General Insurance

Disaster insurance and your business in asia

Disaster insurance and your business in asia

Why did you open a business in Asia? Well, like many investors and entrepreneurs around the world, you probably noted the potential of the region for its production capacity, quality workers and favorable policies for business ownership. Not only these, but as far as burgeoning markets go, Asia is developing at a rate that has shown the world it will continue to be an area full of opportunity for companies that can appeal to the people of the various nations in the region, which is especially true for China, as it is on track to become the world’s largest sovereign economy within a few decades. There’s another trend in Asia, however, that should give potential investors pause: This one region fell victim to a very large portion of worldwide economic losses caused by disasters! What does this mean for your business, and what can business owners in Asia do to protect their companies? We discuss the topic of disaster insurance here in more detail.

Disaster insurance by number

Asia is the world’s largest continent. It takes up 30% of the total land area of the planet. (57.3 million square miles to be exact.) However, the percentage of burden the region’s economy has taken as a result of disaster is disproportionate to this figure. In 2016, of the 327 separate disaster events around the world (191 natural disasters and 136 man-made), Asia accounted for 48% of economic losses globally, to the tune of USD 83 billion. In 2015, Asia accounted for over half of the world’s disasters, with 16,000 lives lost and over USD 45 billion in damage. In addition, Asia is remarkable due to its population. The continent is home to 60% of the world’s human population, which may account for some of the reason that disasters result in such large economic losses here. Indeed, over 700 million people in Asia live in cities labeled to be at ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ disaster risk.

The most notable major disaster that occurred in Asia in 2016 was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Southern Japan in April of that year. However 2015 saw its share of calamity as well, including a huge earthquake in Nepal, massive explosions and fires in China, floods in India  and typhoons hitting the Philippines. Even this year, we have already seen devastating flooding in Thailand in January. All the while, Vietnam has been going through a drought over these past few years, as the El Nino effect has led to dry weather in the country.

To be sure, Asia is ripe with causes for disasters, so a healthy amount of caution from those deciding to base all or part of their business operations in the region is understandable.  So how can businesses best protect their interests in Asia? There are a number of different disaster insurance products out there to look after businesses in the region.

Partner with protection pros

For business owners operating in a single country, you can chose to be insured with local insurance companies, but if you have a multinational corporation you can avail yourself of insurers with a global reach. Furthermore, when it comes to protecting your company from disaster, there are a few types of disaster insurance that are of paramount importance:

Property insurance

Also known as building insurance and contents insurance, it can really pay to protect your company’s property in Asia. This type of insurance coverage is quite versatile, as it protects your property from an array of different types of damage. Whether it’s fire, theft and vandalism, wind and storm damage, earthquakes, explosions, frozen pipes or water damage, any damages incurred can result in the repair or replacement of your property. When insuring a building, a property insurance policy may even cover garages, patios, sheds or other features found on your grounds, but be sure to clarify this with your insurer before assuming what will be covered. Floods may or may not be covered depending on the risk of flood where your property is located. Due to this, additional flood insurance may need to be purchased.

If you take out a mortgage on an office building or other facility, it is very likely that the lender will require that the building be covered by disaster insurance, so be sure that you remain in compliance with the terms of the contract.

Business interruption insurance

Okay, so a disaster happens and you’re being compensated for the repairs to your business. The problem now is that you basically have to shut your whole operation down while they are being performed. What’s more, not only is there no income coming in due to the shutdown, but you still have overheads to worry about. This is where business interruption insurance comes in! This insurance will ensure that you are still able to pay your bills and cover your obligations to employees and other business partners if your business operations have significant downtime.

Business interruption insurance does not only apply to problems at your particular business, either. If a key distributor or customer has major damage that affects your business in a major way, the insurance can still kick in and help you weather the storm.

Third party liability insurance

Speaking more to man-made disasters, it’s possible that your company could even find itself responsible for the creation of a disaster. You really never know what could happen. After all, the owners of the warehouses in Tianjin that exploded in August, 2015 that led to over 150 deaths and almost 800 injuries did not expect chemicals that they were storing to cause a reaction that caused the incident, but that made them no less culpable for the result. In order to make sure that potential damages that might be caused by your business don’t bankrupt your company, you will want to have a high quality third party liability insurance – also known as public liability insurance – policy in place.

In China, as in many other nations, it is compulsory for businesses to own a certain level of third party liability coverage to remain in line with government regulations. These plans will come with a maximum amount of benefits that they will pay out, so make sure that your plan will provide enough coverage for the most rationally plausible issues that you could run into with regards to third party liability.

Other points

While the insurances mentioned above are crucial for businesses in Asia that want to insulate themselves from the costs that both natural and man-made disasters can bring, there are others to consider as well. Businesses with vehicles will no doubt need to have at least third party liability insurance on them, and comprehensive insurance to ensure that the vehicles can be replaced if they somehow get wrecked. Also, don’t forget your employees. While it may or may not be required that you provide your employees with medical insurance in the country in which your business resides, providing comprehensive benefits will keep your company competitive when trying to hire top level talent.

