Checklist for selecting overseas health and protection insurance


In my experience many companies are confused about setting up medical insurance and life and disability cover for staff who are going to be based overseas.

World map

But this isn’t surprising as international cover can be a maze to the uninitiated. Restrictions on such things as age, trip duration, travel benefit limitations, existing conditions and exclusions, and the European Health Initiative Card (EHIC) could all potentially cause problems in the event of an unfortunate emergency abroad.

Before setting up cover for an employee you need to know such things as where their passport is held, where their contract is held, where their tax is payable, where they’re located, how long their assignment is and where their dependants are living if they have any.

For international medical insurance you should also consider the following:

  • Consider a pre-assignment online health screening to ensure any underlying medical conditions are known before the employee travels abroad. That includes for family members too.
  • Ensure primary care (GP and prescriptions) are covered, as most countries don’t have the state support that exists here in the UK.
  • Be alert to the fact that some countries now have strict regulations regarding what health insurance needs to be in place to qualify for visas and residency permits.
  • Look out for insurance providers who can offer plenty of online support tools to help your employees locate suitable medical facilities.
  • Consider the value of Employee Assistance Programmes. These low cost services can provide excellent support, especially to help families who may struggle to settle in to a new environment.

For life and income protection cover you should also consider these points:

  • Consider whether your employee should, or could remain in existing UK arrangements.
  • Identify whether a UK, local, or international solution best meets your employee’s needs.
  • Check local provisions, to ensure insurances are applicable.
  • Confirm that insurers are comfortable with the location and duration of the visit.
  • Consider the impact on family members, whether they travel or stay at home.
  • Identify if the appropriate travel insurance is in place.

This is by no means a complete list, but it should help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls. If you’re still unclear on what best to do it is highly advisable to seek independent, expert advice.

Teresa Wighton is head of international at Punter Southall Health & Protection

This article was provided by Punter Southall Health & Protection.


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