With the now constant threat of terrorism around the world, Jelf International predicts a closer alignment between providers of International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) and security firms. Jelf International forecasts better integrated services between these two types of companies but in addition, a consolidation of firms, with some insurers directly acquiring security firms themselves.
Adam Harding, Business Development Manager, Jelf International said: “Many expatriates are based in or travel to ‘hazardous’ locations for their work, and so having access to the type of information that security companies provide is essential for the individual as well as their employer. What has changed is that the threat of terrorism is more apparent and as we’re all only too aware, it could strike at any time in any country.
“Insurers are looking to provide an enhanced service and security companies know that their services are in demand, so strategic mergers or takeovers seem fairly likely in the near future. In fact we’ve already seen one major insurer enter the market with a new security proposition.”
Employers are generally fairly au fait with the basic need for expat healthcare insurance for access to hospital information on line, vaccinations, health concerns etc according to Jelf but many admit to be lacking knowledge about security threats and advice for specific locations. In fact only one in ten* of SMEs rated their management of security risk as ‘good’ for overseas employees (the remainder rated themselves average or below).
Harding continued: “Security firms need to become smarter in their offering as there’s a big gap in the market where smaller businesses cannot access the information they need due to large annual retainer costs of between £10-20k pa for access to security alerts, information, advice and, if needed, security evacuations on a cost-by-cost basis. This often leaves the employee solely reliant on accessible websites such as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office [FCO] which would only provide top-level information.”
Jelf International also believes that companies need to think beyond IPMI and security too to ensure they are meeting their duty of care. This can mean a full re-work of operating procedures and the need to cover pre-assignment planning, education and assessment of the individual person to ensure they are of a sound state of mind and physical fitness. It should also include a de-brief afterward to fine tune any operational issues and improve procedures for the future and other employees.
*Research carried out by Jelf Employee Benefits amongst 51 businesses during May 2015.