New competition in the expat health insurance market may be good news for expatriates as Aviva announced a new product aimed at expats last week. Aviva’s International Solutions “pick’n’mix” insurance plan.
The new plan echoes the recent trends in the health insurance industry whereby insurers have begun to move away from static plans towards plans that allow customers to select, and pay for, the benefits that are most suitable to their needs. Earlier this year Bupa International announced an overhaul of their own policies to a more modular approach when they launched their World Health Options (WHO) plan. The plan moved away from their more traditional approach to expatriate insurance by varying the cost of insurance according to the place in which the expat was insured. This was based upon the fact that there are significant variations in the cost of healthcare throughout the world and these needed to be reflected in the premiums that people were expected to pay. Their new policy also offered policyholders the option to “bolt on” additional modules to the core benefits in order to extend their cover to other areas of inpatient care. Aviva’s “pick’n’mix” plan is clearly following suite and their policy bears a strong similarity to Bupa’s approach.
Insurances brokers throughout the world are welcoming Aviva’s announcement as they believe that the new insurance plan will challenge Bupa’s current dominance in the expatriate insurance market. It is hoped that the provision of a high quality policy at a lower price will force Bupa to reconsider their own pricing and offer expats a better deal.
Earlier attempts by Aviva (previously Norwich Union) to compete in the expat market have been largely unsuccessful and they have failed to fully establish a brand that is recognized and highly regarded amongst the expat community. They hope their new scheme, which is being heralded as the most comprehensive policy available, will help them to gain a better foothold in the market.
Aviva’s “pick’n’mix” insurance policy consists of a set of core insurance elements to which customers can add optional extras or modules. These include insurance for access to dentists, opticians, maternity care and health check-ups. Expatriates who sign up to the policy have a claim limit of up to 1.5 million GBP per year and have access to 24/7 medical help and advice through any hospital chain or network. Their policy also covers chronic health conditions.
A further appeal of the new Aviva health insurance scheme for expatriates is that it offers expats an option to lower their costs via optional excess policies and reduced out-patient coverage.