Why you can’t afford to ignore IPMI

If advisers don’t tell their clients about the rich benefits of international PMI policies, someone else will says Aetna International general manager, Europe David Healy

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne recently said that Britain is turning the corner and economic performance data certainly points to an upward trend. UK Gross Domestic Product increased by 0.6 per cent in Q2 2013, which is twice as fast as the rate seen in the first quarter. It’s excellent news for the UK economy.

For the average business, the reality is rather more challenging. Although the recent economic green shoots are heartening, the current environment for trade and industry remains difficult. Certainly, the road ahead still has plenty of curves and rough spots.

Against this backdrop, more and more organisations are looking for growth overseas with many establishing new offices abroad. As the global economy gets healthier, this trend will likely continue and the number of expatriate workers growing further still. For these expatriates, good health and good healthcare are essential. Away from home, an international private medical insurance policy can give them the reassurance to know they can access quality medical treatment if needed.

For advisers, globalisation presents a great opportunity to enter a new market or grow an existing book of business. But as well as the anticipated growth in the expatriate market, there are a number of other reasons why IPMI offers such great potential.

Selling a new product line that complements your existing product set to current customers makes commercial sense. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the cost of acquiring a new customer is between 4 and 10 times more expensive than keeping an existing one. That figure will vary from firm to firm but the basic principle usually holds true.

An established book of business can create a healthy and sustained cash flow. IPMI has the advantage of relatively high premiums and low churn. This helps to create worthwhile commissions with the same flat-rate paid annually for a number of years until the policy lapses.

Advisers specialise in helping clients manage and safeguard their assets, and this advice should extend to the health. IPMI protects against exposure to large medical expenses with comprehensive policies typically having annual benefit limits of up to £1m. Without the right health insurance cover, a client who needs to be evacuated or undergo extensive treatment can find themselves severely out of pocket.

If you can’t offer an IPMI solution when one is needed, your clients will be forced to go elsewhere. And, if elsewhere means another adviser, a competitor could form a relationship with your client and potentially take over some or all of your business. Safeguard your business and don’t leave this possibility to chance.

The IPMI market can be complex. You’ll have clients all over the world, in many different jurisdictions – all with different compliance rules and regulations. The good news is that your insurer will usually be able to support you in growing your business in a number of ways. Compliance, by advising you and providing information on what’s required to trade in different regions; technical knowledge, by providing training, one-to-one support and a range of product and self-help information; global servicing, by having the infrastructure and processes in place to deal effectively with your clients’ needs wherever they are in the world and technology, by providing the technology to make both your life and that of your clients easier. For advisers that can mean, for example, sophisticated electronic trading platforms; for expatriates a range of useful mobile applications and an information-rich website.

If you have a particularly strong opportunity with a group client, your insurer may also be willing to send along a representative to meet them with you.

Even with the ‘economic upturn’ advisers still need to work hard to maintain and increase revenue. In this environment IPMI offers an ideal opportunity to advisers, both as a product to cross-sell to existing clients and also as a means to target new clients. And, with the help and support from the right insurance partner, this is a strategy that can bring lucrative returns.