ExpatHealth.org interviewed David Pryor, Senior Executive Director of MediCare International. Pryor shed light on MediCare’s new facility agreement with Catlin, offered tips for expats shopping for health insurance and shared insight on where the international health industry is headed – literally!
Let’s start with MediCare’s place in the expat health insurance market.
We are a specialist at providing health insurance to expatriates of all nationalities and most local business communities – we are also members of the Association of International Medical Insurance Providers (an industry body to which most insurers in the UK and Europe belong). We can provide cover for individuals of any age and insure pretty much all occupations, except military, police and professional athletes. We also offer plans for corporate subscribers.
We take a two-pronged approach to marketing. One is to drive customers to our fully-integrated website, where they can shop for quotes and buy directly. But we also operate as a wholesaler, selling through a recognized network around the world.
And how does the new facility with Catlin tie in to this strategy?
We are an insurance provider, but not an underwriter. We design the plans and then go into the market and find an underwriter – our underwriter is Catlin. Catlin is a composite insurer and was very interested in the international market. There is a huge market for expatriates, there are some 30-40 million expatriates of all nationalities living and working outside their home countries and they need more than just health insurance. Catlin identified an opportunity to market its products to these people through our network.
What are some of these non-medical products?
Life and disability insurance, personal accident insurance, loss of license insurance for pilots and kidnap & ransom insurance. You should see these launched over the next 12 months.
What advice can you offer our expat readers as they shop for health insurance?
Be sure that chronic conditions are covered. For many people who have international cover, that cover ends when a chronic condition emerges. Many expatriates buy based on price but don’t look below the surface.
What challenges do you see the industry confronting over the next few years?
China is still quite a challenge because of the number of steps in the chain needed to do business there. You need someone in China to front the products and comply with local licensing laws, for example. It’s not as straightforward as other Southeast Asian markets that are more mature, such as Singapore and Vietnam, but more and more expatriates are moving there to work.
There has been a lot of talk about China’s new expatriate insurance premium tax. Do you see that going into effect in force?
The issue of insurance premium taxes is something you always have to face sooner or later. But what usually happens in emerging markets is that it takes longer to implement.
So you expect China to remain a kind of “growth play” for the industry?
For years the Middle East has been a mainstay for the industry. But with things so unsettled now the market is not as buoyant as it once was. So yes, I think you will see a number of providers look further east, to countries such as China and India.
Medicare International is a division of LONMAR Global Risks, an independent Lloyd’s broker. It is known for innovative products (MediCare was one of the first health insurers to offer expatriates chronic illness cover and warzone insurance) and quick turnaround on its claims. The company usually settles agreed medical claims within two days. MediCare has clients of more than 86 nationalities living in 114 countries. www.medicare.co.uk