FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Last Updated: October 2015

Introduction
Please find below a list of some of the questions that we hear on a more frequent basis. There are certain types of insurance, such as international or expat medical insurance and also international life insurance that Swiss-Sure can offer internationally, while there are other types that we are limited to only being able to offer our clients here in our primary domicile of Hong Kong. In this FAQ section we will seek to clarify a number of the normal queries that we receive on a day-to-day basis.

We hope that you find our FAQ section informative.

If you have a query that is not covered by our Swiss-Sure FAQ section, please contact us at info@swiss-sure.com.hk


TYPES of INSURANCE OFFERED by SWISS-SURE

Does Swiss-Sure offer International Private Medical Insurance (PMI)?

Yes. Swiss-Sure specialises in providing international medical insurance or global health insurance to groups and companies as well as expats and, where permitted, local residents in certain locations. We are able to offer private medical insurance (PMI) to expats on a global basis and some local residents where rules allow. For example, we can offer international PMI to local residents in Hong Kong. For more details please visit Health / Medical Insurance.

Does Swiss-Sure offer International Life Insurance?

Yes. Swiss-Sure is able to offer our overseas and international clients global or international life insurance plans that offer protection for you and your family during times of need. For more details please visit Life Insurance.

What other types of insurance does Swiss-Sure offer?

Swiss-Sure’s primary lines of insurance include general insurance, business insurance, health / medical insurance and life insurance.

General Insurance includes: domestic helper, fire, home and contents, golf, kidnap and ransom (K&R), car / automobile, marine / yacht, all risks and travel insurance. For details more please visit General Insurance.

Business Insurance includes: business interruption, cyber and IT risk, directors and officers liability, employee compensation, office, product liability and professional indemnity & liability insurance. For more please visit Business Insurance.

Finally we offer a variety of solutions for both individual and group medical and life insurance. For more details please visit Health / Medical Insurance or Life Insurance.

What type of marine, yacht or boat insurance does Swiss-Sure offer?

With our partners in the industry Swiss-Sure is able to offer insurance to the owners of sailing yachts (sail boats), motor boats, luxury yachts, houseboats, liveaboard yachts, liveaboard junks and others. Together with our partners we are able to do this around the Asia Pacific region, with each case assessed on a case-by-case basis. Contact us at yacht@swiss-sure.com.hk with enquiries.


INS & OUTS OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS

What type of premium increases can I expect to witness over time?

With most types of insurance that require recurring or yearly premium payment there will be a general incremental upward trend in premium levels over time roughly in line with inflation. These increases will often, however, be controlled or abated via different mechanisms such as no-claims bonuses, which generally reward those insured persons with zero claims on their policies over a period of time. The most well-known example of no-claims bonuses would be those enjoyed by users of motor insurance.

Medical insurance premium growth on the other hand can take many by surprise and no-claims bonuses are not something associated with this type of insurance.

Year-on-year medical insurance premium growth can be well north of the general rate of inflation or CPI due to a number of factors. Firstly, the cost of medical treatment across the majority of global locations – particularly those areas where expats generally reside – is generally seen to exceed the rate of inflation in those countries.

Therefore the cost of medical treatment is observed as on the rise, while at the same time the development of new and more advanced medical technologies and research into new enhanced medicines, are seen as further adding to costs. At the end of the day these compounded increased costs are in large part borne by the insurance companies.

Furthermore, the global demand for medical treatment is on an upward trend. Poor lifestyle habits in developed and rapidly developing economies are on the increase, resulting in an associated rise in the demand for the treatment of long-term chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension as well as other diseases.

A point to note by insurance users but which also explains rising premiums is that top insurers will often commit to enabling that those insured with their company are able to access the best medical care for the treatment of those conditions they may develop, meaning that insurers are subject to the highest possible increases in medical care as claimed by their insured population. All these factors are exponentially driving up the costs incurred by insurers.

Finally, it is the way that medical insurance premiums are calculated which drives across-the-board increases for all. Health insurance is generally charged on the basis of shared liability, meaning that individual policyholders will not be penalised with a bigger premium following a large claim. This results in two things, firstly that those in their true hour of need are not hit with the double whammy of also being financially penalised and secondly, that it is the wider group that experiences the cost of wider medical inflation.

This is not great for those that are not utilising their insurance, but at the same time they are the ones that can sleep well in the knowledge that they are illness free. Meanwhile those that are sick can relax in the knowledge that they are protected financially as well as by the medical system.

How can I cope with potential high levels of premium increase and plan better for the future?

There are a number of ways in which you can secure the best protection against future ill-health with the best cover available to you and your family in the market, while at the same time reducing the rate of cost increment that you could potentially face in the future. Swiss-Sure can offer guidance on the plans most suited to your needs as well as options such as excesses and deductibles, which can help you better manage costs from the beginning when signing up a policy.


OTHER COMMON INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURANCE (PMI) ENQUIRIES

If I have taken international health insurance for my time abroad can I continue using it when I return to my home country?

Generally, yes. If as an expat you took out international medical insurance and on returning home you wish to continue using it – you will usually be able to take it back home. It is, however, important for USA or Canada citizens to watch out for this one as a number of policies are “North America Excluded”. Swiss-Sure can advise on those plans that are best suited to your long-term residency plans, be they to return home to the USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland, France, Germany, China, etc, or to continue your journey as an expat elsewhere in the world.

I am returning home from overseas and I have decided against taking my policy with me. Can I cancel it?

Not usually. When one agrees to adopt a health insurance plan it is generally a one year contract that you agree to. Your best option is to opt not to renew it at expiry and enjoy the remaining period of cover that you have should anything unfortunate happen during your relocation back home.

How much flexibility do I have to alter my health insurance plan?

A little bit. For example. going from “Inpatient + Outpatient” to “Inpatient only” is considered a plan “downgrade” and is simpler than moving from “Inpatient only” to “In + Out”, which may require re-underwriting or additional costs (or loading). Swiss-Sure can advise on the best options to select when it comes to coverage level based on your current situation and likely future needs and can also offer advisory services on what tweaks to your plan are viable and those that are not.

I have a company-sponsored health insurance plan – do I really need a private one as well?

Very often the answer can be yes. It really depends on the ins and outs of your company plan and what it offers while at the same time taking into consideration your current situation and future plans. Swiss-Sure has close to 30 years of track record in providing health insurance advice based on our clients’ personal current circumstances and future plans and can assist in finding the right solution based on your personal scenario.