greatest strengths as we are able to assist our policy holders in many areas. With regards to EAP, these are individually tailored programs and subject to company type, location and size, and with the systems and technology we have, almost anything is possible.

What support do you offer to enable a corporation to guarantee a seamless transition?

We are comfortably equipped to manage a seamless transition of most company schemes. We are able to match terms and tailor packages - in fact, anything that the employer requires for his staff. A seamless transition from an existing insurance provider or indeed, self administered scheme, into HealthCare International is subject to the information, communication and systems of the corporate company. With modern technology and our recent investment in this sector we have installed a new and comprehensive system – literally one of the most advanced in Europe – we are well placed to manage any transfer of business. Because we do not restrict a member to a particular network of doctors or hospitals, we do not need them to familiarise themselves with this or have any particular procedures for them to follow, other than normal authorisation and claims requirements. Emphasis rests on our office based team and claims team being available 24 hours a day telephonically or via e-mail, to enable us to assist with any specific queries.

What is the strategy to develop Healthcare International in the future?

Our aim is to continue to remain flexible, based on the needs of our existing policy holders and to continue to exceed their expectations when it comes to service delivery. As a company, we are committed to our personal approach and concern for our clients. We are excited about the challenge to continually improve our products, and have a structured business expansion programme. We feel confident that we are ahead of the pack in terms of service and international insurance solutions, and have our eye firmly set on existing and future markets that can benefit from our services and products.

iPMI Magazine Speaks with Mr. Christopher Percival, Director, HealthCare International

Contact Healthcare International

Company: Healthcare International

Address: UK Administration, 160 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge. London SW3 1HW, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 7590 8800

Fax: +44 (0)20 7590 8815

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Insurance, Expat Insurance, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance, Healthcare, Private Medical Insurance, International Private Medical Insurance

Healthcare International Full Buyers Guide Listing on iPMI Magazine



Latest Egypt Travel Intelligence

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths.

Travel and Medical Insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

In view of continued unrest and the evolving political situation in Egypt, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Egypt except for resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in Red Sea governorate (including Hurghada). In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab; (ii) the St Catherine’s Monastery World Heritage Site; (iii) road travel between the Red Sea resorts; (iv) road travel from the Red Sea resorts to St Catherine’s Monastery approaching from the east; and (v) transfers between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh.

The FCO do not advise against the use of Cairo airport as a transit stop providing you do not leave the airport grounds. There have been access problems on some of the roads to Cairo airport, chiefly Saleh Salem Road. If you are already in a part of Egypt where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have a pressing need to remain.

If you decide to remain in Egypt, you should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg your hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to your personal safety, particularly in the larger cities.

You should avoid crowds. You should follow the regulations set by the local authorities and obey curfews. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times.

Protests and demonstrations

In Cairo on 14 August Egyptian security forces ended sit-in protests at Nahda Square close to Cairo University in Giza and at Rabaa Al-Adaweya mosque in Nasr City.

This resulted in at least 500 deaths. Violent clashes also occurred near Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen, Cairo. On 17 August there were further violent clashes in Ramses Square and at the Al Fatah Mosque between protesters and security forces. Demonstrations planned for the afternoon of Sunday 18th August, including outside the Constitutional Court in Maadi and Roxy Square in Heliopolis were cancelled by the organisers because of security concerns.

There have been demonstrations in other parts of Egypt, including Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor, some of which have turned violent. Further demonstrations are likely and could take place in any part of the country. Army and security forces have been deployed in anticipation of further protests and rallies in the coming days. Train services across Egypt are suspended. A curfew was declared on 14 August between 7pm and 6am local time.

This is expected to continue for several weeks. The governorates affected by this are Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, South Sinai (except for Sharm el Sheikh, Taha and Dahab) North Sinai, Suez, Behera, Minya, Assiut, Souhag, Beni Suef, Ismailia, Qena and Fayoum. A national state of emergency has been declared for Egypt for a period of 1 month. You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Political and security situation

Red Sea Resort areas

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas. There have been no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt In Hurghada on 14 August there were some violent clashes, in an area away from tourist resorts. One man was killed.

