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

TACKLING FRAUD

This takes us neatly into one of the persistent problems encompassing a market that transacts large values of money across the entire globe: fraud.

Only the most naïve or blinkered people involved in IPMI would not accept that fraud is almost inevitable and that it plays a significant part in premium inflation.

Some hospitals, clinics and even entire countries are being blacklisted by individual providers in recognition that a claim originating from these locations is often more likely to be fraudulent than real. But the industry now appears willing to act en masse.

Carter is chairman of the Association of International Medical Insurance Providers (AIMIP) and also retains close links with the organisation as a member business.

He explained that the group has teamed up with other bodies to start cracking down on those attempting to defraud the industry.

“AIMIP is working with the Health Insurance Counter Fraud Group (HICFG) and Experian to share data between PMI and IPMI providers, in order to pick up fraud between fraudulent claimants, hospitals, doctors and clinics,” he said.

“If someone applies under different names to different providers and produces multiple claims, we can blacklist those people and report them to the police.

“It can help us flag up fraud at the front end by someone who is a known fraudster. We can also go back to those providers we know are doing unscrupulous billing practices and remove them from the network list,” he added.

What does this mean for brokers in the sector? Unlike the domestic PMI market, where claims are typically large for major treatments, IPMI clients often claim a few times a year, potentially in different countries and for smaller amounts, so efficient customer service and claims processing is demanded.

This is particularly so when considering the size of premium to begin with – something that also proves attractive to intermediaries.

For Steve Nelson, sales manager at April Medibroker, the key to success for new entrants to the market is doing something that is not being widely used already, while also managing premium increases.

With that in mind, he suggested the importance of medically underwriting pre-existing conditions for clients to ensure they can get treatment while away.

“Premium is the key issue, while the second is pre-existing conditions coverage. This is because every other plan does just about everything you’d want,” he said.

“The most successful recent launch has been DKV because they came to the market doing pre-existing conditions, which almost nobody did.

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