For international health insurers, 2013 will see the continued challenge of offering affordable but comprehensive IPMI plans. A report on healthcare predictions in 2013, from Jelf Employee Benefits, names several reasons for the continuing predicament, including a broadening of mainstream destinations, increasing demand for additional benefits and an increase in the complexity of local markets.
Sarah Dennis, international healthcare director, Jelf Employee Benefits said: “Trading overseas was previously the reserve of larger, well-established businesses but international markets look increasingly appealing to other smaller UK businesses who are feeling the financial strain at home. Therefore a larger number of companies are sending staff to further-flung locations to capitalise on faster-growing economies.”
As demand increase companies will be looking to expand into new countries, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, BRIC, Australia, South America and African regions. The more developed among these nations will have policies that mimic those in other developed countries. On the other hand, some regions will require more sophisticated solutions and provide much more of a challenge for the insurer.
The report also predicts a general “consolidation” of the market as a few genuine worldwide specialists emerge, while other providers will pursue particular regions. As the cost of sending employees abroad continues to rise, the attraction of expanding into new markets will be balanced against the financial consequences.
IPMI policies are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and expensive due to treatment costs, hospital bills and doctors’ fees rising worldwide. The report questions whether the current model of IPMI is “sustainable in the long-term”.
Sarah Dennis continued: “In 2013, employers need to be educated to understand what they are buying and whether they really need it. In one location an all-singing, all-dancing policy may be required but in another, local healthcare may be applicable. Either way, in the IPMI arena, the employers’ duty of care burden is becoming increasingly heavy.”