An Interview with our International Sales Manager

Today we’re interviewing our International Sales Manager, Geoff Maggs

So, Geoff, How long have you worked in the industry?
Gosh, I started my career in 1990, so that makes it a frightening 29 years! I started my career on the domestic side with Bupa, followed by BCWA. In 2002 I moved to international with Allianz Worldwide Care and have also enjoyed successful careers with the international divisions of AXA and Bupa, amongst others. In October last year I was asked by Health Matters’ MD (Simon Hurley-Smith) to develop the international division of the specialist healthcare broker.

What trends are you currently seeing in the International PMI space?
I’m currently seeing an increasing demand for Global employee assistance programmes (EAPs). I suspect this is in part due to the increased publicity surrounding mental health in the workplace. An EAP is a very cost-effective way of helping employees maintain positive mental health, which in turn helps a company’s productivity, so it’s a win-win situation.

There’s an increasing amount of legislation around healthcare in many countries, with a trend developing for mandatory healthcare for expatriates, especially in the Middle East.

I’ve also noticed international insurers making use of the latest technology, with consultations now available via video and Artificial Intelligence (AI) being used to diagnose conditions. AI will also be used to make claims processing more efficient.

Dare we mention Brexit?
I’m an optimist and I believe that, despite the inevitable initial disruption caused by Brexit, there will be numerous opportunities for UK companies to develop new export markets. In July, I was lucky enough to attend the Arab British Economic Summit in London, where Simon Penney (HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan) said there was £30bn of appetite for investment in MENA. Overseas assignees will require international medical insurance, which is good for our industry!

What’s the Future of International Private Medical Insurance?
IPMI is very much here to stay and, as I mentioned earlier, an increasing number of countries are making private medical insurance mandatory for expatriates residing in their countries. With the minimum benefit and underwriting requirements, comes the inevitable increase in claims experience and increase in costs. There is further pricing pressure from the R&D costs of new medicines, medical techniques and machinery, that are passed on to the end user – i.e. the patient.

So, I guess the challenge for the international medical insurers is price inflation. With that in mind, several international insurers have recently developed “more affordable” plans, especially for individual purchasers, where the level of premium can be more of an issue.

Unfortunately, I believe expatriates will have to get used to the idea of spending an increasing proportion of their income on their healthcare policies.