On 16 August there was a demonstration near the marina area. You are strongly advised to follow the advice of the local authorities and avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protestors.


There is a high threat from terrorism.

Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners.

Travel and Medical Insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.


Nominations open for The BIBA Young Broker of the Year Award 2014

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is inviting nominations for the 2014 BIBA Young Broker of the Year Award. The Award, which carries a cash prize of £1,500 along with an Industry Training Programme (courtesy of the Broker Academy), is now in its thirteenth year and is designed to recognise young brokers for their outstanding performance and encourages commitment to the future professionalism of the insurance industry.

The Award will be presented on 14 May at the 2014 BIBA conference, which is being held at Manchester Central on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 May. Award judges say they are looking to reward a rising star who has made a valuable contribution for the benefit of their company. To be eligible, the young broker should be able to demonstrate excellent performance, initiative, team spirit, and personal progression and professional commitment to broking.

Steve White, BIBA Chief Executive, said: “BIBA is proud to recognise the emerging talent in the broking sector and we actively encourage members to nominate their young achievers for this prestigious award. We are exploring how BIBA can play a larger part in supporting the development of the next generation of broking leaders and this award is an integral part of that support”. Entries should be submitted to the appropriate BIBA region, and the regional winners will then be put forward for the national award. The national award judges are: Graeme Sutton CII, Grant Scott, R A Cowen & Partners Ltd; Neil Grimshaw, Ravenhall Risk Solutions Ltd; Stephanie Butterick Giles Insurance Brokers, Ian Jerrum Searchlight Solutions, Andy Thornley and Kirsty Wingrove, BIBA. The deadline for entries is Friday 7 March 2014.

Brokers wishing to nominate an individual for this award are advised to contact Kirsty Wingrove on 020 7397 0224 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


April UK Bridges Private Medical Insurance Generation Gap

Leading health insurance specialist April UK has joined up with Cardiff Metropolitan University in an effort to bridge the growing generation gap in the insurance industry. The problem was underlined at a high powered summit earlier this week where delegates from the insurance sector were warned about the potential consequences of PMI being regarded as something only older people were interested in.

April UK Marketing Manager Isaac Lam said delegates at the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries’ summit had been urged to attract a new generation of customers in the under 40 age bracket - or risk relying on an ever-shrinking market share. He said: “Companies were warned in the starkest possible terms about the consequences of failing to address the growing age gap in the insurance industry and urged to ensure that at least 20 per cent of their customers were in the under 40 bracket. “We have been targeting the younger age groups for some time through our successful sports PMI policies but we have now come up with a new package aimed specifically at students – from both sporting and academic backgrounds.”

The new policy has been formulated in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University and will be rolled out to Freshers this year.

Isaac Lam said: “The new policy has been formulated to give students a realistic and affordable level of protection at an early stage of their adult life. “We have worked closely with CMU to ensure the package will appeal to students and provide the next generation of customers the industry needs.”

A number of other universities have already expressed a strong interest in their student plan. April UK is already looking to extend the scheme across the country. In the meantime details of the new policy will be handed out to this year’s intake at Cardiff. “As well as its reputation for academic excellence Cardiff is also well known as a sports college and we have already had extensive experience promoting our sports PMI packages to future sports professionals.

“Our future business leaders will quickly discover their future earning power depends on their own health and capability, just as it does for the professional sports person who might have graduated alongside them.”

The policy is for people in full time education only and provides a substantial discount to the cost of a normal adult PMI package, with comprehensive cover for someone aged up to 21 costing £17.09 a month. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, APRIL UK is part of the international APRIL Group headquartered in Lyon, France, which looks after six million policyholders in 37 countries worldwide. The group has a market value in excess of £776 million.


Is Affordable Private Health Insurance the Answer to NHS Failings?

