IPMI Policyholder Trends 2019



With the amount of people undergoing a global move and requiring international health insurance cover skyrocketing, it’s great news for everyone in the industry. However, it’s not only the number of policyholders that’s increasing; it’s their needs too. This week, we take a look at two of the top trends in 2019.


The perception of risk

Whereas the top global mobility destinations used to be found in the United States and Europe, these are now being dwarfed by rapidly developing locations such as Africa, the Middle East and India. As organisations scramble to develop a strong foothold in these countries they are shifting reliable and established talent to support their new offices. In contrast, those offices which used to receive assignees from abroad are now the ones which are supplying the talent.


It is unsurprising then that these newer destinations are seen by expatriates as being high-risk, especially by those who are only undergoing their first assignment. While it is true that there are generally more risks to be found in countries with lower quality infrastructure, healthcare, and security, these are often overblown. Regardless, it stands to reason that increased anxiety is a hallmark of relocations in 2019.


It’s important to note that it’s not only “risky” countries which cause anxiety for transferees, however, as research shows that many people are intensely worried about the chance of being caught up in a terrorist incident while living abroad. A 2018 study found that the chance of being killed in a terrorist attack in Britain is only 1 in 63,280,444; demonstrating that a high level of worry is completely unwarranted, although that doesn’t make this anxiety any less of a reality for those that feel it.



One of the biggest changes we have seen over the past decade is that customers now want to feel like less of a number and more of a person. With social media and Google now an integral part of many consumers’ lives, they are used to receiving a personalised experience, and this assumption extends to their international health cover too. How then, can we cater to these new wants and needs from our customers?


The technology required to create a more personalised service is available, but it’s important that a balance is struck between automation and human contact. Although they’ve been around for a long time now, chatbots are still universally bad at pretending to be human, endlessly reusing the same phrases and getting confused by even simple questions. This is why 24/7 human communication options are essential at all points of contact, whether they be online chat boxes or phone lines. The last thing people what to encounter when they’re in trouble or have pressing needs is a robot.


Another area where we can easily excel is by better tailoring insurance products to the individual than we have before, and providing them with more information pertinent to their particular situation. The availability of big data, in particular, allows us to understand customer risk better than ever before.


With technology the way it is now, we also have great opportunities to personalise and disseminate information to customers in real time, whether it be about destabilising political situations, deteriorating health conditions, or updates on terrorism and natural disaster risk. What is essential, however, is that a balance is struck between keeping people informed while not feeding any pre-existing anxiety.



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