Posted on Jan 12, 2013 by Sergio Ulloa
2012 saw the best financial results for international medical insurer William Russell, with a 30 percent increase in business from the previous year. The opening of a new sales support office in Hong Kong has also enabled the insurer to reach more clients in Asia, and ensures better service and support.
The revised premium rates for 2013 reflect a significant change and have come in below the global rate of medical inflation witnessed over the last 5 years. William Russell's inpatient Bronze plan is set to increase by 7 percent, the Silver plan by 7.5 percent and the Gold plan by 9 percent.
Allianz Worldwide Care and Interglobal are the only other two major international insurers to offer similarly low premium increases at the start of the year, as William Russell continue to control rate increases and remain below the industry average. Hong Kong, China and Singapore however, will see their Gold premium plans increasing by 10.75 percent as a necessary move to keep in line with the region's rapid medical inflation rate.
In order to maintain its historically high standards, the provider considered and evaluated the performance of its Platinum plan, ultimately deciding that it no longer suited the needs of its clients. Renewals for current Platinum policyholders will continue for the time being, but all new business has been discontinued. William Russell hopes to focus on the success of its Bronze and Silver plans, and specifically the changes to its Gold plan; an increased coverage on the Chronic Conditions benefit for Outpatients, additions to the maternity benefits that now include a USD 100,000 cover for newborns and full coverage for complications in pregnancy.
CEO of Globalsurance, Neil Raymond, reflected positively on the end of year decisions, saying that William Russell has "always focused on delivering high quality plans at affordable rates to our clients; they continue to do this in a sustainable way. The recent changes to the plan benefits on Gold, Silver and Bronze plans are very positive, especially on the Gold plan".
William Russell has recognised the importance of the Asian market and managed to appreciate several nuances particular to individual countries. Taking Hong Kong for example, in order to combat the patient room type-fee relationship (wherein a surgeon's charge is based on the grade of room the patient has chosen) the insurers are offering a discount between 7.5 percent - 15 percent on the premium for any of its clients restricted to a semi-private room. This has recently become a common practice for insurers operating in Hong Kong in attempt to control costs.
Mr Raymond shared his views on the initiative to offer discounts, "It is always difficult to explain to clients why the room you choose determines what your surgeon will charge...but in fact, it is a way to control insurance costs and so for those on tighter budgets it is a good way to manage premiums. We would encourage more insurers to offer this option to clients".
Clients can rest assured that the twenty years of heritage and experience that William Russell possesses will allow them to perform well in an increasingly competitive market place and has put them in a great position for the new year ahead.