In light of recent news headlines regarding the poor state of some NHS hospitals, Over 50s personal finance comparison site Over50choices announces alternative healthcare solutions with the launch of their new affordable Private Health Insurance comparison tool. As a nation, over the years the majority of people in the UK have been proud of the NHS, a service that has been the envy of other countries. Now as a result of relentless bad press, regarding poor healthcare, hospital super drugs and increased death rates, the quality of service provided really has come into question. Little wonder then that people are looking for alternative solutions.

Over50choices, a personal finance comparison website designed specifically for the Over50s, has a dedicated section on affordable Private Health Insurance, an option for those looking for an alternative to the NHS. It explains all about the different types of cover, how to reduce monthly premiums for people on a budget and provides a comparison service so visitors to the site can compare healthcare plans and be sure to choose the right level of cover for their needs.

Private Health Insurance can be of benefit for those looking to have more control over the treatment they receive. It provides speedy access to specialists and consultants avoiding lengthy NHS queues; more accommodating appointment times arranged to suit the individual; the use of private hospitals which usually includes en-suite rooms with good quality food, TVs and private phones; unrestricted visiting times and access to new drugs and treatment that may not be available on the NHS.

Over50choices Managing Director Ashley Shepherd speaks from personal experience when talking about the benefits of Health Insurance. “Having been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer 3 years ago, I found the support and protection my health insurance gave me invaluable. I was able to explore all the options available to me and had access to one of the countries’ leading urologists, a point I whole heartedly believe was life changing."

Of course Private Healthcare does not negate the need or use of the NHS which still provides emergency support and care for long term illness but it can help people stay in control of their healthcare. We all lead busy lives these days so if we have an illness, the last thing we need is the additional strain and pressure brought on by waiting for appointments, test results and treatments. By speeding up the process with health insurance, life doesn’t necessarily have to come to a standstill.”

The website explains the differences between the main types and different levels of health insurance and how to reduce costs by increasing the excess which is the amount the insured person is prepared to pay towards each claim, agreeing to be treated by the NHS if treatment takes place within certain time frames or by paying a certain percentage of costs. In addition to affordable Private Health Insurance, the website also helps visitors review, compare and buy Over 50s life insurance, car insurance, travel, pet and home insurance, energy suppliers and funeral plans.


African, European And Asian Cities Dominate The Top 10 Most Expensive Locations For Expatriates

Although more European cities dominate the world’s top costliest locations for expatriates, according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey, several cities in Asia are among the top 10 while Luanda holds the number one position. Mercer's 2013 Cost of Living Survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

New York is used as the base city, and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. The difference in cost for these items can be dramatic.

For example the cost of a cup of coffee in Managua, Nicaragua is $1.54 compared to $8.29 in Moscow; a fast food hamburger meal is $3.62 in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, versus $13.49 in Caracas, and a cinema ticket is $5.91 in Johannesburg compared to $20.10 in London. These are but a few examples of the thousands of comparisons to be found in Mercer’s full report that aid employers in setting cost of living and other expatriate allowances. Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed.

The cost of expatriate housing is typically the biggest expense for employers, and it plays an important part in determining the rankings. The Russian capital of Moscow follows Luanda as the second most expensive city because of high costs for rental accommodation and imported goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates commanding a premium. A luxury two bedroom unfurnished apartment rental for one month in Moscow is $4,600 a month or 14 times as much than Karachi. Rounding out the top five most expensive cities for expatriate living, which also have pricey rental accommodations, are Tokyo, the Chad city Ndjamena, and Singapore.

“Recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices have impacted these cities making them expensive,” said Barb Marder, Senior Partner and Mercer’s Global Mobility Practice Leader. “Despite being one of Africa’s major oil producers, Angola is a relatively poor country yet expensive for expatriates since imported goods can be costly. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly." The other cities appearing in Mercer’s list of top 10 costliest cities for expatriates are Hong Kong, Geneva, Bern and Zurich.

