Paying an annual health insurance premium is something none of us look forward to. It’s one of those necessary evils which comes round annually and we pay. Surely, if we go directly to the insurer we will save money? Right? The answer is no.
Most health insurers will generate a large share of their business from intermediaries. These can include a health insurance broker, consultants, financial advisors etc. They are people who recommend and introduce people to insurance providers, and later help to provide them with service. For this, the intermediary is paid a commission.
If you go directly to an insurer, they still have to pay for a sales team, and a team to service you ongoing. Therefore that money which the insurer allocates to pay a commission, is used to pay internal staff. For this reason, going direct will not save you money. Furthermore, an insurer would not want to undercut intermediaries as they provide new business streams. For this reason premiums are the same whether you use a broker, or if you go direct.
From a customer perspective, there are subtle differences in how you’ll experience the sales process between a direct approach to an insurer, and working with an independent intermediary. An independent intermediary will start off by gaining an understanding of your needs and requirements. Given this information, they are in a strong position to look at the market and find products which best match your needs. Let’s compare this to the direct insurer. The agent you deal with at the insurer can only sell you one of his/her product range at their company. Given this, the interaction will largely be based on how they can match your needs to a narrow product selection. Surely your needs trump the needs of the agent’s sales target?
There are still people out there who appreciate dealing with a single person for matters such as medical insurance. In a World where human interaction is becoming increasingly distant, expat health insurance remains a personal and individual subject. Our clients find that having a single person to deal with who understands their requirements and needs is highly beneficial. If you go directly to an insurer, you’ll be passed around the company from sales, to claims, to renewals. Whilst for some this may not be a problem, it becomes an issue for Expats in foreign countries when language barriers crop up. For these reasons, having a single point of contact who you can call at any time is a key benefit of using a reliable intermediary.
Knowing and understanding the market. As with any industry, the health insurance market is a fluid one. There are new products which become available, there are premium revisions, there are changes in requirements from immigration. A good health insurance broker will be up to pace with current developments making sure that you are well protected, and getting the best value. Value points with health insurance change on a regular basis as insurers revise premiums. What was the best deal last year, may not be the best deal this year. If you want to stay ahead of the game, using a professional broker makes sense.