Posted on Dec 18, 2012 by Sergio Ulloa
In recent months, Integra Global has made some sweeping developments in their services and analysts at Globalsurance, a long-time intermediary for the company, believe that customers will be very pleased about what the international insurer has planned.
Integra Global has typically been a niche player in the international health insurance sector but have continued to develop into a strong brand by offering supportive customer service, strong plan management and an efficient claims process. During the last five years, the company has been able to maintain strong relationships with its clients which has in turn, helped Globalsurance to build and maintain their client base. These new developments will undoubtedly continue to add to this.
Integra Global continuously works to improve its services and has recently focused on the South East Asia region through its expansion of direct settlement networks in some key countries, including Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. This move has been made possible through Integra Global's relationship with Malaysian based Medilink Global, and has enabled Globalsurance's Integra Global customers in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia to be incorporated into their central system. This will now provide customers with a great advantage and will enable policyholders to use their policy card for seamless claims settlements.
Neil Raymond, CEO of Globlasurance, commented: "Insurance providers generally do not appreciate the importance of direct settlement to clients, particularly in countries where the postal system is poor and the banking system slow and expensive to use...Integra Global, as a focused and well organized company is able to see what is really important to medical policyholders and can deliver on this".
The company hopes to continue to implement their goal of 'flexibility and quality of coverage offered by a global policy but with the convenience and customer service of a local plan'. One key achievement on the horizon for the company is that Integra Global will soon be able to offer locally fronted policies for individuals and corporate clients in the Middle East, a region that is considered a new frontier and key market for the international health insurance industry.
Analysts at Globalsurance believe this is a crucial move for companies if they want to grow in the Middle East. The Dubai
market has quickly developed and regulations have increased as a result. Much of the corporate market is already almost completely onshore and Globalsurance analysts believe that it will not be long before all individual and corporate policies will only be open to onshore providers.
This system of offering international health insurance policies through a local provider has been tested and seen success by many leading insurers, including Bupa International and Allianz Worldwide care, who have looked into tapping into the Middle Eastern market. The positive news for Integra Global is that the "onshoring" method can be performed at a relatively low incremental cost. These costs will ultimately affect policyholders and analysts predict that the 'onshoring' of a plan in the Middle East will increase premiums by about 5 to 10 percent.
Mr Raymond commented on the Middle East development: "People often forget how large the expat medical insurance market is in the Middle East and their attention gets drawn to the emerging markets like India, China and Brazil. I think the point is that, for a focused player with a good service track record like Integra Global, opportunities in the Middle East are bigger than anywhere else".
Globalsurance began working with Integra Global in 2010 and the company's ability to continually develop its services and adjust its product offerings to better fit with market demands has always impressed Globalsurance representatives. However, as the new EU Gender Directive comes into force, it is uncertain as to whether this will positively or negatively impact policyholders.
This directive was put into action in December 2012 and declares that EU-based health insurance plan premiums can no longer be adjusted based on a person's gender, which is how Integra Global has previously priced its "Personal Health" and "Premier Health" policies. Several issues could occur with creating gender neutral rates, but Integra Global has taken unique steps with hopes of overcoming these potential issues.
Four new plans have been developed to independently focus on individuals and families. The YourLife and PremierLife plans cater to expat individuals and couples whereas the YourFamily and PremiereFamily plans cater towards families. These new plans provide more flexibility in terms of the specific benefits that individuals and families require and Globalsurance is eager to see how these new plans perform in the market.
Lastly, Integra Global has also launched a new "MarineSure" plan. More and more international health insurance providers have began to increase their focus on specific industries and professions, and the marine industry definitely has its own unique insurance needs so creating a policy for this should result in a good performance for Integra Global. Furthermore, Globalsurance analysts believe that this plan will be highly competitive as it offers reasonable premiums for high levels of service.