In order to find out more about the various disaster insurance plan types listed above, contact the helpful insurance experts at Pacific Prime China. They are standing by to provide you with answers, find out about your specific needs, and provide you with plan comparisons and price quotes from major insurers in Asia where appropriate.

Posted by Travis Jones in General Insurance
China retirement readiness falling: How to stay on track

China retirement readiness falling: How to stay on track

Retirement is something that needs to be on the minds of every adult, not just those who are nearing their golden years. In fact, planning ahead for three decades or greater is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to ensuring that your financial future is healthy and bright. However, for those in the Middle Kingdom, there has been bad news recently regarding China retirement readiness. Here, Pacific Prime China examines the news and its implications for future China retirees, as well as the areas you should focus on when considering your own personal retirement plans.

China retirement readiness falling

Tsinghua University has released an updated index on retirement readiness that shows China’s rating falling from 6.51 out of 10 in 2015 to 6.0 in 2016. Similarly, in 2015 20% of people reported that they felt they were well prepared for retirement, which dropped to 15.3% of people in 2016. This index takes many factors into account in order to come up with this number, including people’s retirement plans, preparations and expectations. Additional factors include current retirement savings, knowledge of financial issues and financial planning, and awareness of retirement responsibilities.

So what is the reason that China retirement readiness is taking a step backward? There are many factors contributing to this trend, but perhaps the biggest and most obvious general reason is that the Chinese economy and stock market have not been doing so well as of late. Cultural feelings about personal responsibility also seem to be a factor, as only 9% of Chinese citizens feel that retirement financing should fall solely on them. Neighboring territories in Asia, including South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, see this number come to 40% of their respective citizenries. Meanwhile, 63% of citizens believe that the onus of China retirement readiness should fall to the government. This number also sits at 40% in the other territories mentioned.

These feelings may be mirroring the current state of retirement savings in China, where the major vehicles for saving is a government run pension plan. However, there are also voluntary savings plans participated in by both employees and employers, as well as private savings plans and commercial retirement savings plans. The latter products are of negligible popularity in China at the moment, but the Chinese government is promoting such commercial savings vehicles to try to offset providing for an aging population.

Savings and investment

So how should one go about organizing their retirement savings? One of the best ways for people who already have a significant amount of savings is to invest their money. Utilizing capital to create capital is a great way to build up a nest egg and ensure that you can maintain a certain quality of living well into your golden years. Once you have your investments set, and factor in other sources of income like government subsidies for the elderly that you will be eligible, you can create a retirement budget and see if you will have enough money to achieve your desired lifestyle and China retirement readiness goals. Of course, you are going to want to have extra savings available each year so that you can address unexpected costs that arise.

Health insurance

Any retirement planning should start not only with an overview of your financial health, but also your physical health. After all, planning for the future is not strictly about dollars and cents, but also being healthy enough to enjoy your hard earned nest egg. For this reason, factoring in the cost of your future healthcare is important. Of course, one of the best ways to addressing these costs is to make sure that you have a comprehensive health insurance plan in place to avoid the costs that can come along with the major ailments that tend to occur more commonly later in life, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.

When you are planning your medical insurance there are some common exclusions that come up time and again that you should be aware of. Namely, these are maximum age limits and pre-existing conditions.

Maximum age limits

Many insurers impose maximum age limits on their policies. This is because as people age, insurance underwriters have to consider if the medical costs of the average individual or a certain age will be greater than the premiums that the individual would pay the insurer. An insurance company cannot operate running on a loss, so they institute maximum age limits to avoid insuring the people that are most at risk of costly medical conditions. Generally this limit tops out at 70 years of age, although some plans go as high as 80. Still yet, there are plans available out there with no maximum age limit on them. As with health insurance at any age, though, the riskier a person is to insure, the higher their premiums are likely to be, so people of advanced age will likely have to pay a hefty cost to remain insured. This can make planning ahead for inflating insurance costs somewhat daunting.

Pre-existing conditions

Another risk factor that insurers are always on the look-out for is pre-existing conditions. This is simply when you have an ongoing medical condition that was present before you obtained your current health insurance policy. In most cases, where not prohibited by law, a private health insurance plan will exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. This means that, while an insurance policy will provide benefits for many illnesses, the specific pre-existing conditions will not be eligible to be covered. Sometimes pre-existing conditions can be covered after the ailment in question has not occurred for a particular period of time – usually a number of years.

To ensure that you never get stuck with having excluded pre-existing conditions, you can simply obtain a policy with a particular insurer, and maintain continuous coverage for as long as possible. However, this can limit your choice of insurance provider. If you develop a condition while on an insurance plan, you will be disincentivized from switching providers, because a new insurer is likely to count the condition as pre-existing.

