Posted on May 24, 2011 by Sergio Ulloa
Morgan Price International Healthcare has become the latest international private medical insurance provider to respond to rising broker demand and offer full medical underwriting options for individual policyholders.
Morgan Price International Healthcare (Morgan Price) was established in 1999 to offer specialist international health insurance to expatriates working all over the world. Depending on location, Morgan Price plans are underwritten by Europ Assistance Holdings Irish Branch or Generali Worldwide Insurance Company Limited.
Full medical underwriting (FMU) options are now available through Morgan Price's individual GlobalHealth and ExpatHealth insurance plans. These updates are the result of ongoing product development meetings with participating reinsurers as well as extensive feedback on expatriate health policy from the global intermediary market.
The announcement follows Aviva PLC's plans, released earlier this month, to upgrade its international private medical insurance products to better meet the needs of their expanding base of international clients.
Aviva's 'International Solutions' modular private health insurance products now offer flexible coverage options to handle the large discrepancies in cost and quality of healthcare available when living overseas. A recent study conducted by Aviva confirmed that medical coverage issues continue to be a key concern in customers' travel planning.
Most international private medical insurance underwriters have historically sided against providing medical cover for pre-existing conditions because expatriate clients usually will not have access to or the support of the state healthcare system in their new country of residence and employment
to fall back on. While group coverage schemes above a certain size can often be underwritten irregardless of a particular group member's medical history, individuals with pre-existing conditions have been left with few options when looking for coverage, either a policy with those conditions excluded altogether or one which is accepted but only on a moratorium basis.
Morgan Price is now one of a number of international private health insurance providers to offer comprehensive underwriting options. Last year, Bupa International announced plans to offer a similar service, initially through its direct sales channel and then on to licensed intermediaries. Other companies that feature full medical underwriting include DKV Globality and IHI Bupa, the Danish subsidiary Bupa acquired in 2005.
Speaking at the launch of Morgan Price's full medical underwriting options, Jon Carpenter, Managing Director of Morgan Price, detailed how policyholders would be able to access the new service. Morgan Price customers will fill out a medical declaration (either online or in print), which will either result in coverage being confirmed at the normal terms or with the inclusion of a modified benefit or exclusion policy rider. The whole analytical underwriting process is expected to take no more than 1 working day in the majority of cases and "only a little longer" when auxiliary medical information is required.
According to Mr. Carpenter, the addition of full medical underwriting options will provide Morgan Price customers with "much greater certainty" about limits on coverage for any pre-existing conditions at the onset of the policy rather than at the critical claims stage.
Mr. Carpenter further stated that the move to implement more inclusive actuarial processes was a necessary development for Morgan Price. "Moratorium underwriting has worked well for us over the past 10 years, but in these days of greater clarity and transparency in all insurance matters FMU seemed like a natural progression," he said, adding that the conventional practice for the entire expatriate health insurance industry may need to evolve. "Traditionally individual international business has been sold via the moratorium route as it is an immediate sell, but increasingly this is causing issues at the back end where customers expect fast claims turnarounds and payments. If a moratorium policy is being administered properly, then claims stage investigation is common, and this inevitably delays processing and payments while you track back through an expatriate's medical history."
"Underwriting up front might take a little longer but the benefits are in the claims process," Mr. Carpenter concluded.
Insurance Companies Mentioned
Europe's fourth largest insurance company, with more than 300 years of experience in the global insurance industry, Aviva is committed to the safety and satisfaction of its customers. They sell a broad range of insurance products including motor and property insurance, protection and health insurance, business insurance, life insurance and pensions.
Morgan Price is a UK-based specialist international and expatriate health insurance provider for clients around the world with special focus on the Middle East. The company was founded in 1999 as a managing general agent who acts on behalf of international insurers in product design, administration, premium collection and claims handling.