International PMI - Life's a beach

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For those seeking a break from the norm, Owain Thomas discovers the IPMI market is both growing strongly and increasingly dynamic

There’s nothing better than time away from home to beat the blues. Jetting off to a far flung corner of the world and putting your feet up beside a sun-drenched pool is the perfect way for many to detach themselves from the pressures of work.

But what about those who not only take work with them abroad, but who are actually travelling for work? Whether it be to open a new international sales office in China or co-ordinate a major construction project in the Middle East, the chances are their new home will be missing some of the usual comforts – and often top of that list is the security of healthcare.

This is where the international private medical insurance (IPMI) market steps in.

A BOOMING MARKET

Tim Mutton, business development director at Now Health International, explained that unlike its domestic cousin, the IPMI market is a vibrant and growing one with plenty of scope to keep intermediaries interested.

“The IPMI market is extremely exciting at this time particularly out of UK brokerages,” he said.

“Traditionally, there is a relatively small number in IPMI. But that is increasing rapidly for the simple reason that the domestic PMI market is flat as a pancake – if not, contracting – because of the economy.

IPMI, on the other hand, is still showing signs of growth, which makes it attractive for people to move into.”

Now Health is a relatively new entrant to the provider base and has significant expansion planned over the next 18 months.

An office in Shanghai to serve China is due to open in the first quarter of next year and another branch in India is anticipated at the end of 2012.

Both these nations are seen as big players going forward and their economies are expected to take off.

But not all the existing insurers will be around to see it if Mutton’s predictions are right.

“The market is quite crowded – there are well over 20 players – and there are discussions between some that could end up with mergers or acquisitions,” he said.

 

 

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