According to Ms. Marder, “A recent Mercer global mobility survey shows that all different types of international assignments are on the rise. Given the increasing numbers of business travelers, global ‘commuters’ and longer-term expatriates, companies are keeping a close eye on the cost of living for international assignees in different cities around the world. Organizations need to evaluate the impact of currency fluctuations, inflation, and political instability when sending employees on overseas assignments while ensuring they can facilitate the moves they need to drive the business results by offering fair and competitive compensation packages.” Currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services have affected the cost of expatriate programs as well as the city rankings.

“Overall, the cost of living in cities across parts of Europe has gone up in the ranking as a result of the slight strengthening of local currencies against the US dollar, whereas in Asia about half of the cities went down in the ranking – Japan especially – due to local currencies’ weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer with responsibility for compiling the survey ranking.

Four European cities are among the top 10 most expensive despite moderate price increases in most European countries. Switzerland remains one of the costliest locations for expatriates despite decreasing or stable accommodation costs and a robust Swiss franc. Some African cities rank high in Mercer’s 2013 survey, reflecting high living costs for expatriate employees. In the Americas, cities in South America are the most expensive locations for expatriates.

Some cities dropped in the ranking as a result of local currencies weakening against the US dollar such as Brazilian cities, while others jumped as a result of high inflation on goods and services and rentals. New York, the base city for Mercer’s Cost of Living ranking, is the most expensive city in the United States.

“Overall, US cities either remained stable in the ranking or have slightly decreased due to the movement of the US dollar against the majority of currencies worldwide,” explained Ms. Constantin-Métral. ”Yet several cities, including New York, moved up in the ranking due to a rise in the rental accommodation market.” Canadian cities generally moved down in the ranking this year as a result of a slight decrease of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar, and because the prices of goods and services increased at a lower pace than in New York.


Bupa And AIG Launch Travel Insurance Agreement

Bupa and AIG have announced a new deal to join forces in developing a range of new products and services for the travel insurance market. The agreement brings the benefits of two major brands to customers - Bupa’s healthcare expertise and AIG’s market leadership in travel insurance and assistance services. It will see the provision of a suite of enhanced products and services covering the corporate, SME, and individual sectors.

Bupa is keen to expand its travel insurance business and believes that the partnership will enable it to better meet customers’ demand for high-quality travel insurance. The agreement brings customers the quality of Bupa-branded travel insurance and the reassurance of AIG’s worldwide international assistance and medical evacuation.

Tony Wood, sales director for Bupa Health Funding, said: "This is an exciting development and will allow us to offer a wider range of products that will appeal to more customers, at a range of price points. "We believe this partnership is also good news for intermediaries by helping to expand their business as well as ours." Bupa and AIG will work together to roll-out the new services and products for the travel insurance sector over the next two years.

Michel Faucher, AIG UK Head of Accident and Health, said: “Through this innovative agreement, AIG can continue to increase its market leading position in the travel insurance market. Customers can benefit from AIG’s insurance expertise as well as our customer assistance capability through our TravelGuard subsidiary which offers support 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, before or during a trip.”


Bupa Appoints Patricia Hewitt As Board Director

Bupa, the international healthcare company, today announced the appointment of Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt to its board as a non-executive director. Ms Hewitt joins Bupa following an extensive parliamentary, government and business career. She was MP for Leicester West for 13 years, holding the positions of Secretary of State for Health between 2005 and 2007 and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Cabinet Minister for Women between 2001 and 2005.

Before joining the Cabinet, she was Minister for e-Commerce and Small Business, and Economic Secretary to the Treasury. Ms Hewitt left Parliament in May 2010. Ms Hewitt is the senior independent director of BT Group plc, non-executive director of Groupe Eurotunnel SA and chair of the UK India Business Council, an organisation that promotes trade between the two countries.

Lord Leitch, chairman, Bupa, said: “Patricia’s extensive government and international business experience will bring valuable insight to Bupa as we deliver on our vision to make a positive difference to health systems, reaching millions more customers around the world.” Ms Hewitt joins the Bupa Board on 1 July 2013. Bupa has no shareholders and reinvests its profits to provide more and better healthcare.


