Posted on Mar 01, 2012 by Sergio Ulloa
Expatriate employees around the world will soon have access to a new highly-flexible international health insurance product. Allianz Worldwide Care and Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers have teamed up to develop a brand new 'Dormancy' policy option, which for the first time will enable Allianz international health insurance policyholders to freeze their individually funded health cover whilst they are enrolled in a separate employer provided company medical insurance policy. These same policyholders will then be given the ability to reactivate their policy at a later date, if they so choose, with no further medical underwriting required. In addition to ensuring continuing coverage over a long period of time, any adverse health conditions the policyholder may have developed while their health insurance plan was paused will be fully covered, up to the existing policy limits, once their plan is reactivated.
The Dormancy option was created by Allianz Worldwide Care
in collaboration with Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers and is now exclusively available to Pacific Prime customers in the Asia-Pacific region
This news is a particularly welcome development for expatriates as it provides a safety net for a highly-mobile community in terms of their future employment and healthcare situations. Compared to a more conventional local workforce, the average expatriate is expected to cycle between three to four jobs every 15 years. As most expatriate employees are offered international medical protection through their company while on assignment overseas, this frequent upheaval from employer to employer can pose significant problems to international families who are looking for a consistent level of health insurance benefits on a globally competitive basis. Previously, if an employee left a company providing them health insurance, their cover would cease soon thereafter, leaving them without medical cover and searching once again for a comprehensive expatriate medical insurance policy. This search for a replacement or stop-gap health insurance plan could often pose its own problems, especially if the expatriate employee developed any medical conditions while enrolled on their previous employer's health coverage. Traditionally, if an expatriate employee developed any serious medical condition under a former employer's plan, like cancer or diabetes for instance, any new health insurance policy they obtained going forward would classify these events as 'pre-existing conditions,' and would consequently not be covered.
Now, with the introduction of a new Dormancy health insurance option, Allianz World Wide Care members no longer have to sacrifice their individual coverage when moving between employer-provided health insurance or, if indeed, they are forced to join a national healthcare scheme while stationed in certain countries overseas. For only 30 percent of their full annual premium, applied on a pro-rata basis, policyholders can park their customized health insurance benefit scheme for up to 5 consecutive years while they receive medical cover through an employer.
The dormancy option ensures that, in the event the expatriate client leaves their company, for whatever reason, they will not have to reapply for health insurance protection but can instead just reactivate their existing, dormant Allianz Worldwide Care policy. During the dormancy period, the policy remains in force but all medical treatment taking place will not be eligible for reimbursement by Allianz. When the policy is reactivated no additional medical underwriting will applied unless a higher level of cover has been selected going forward.
Perhaps most importantly for Allianz Worldwide Care health insurance policyholders, any chronic medical conditions which developed while their plan was suspended will be fully covered once again upon reactivation, subject to the policy's original terms and conditions. This clause looks to address any long term concerns policyholders might have about how ongoing medical conditions or adverse family healthcare history may effect their treatment options going forward. Prior to the development of the dormancy option by Allianz and Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers Co. Ltd, employees who left a company medical insurance plan with documented health issues would find their coverage options severely restricted afterwards.
The chances of an employee receiving coverage for a serious medical condition under an individual or family health insurance plan after their move is traditionally quite low without added riders, such as an exclusion of the condition or a moratorium period. This industry-wide occurrence had been particularly cruel on older expatriate clients, who are both more prone to developing these chronic conditions and, thanks to their experience and senior career positions, more likely to pursue varied job opportunities abroad as well. Many of these more globally-mobile employees were thus often reduced to holding multiple health insurance plans over the course of their careers to cover for each specific change in employment and medical condition overseas. Allianz now can offer a substantial long-term commitment benefit to clients with their Dormancy health insurance option. Expatriate clients can now hold onto a single international health insurance policy for the duration of their working life overseas if they want to. Whether this option and the peace of mind it can bring proves popular with Allianz policyholders of course now remains to be seen.
The introduction of this innovative new insurance option comes on the back of a particularly productive year for the Allianz Group. According to their year end financial report released this past week, the international insurance giant achieved its underlying operating profit targets for 2011 in the face of volatile financial market challenges, stubbornly low interest rates and an unusually high level of natural catastrophe losses. The company's health and life insurance operations have been a particular highlight, achieving€52.9 billion (US$71.1 billion) in statutory premiums in a challenging market environment, the second highest level recorded in company history. The value of their new health and life insurance business meanwhile grew to €940 million (US$1.26 billion) in 2011. The insurer could be set to build upon this strong growth momentum into 2012 if their innovative new international health insurance products, like the dormancy option, prove a success.
Insurance Companies Mentioned
Allianz Worldwide Care
Allianz Worldwide Care is the specialized international health insurance arm of the Allianz Group. Founded in 2000, Allianz Worldwide Care works to provide competitive health insurance products to expatriate clients and their families all around the world. Headquartered in Ireland, Allianz Worldwide Care now has regional offices in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. This robust network provides clients with the most comprehensive support network available.
Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers Co. Ltd
Founded in 1999, Pacific Prime is a leading global international health insurance intermediary with over 60,000 clients worldwide. Pacific Prime works with over 60 prominent international insurance companies out of it's offices offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore to offer a wide variety of health care plans and travel insurance policies to clients - with medical benefit packages including dental, maternity, inpatient, outpatient, specialist consultation services, and many more.