After spending almost three decades in the IPMI industry, Lee Gerry joined the then, Expatriate Healthcare 12 years ago as one of the pioneers to fill a gap in the expatriate medical insurance market for simple products and top-notch customer service. Stringently keeping to their core values, Expatriate Healthcare, up till today, does not accept business from large corporations to maintain their personal touch and limit their customers to a fixed network of medical facilities to provide more freedom. Also, its average premium increase since its inception in 2003 is competitively set below five percent.
For the brokers and agents, the company has been working on its online platforms to enable instant purchase, as well as automated online renewals and instalment premiums. After a rebranding to “Expatriate Group”, the company has since added term life, travel and income replacement products to its offerings. Mr. Gerry, the International Healthcare Manager of Expatriate Group said that they will be looking at scaling up and introducing more products to become an “one-stop shop” for expats going forward.
Having worked in the IPMI industry for nearly 30 years, I joined my current organisation 12 years ago with a view to establishing a new market for expatriate medical insurance; providing simple products with excellent customer service. We started Expatriate Group with a plan and a set of core values that we’ve stuck to and that we still apply today. This has allowed us to grow products and services that have an incredibly stable outlook. For instance, our average premium increase since 2003 has been less than five per cent on our healthcare book of business – simply unheard of in our market. We’ve yet to apply any premium increase to our PA, Life or Travel product lines.
Having started from a blank page, we now have customers in 177 countries around the world, from 85 different nationalities; so we’re a true global insurance provider.
Expatriate Group has evolved since it was first launched in 2003. Our customers demanded other products and services aside from the international private medical insurance. We worked with our capacity providers to develop products that were specifically aimed at meeting the needs of people living overseas or travelling extensively.
As the company developed its product offering it became apparent that Expatriate Healthcare as a trading names didn’t tell the whole story, so we re-branded as Expatriate Group (keeping Expatriate Healthcare as a specific product line); but then introducing Expatriate Travel, Expatriate Term Life and Expatriate Income Replacement.
We’re currently in the process of introducing more products to the existing suite, with a view to being a one-stop shop for all a customer’s accident, health and income protection needs when living and working overseas.
Expatriate Group doesn’t force customers in to a particular network; the freedom to get treatment at a facility that’s chosen by the customer is one of our core values.
That’s not to say that we don’t have an extensive hospital directory, but this is offered as information/service rather than presenting this as a ‘fait accompli’ to customers. Many of our customer choose to obtain treatment out of country and even in their country of nationality and we’re keen to accommodate this as it often ends in better treatment outcomes.
All of our products are available to be quoted online without a need for the intervention of one of our customer service personnel. Brokers and Agents are all provided with dedicated co-branded landing page, allowing the products to be purchased online instantly and obtaining the benefit of automated online renewals and instalment premiums (that are, of course, PCI DSS compliant).
We continue to invest in the online infrastructure, such as being the first and – to our knowledge - only company that’s able to offer a Lloyd’s of London underwritten Term Life insurance policy that can be purchased online with monthly premium collections.
When you say ‘large corporate’ business then honestly, no. One of our core values is to provide our customers with the very best possible service. To achieve this, and so that we don’t just become another face-less provider of cover, we limit our maximum group size to 250 lives. That way we’re able to really interact with the corporate entity, make a difference to the products and services that we are offering them and provide excellent service to their employees with dedicated service staff.
We retain a huge amount of our customer base at renewal and this is far more important to us than being part of the sausage factory of large corporates being churned round the market from year to year.
We’ve already achieved a lot of our goals. Now, it’s about ‘scale’ and continuing to drive the growth of the business whilst maintaining those core values that we’ve put in place – making sure that any growth is balanced against continuing to provide the same service our customers expect and demand. And, being clever and astute enough to adjust the speed of that growth so that we always remain relevant to our customers through service, products and knowledge.