Arthur J Gallagher & Co.’s Executive Vice President for Multinational Benefits, Richard Polak Discusses IPMI for Multinational Benefits



Mr Richard Polak, the Executive Vice President for Multinational Benefits and HR Consulting for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG), discuss IPMI for multinational benefits, their plans for IPMI expansion within the company, as well as their expansion in Australia.


Mr Polak has been with Gallagher Multinational Benefits and HR Consulting since 2012. He has over 30 years of experience with International Benefits and HR, holding top-level positions in companies such as IBIS Advisors, and Johnson & Higgins.


Learn more about Arthur J. Gallagher and Mr Polak’s insights about IPMI in his full interview below.


Q: Can you give us a brief description of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.?

A: The story of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (Gallagher), one of the largest risk management and insurance broking companies in the world, began 90 years ago. Today, Gallagher continues to rely on the same cornerstones upon which its legacy was built: integrity, innovation, teamwork and empathy. Every day, our advisors help clients face massive challenges across a range of issues, supporting their ability to deliver on their organisational objectives through specialised solutions and industry insight. We work hard to ensure that each client’s experience reflects the shared values, corporate culture and passion for excellence that define 'The Gallagher Way' of doing business. In 2017 Gallagher was recognised for the sixth consecutive year as a World’s Most Ethical Company® by the Ethisphere Institute and is the only insurance broker to achieve this distinction.


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Q: What kind of IPMI products do you offer in your multinational benefit scheme?

A: Gallagher’s Multinational HR & Benefits Consulting practice specialises in helping clients achieve results through a variety of solutions. They include designing, marketing and implementing International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) programs using products or services that are the right fit for their specific needs.


Through a team of 35 consultants who advise clients on international issues, and a team of four who specialise in expatriate benefits, Gallagher provides extensive experience in designing, marketing and placing international health plans. As part of these processes, we work with all international insurers for expats and third-country national employees. Gallagher provides consulting and project management support in two stages. In Stage 1, we gain a thorough understanding of the benefits landscape and statutory requirements in the new location and provide typical market practice data based on our client’s market position. Following these steps is the presentation of plan design options and marketing exercise results that are compliant, market competitive, cost and tax effective, and consistent with our client's global benefits strategy and philosophy. Stage 2 of the project involves helping the client implement and communicate the benefits, often with the support of our local office or affiliate.

Q: Can you tell us more about AJG’s expansion in Australia?

A: In 2014, Arthur J. Gallagher (the brand name for the international broking and underwriting division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.) purchased the insurance broking arm of Wesfarmers Limited, which included OAMPS Insurance Brokers (Australia) and Crombie Lockwood (New Zealand). OAMPS began in 1976 as the Oil Agents Mutual Provident Society (OAMPS), focused on sourcing a better insurance deal for members of the fuel transport industry. With success came the expansion of its solution to other industries that needed similar, specialized insurance services. In 1989 OAMPS was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, before being propelled into the ranks of Australia’s Top 200 listed companies. In 2006 OAMPS became part of the Wesfarmers Group, and in 2014 was acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.


Since inception, Arthur J. Gallagher’s mission has been to build strong relationships with its clients and business partners, while continuing to advance a workplace culture of mutual respect and solid opportunities for professional growth. The OAMPS culture that aspired to ‘understand our clients, earn their trust, provide proactive advice, and ultimately to position them to financially survive any insurable event’, made OAMPS a perfect fit with the culture and ethos of Arthur J. Gallagher. Now, with offices in more than 30 locations across all Australian states and territories, Arthur J. Gallagher is able to deliver personalized, local service backed by a global network of international expertise.


Q: What kind of developments do you see coming in IPMI for international benefit programs?

A: This market, while crowded, continues to expand.

There is a growing need for IPMI. New carriers emerge regularly. I see it becoming more competitive in the future with new innovations in service delivery, for example, through medical tourism and technology.

The market will also develop with more advanced cost cutting techniques, such as preferred provider networks and more advanced financing arrangements including multinational pooling, captives and self-insurance.


Q: Do you have future plans of expanding your influence in the IPMI industry?

A: Gallagher has an established, specialized IPMI department that has rapidly expanded in the past five years. We were originally placed on the map as a trusted advisor when we were awarded the consultancy work for a leading international energy company during the Iraq War.

There were 15,000 expatriate employees from around the world who needed IPMI as security for their families. At the time, this was one of the largest expatriate populations of any single employer in the world. Gallagher designed, marketed and implemented an IPMI program that was sophisticated yet simply administered.

We’ve continued to expand our footprint with the hiring of an international consultant in the UK to manage our international clients in the European region. We will also extend our capabilities to South America and Asia, as we continue to look for new growth opportunities.


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