Posted on Nov 06, 2012 by Sergio Ulloa
Award winning insurer InterGlobal has released its premium increases for 2013, and the news is sure to put even wider smiles on the already happy faces of current InterGlobal customers.
Their announcement comes hot on the heels of similar disclosures by industry giants AETNA and Bupa, who have both hiked their premiums by about 10 percent. Allianz Worldwide Care have also just announced their premium increase of 5% for the year 2012/13 (more details 2013 premium adjustments for Bupa and AETNA).
InterGlobal's 2013 increase comes into force from the 1st Jan 2013 and is well below the 5 year historic trend for medical inflation in the section which averages 11%. The adjustment applies on their UltraCare product for all territories except China and Indonesia.
The news gets even better; optional maternity, travel and personal accident plans will have no increase, while International Student plans and UltraCare policies in China will also not undergo any premium increase.
All these zero percent increases really make for excellent reading, and when one considers the fact that InterGlobal are winners of the 2012 IPMI Cover Excellence Award, it becomes clear that InterGlobal takes the concept of providing value for money very seriously.
Only one book-rated group premium has been raised more than 5 percent, and that is the group rate for the International Schools plans, which will see an 8.5 percent increase in their premiums. Now this might sound like a lot, especially in light of the zero percent increases applied to some other plans, but it isn't. Global private medical insurance inflation for 2012 is currently just under 11 percent, and as we see for Bupa and AETNA, the industry expects premiums to rise in line with inflation. Comparatively speaking, even 8.5 percent is a very favourable increase.
InterGlobal's announcement also bucks their own trend; in 2012 the company's premium increases were a minimum of 10 percent across the board, with some regions like Dubai, Hong Kong and China experiencing premium inflation rates as high as 17.5 percent.
Over the last five years, international medical insurance premiums at InterGlobal have risen by an average of 11 percent, amongst the highest of all health insurance providers sampled in the Globalsurance International Insurance Review
, with higher increases only being seen by IHI at 13 percent and DKV Globailty at 14.3 percent.
InterGlobal explained those significant price hikes over the last 5 years as adjustments to bring territorial premiums in line with each territory's respective risk, and it seems InterGlobal have every intention of staying true to their stated goal of providing unparalleled value after making the necessary adjustments to regional premiums.
Globalsurance is still awaiting clarification on any plan updates or changes to go along with the very welcome premium changes, which will come into effect on 1 January 2013, but analysts expect further improvements in the value proposition by InterGlobal, based on the apparent success of continued efforts to improve key areas in the organization.
According to InterGlobal spokesman Paul Weigall, Group Sales and Marketing Director, their efforts have been focused on three main areas:
1. Improvement in managing local and global medical services providers. Improving the claims handling process, and containing costs by reducing overcharging and unnecessary treatment.
2. Prevention and deterrence of fraud. InterGlobal's in house counter-fraud team seems to have been very effective at reducing the amount of false claims and inflated claims, the costs of which are typically covered by innocent premium paying customers.
3. Internal improvements in efficiency and expense control. Taking a long hard look at costs incurred in providing services to customers, and finding ways to do it more efficiently and cheaply.
Paul Weigall reflects on InterGlobal's pricing decision as, "the result of our operational effectiveness, efficiency and the benefits this has brought to our claims spend."
Mr Weigall goes on to say, "We have worked hard to counteract the impact of medical inflation on 2013 premiums so that our members can continue to enjoy affordable healthcare cover without compromising on medical benefits. Over recent years, we have established high-performance in-house services in key areas of our operations including our own worldwide medical assistance service, claims and counter-fraud teams. This enables us to deliver the high levels of award-winning personal service that we are renowned for, whilst at the same time, managing our costs for the ultimate gain of our members."
InterGlobal seem to be very pleased with how improvements in these key areas are progressing, and the ability to keep premium increases so low, even in light of a slowing global economy, is testament to their commitment to fair pricing. This is even more impressive when one takes into account the challenges of containing increases in costs and widespread corruption in emerging economies like China and the South Eastern Asia region. As the market for private medical services has grown explosively, the costs associated with private medical care have also tended to rise much faster than inflation, driven by increasing demand of a growing Asian upper-middle class.
At the awards ceremony for the Cover Excellence Awards in London recently, Paul Weigall gave some insight into InterGlobal's success, "We try to give the best service to our customers as possible... we listen to our customers and business partners, and try to be flexible, adaptable, and to work with them to get the best possible results."
InterGlobal do seem to be doing something right, Mr Weigall is quick to point out that the insurer has won the award for the fourth year running, and this accomplishment, paired with some really excellent premium increase figures for 2013, surely means an increase in market share and even higher customer satisfaction for next year.