Allianz In Asia With Strong First Half-Year 2013 Results

Allianz continued its successful course in Asia in the first six months of 2013. Property and Casualty as well as the Life and Health segments contributed to the very solid growth. Total revenues increase 4.9 percent to 3.8 billion euros, from 3.7 billion euros compared to the same time last year. Operating profit booked a 34 percent rise to 289 million euros from 215 million euros over the period.

Commenting on this performance Manuel Bauer, member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE, responsible for Insurance Growth Markets said: “The consistently good results reflect a combined impact of our global strength and local expertise. Our employees have demonstrated dedication and commitment to keeping our customers’ needs paramount. The strong performance for the past six months was built upon the results we achieved last year. We continued to witness growth in our core markets and are growing profitably and sustainably in the region.” “Half way through 2013, the economic climate remains challenging. We have been agile to respond quickly to the dynamic environment so that we can deliver sustainable results for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders,” Manuel Bauer added.

Property and Casualty develops strongly

The Property and Casualty business achieved strong growth. The segment recorded an increase in gross premiums written of 9 percent to 703 million euros, and operating profit improved to 82 million euros. Allianz in Malaysia maintained its position as market leader, collecting 251 million euros in premiums, an increase of 19 percent compared to the same time last year. Its operating profit climbed by 23 percent to 36 million euros. India is the largest property and casualty market for Allianz in Asia. For the first six months in 2013, operating profit in India rose to 42 million euros due to an improved underwriting result, especially with the dismantling of the Indian Motor Third Party Insurance pool, and favorable investment income.

“Pursuing growth in personal lines with a focus on motor business proved to be a successful strategy for us. We will accelerate the distribution growth in focus markets including Indonesia, Thailand and China. Meanwhile, ourflagship operations in Malaysia and India serve as centers of competence,” commented Rangam Bir, Regional General Manager of Allianz Asia-Pacific.

Life and Health insurance delivers a solid result

Despite strong competition and persistent low interest rates, Allianz life business in Asia delivered a solid half year result. Total premiums rose 7 percent to 3,128 million euros from 2,983 million euros at the end of June 2012. Operating profit remained stable at 207 million euros.“Our key to success is to balance profitability and risk while maintaining market position,” commented Rangam Bir.

South East Asiamarkets continued to be a major contributor to Allianz Asia business. Operating profit in Indonesia surged 55 percent to 38 million euros due to a successful product mix and higher investment income. Malaysia also showed a strong performance, with operating profit surging 23 percent to 10 million euros. In Thailand statutory premiums were up 12 percent and amounted to 289 million euros while operating profit was up 8 percent to 41 million euros. A similar positive development was also seen in other markets including Taiwan and China. Allianz achieved robust growth in Taiwan, as statutory premiums increased by 102 percent to 1,006 million euros. This growth was largely contributed to by strong sales momentum across bancassurance, agency and broker channels and a successful start to Allianz’s partnership with HSBC bank in Taiwan. In China statutory premiums surged 60 percent to 147 million euros due to strong performance from the bancassurance channel and an increased demand for unit-linked and annuity products. Operating profit in India rose 18 percent to 105 million euros while statutory premiums decreased by 12 percent to 482 million euros mainly due to adverse market conditions for unit-linked products and uncertainty in local regulations. Strengthening the distribution network is one of Allianz’s strategic priorities.

Last year, Allianz signed a new 10-year exclusive bancassurance partnership with HSBC in Asia which was successfully launched on January 1, 2013. Rangam Bir commented on the partnership: “We will continue to innovate and expand the product range in accordance to HSBC’s customers’ needs.”


Despite the disparity among economies in Asia and the uncertain global economic outlook, Allianz sees the strategic importance of the Asia region. Manuel Bauer added: “We see further profitable growth potential in Asia. This is based on increasing wealth, rapidly aging populations and the widening gap in old-age provision. In addition to this, the insurance penetration remains low in the region. We are strongly positioned to capture these opportunities. Allianz has already established a competitive footprint in Asia. To meet customer needs, we will continue to invest in our product offerings, and expand channel capacity.”


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