The International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) needs of high net worth individuals needs better consideration, according to Jelf International. The company believes that understanding the requirements of such individuals and providing appealing solutions is a complex matter, and whilst they may have deep pockets they may also have high expectations of any investment. Relying on traditional mass-market health insurance policies may not meet this group’s more specific demands – ease of use, flexibility and prestige – which accompany the usual price considerations.
David Hilton, International Account Manager, Jelf International said: “On the one hand, time is a finite and valuable commodity for individuals who fall into this elite group, but on the other, they are also likely to be astute at managing their finances, which means insurers and intermediaries need to tread a fine line. There is certainly an appetite for a ‘gold plated’ healthcare solution but not without a certain due diligence on premium.”
Various providers have tried and failed to provide a hybrid solution between a domestic and international policy and few products are currently on the market that meet the needs of this internationally mobile group. Those that are, provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment without limits and can include prestigious benefits such as rehabilitation in a health resort and full refund for routine maternity. Some also complement their top-end products with a concierge service to ensure a hassle-free claims service and to avoid the individual and their family having to spend time on tasks such as completing forms, chasing appointments and managing invoices.
Pay as you go
With many high net worth individuals able to pay for private treatment straight out of their pocket, the need for IPMI may be questioned. However insurers are able to negotiate significant discounts on treatments and most now offer second medical opinion services at no additional cost. Health MOTs are also beneficial in belt-and-braces policies, allowing the individual to proactively identify any existing issues or future threats and establish an early course of action. Therefore, the IPMI value-adds can be worth considering before these individuals decide to go it alone.
A combination of self-pay and international health insurance may be an effective compromise for those with less of a concern for the more ‘prestigious’ benefits – this usually insures against the most significant costs such as hospitalisation but leaves outpatient costs to the individual.
Hilton concluded: “High net worth individuals, whether independent or within an organisation have special requirements which are often not met by standard policies designed for senior-level individuals. The nature and extent of the product required will depend on the individual’s specific demands and needs and therefore a tailored solution is usually the most suitable – especially as there are currently few off-the-shelf products that would truly deliver the desired levels of premium cover and service.”