Life insurance

While it won’t necessarily help you enjoy your retirement, when it comes to planning for the end of your life, life insurance is a must to make sure that your family is well taken care of after your passing.

Other similar insurances to ask your insurance agent about that can help in dire circumstances include critical illness insurance, personal accident insurance, permanent disability insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

While we will leave the savings and investment to the financial advisers of the world, Pacific Prime China can certainly help those that need assistance in obtaining comprehensive insurance to address medical concerns, as well as avoid burdening their families with financial hardship following a hospitalization or death. Contact us today to be put in touch with a knowledgeable insurance advisor that can answer any questions you may have about China retirement readiness, and provide you with free insurance plan comparisons and price quotes. As a broker we compare prices from a number of the world’s best insurers; saving you the trouble of tracking down multiple quotes from multiple sources.

Posted by Travis Jones in General Insurance, News
Pacific Prime China is now on WeChat!

Pacific Prime China is now on WeChat!

Pacific Prime China is excited to announce the launch of our very own portal on popular Chinese messaging platform WeChat – a welcome new addition to our current repertoire of social media accounts already on Facebook, and LinkedIn. Joining an active user base of 846 million, the official Pacific Prime China WeChat account now offers a whole host of exciting new features exclusive to our followers. To avail these perks, simply follow us on WeChat (WeChat ID: PacificPrime) today!

Pacific Prime China meets Chinese market trends

In joining the ubiquitous WeChat platform, Pacific Prime China taps into a whole new audience of avid users – more than 90% of WeChat users go on the messaging app every day, and over 50% of users use WeChat more than 1 hour daily! By keeping up-to-date with the latest market trends in China, Pacific Prime China joins in with 560,000 other official company accounts on the most popular online community channel in China.

With a current active user base that is hiking its way up to the 1 billion user mark, WeChat has far surpassed Twitter’s 317 million users and is steadily catching up with Facebook’s 1.79 billion active users. Interestingly, corporate workers form the largest user group on WeChat, making up 40.4% of total users.

More than just a messaging platform

Pacific Prime China sees enormous potential in finding new ways of personalizing our services to existing and new clients on WeChat, especially when looking at the different ways that users are currently engaging with the platform. For example, not only are people communicating via chat, but they are also engaging on its social media platform “Moments” with friends and companies – a significant 61.4% of users go onto WeChat Moments when they open the app.

Another popular feature is WeChat Payment, which links WeChat with the user’s credit card. There are now 200 million users connected to WeChat Payments, and this highly availed feature has even seen over 8 billion “red envelopes” sent over WeChat during Chinese New Year in 2016!

Key features offered in new Pacific Prime China WeChat portal

Here are a key few of the many exciting new features that you can expect from the new Pacific Prime China WeChat portal:

  • Claims processing: Existing clients of Pacific Prime China can now access their policy details, easily process claims, and also change their policy information.
  • Assisting new clients: Our WeChat portal allows us to assist our new clients with regards to securing their new policies
  • Access to a dedicated service team: We now have a dedicated team servicing our WeChat account, helping you with any questions you may have.
  • Keeping you informed: Followers will be able to access exclusive blog articles so that they can stay up-to-date on the latest, most important market information relevant to the insurance industry, covering topics related to expat health insurance, general insurance, health trends, and many more.

Don’t forget to follow us!

To access the exciting new features now available on Pacific Prime China’s latest portal, be sure to follow us via our WeChat ID: PacificPrime, or by scanning the QR code below:

Pacific Prime China WeChat

 

Interested in learning more about our WeChat portal or the plans that we offer? Contact us today and our team of insurance advisors will be more than happy to have a chat.

Posted by Jess in General Insurance, News
Insurance options for kids going to school overseas

Insurance options for kids going to school overseas

If you are planning on sending your child overseas for education, you undoubtedly already know there are a number of things to consider. One such thing to consider is your child will need health insurance. Here, we take a look at the common solutions available to parents whose children will be traveling abroad.

 

Common insurance solutions for students studying abroad

When going abroad for work or study there are usually a number of health insurance solutions available for people to consider. Here is an overview of the 3 most common types of health insurance secured by students studying abroad.

Travel insurance

These plans are designed to provide emergency medical cover to people while they are outside of their own country. Generally speaking, most travel insurance plans are a set period in length, usually providing cover for either individual trips of up to a set number of days or numerous trips of a set length (usually less than 30-60 days) over one year.  

Travel insurance plans are popular for students studying abroad not only because they offer medical coverage but they also cover other travel related incidents such as flight delays, lost luggage, and even emergency medical evacuation back to your home country.

The one thing to be aware of with these plans is that they are not designed to provide elective medical care while overseas, rather they are designed for medical emergencies and provide just enough coverage to see you well enough to return to your home country. If you plan on going to the doctor while studying abroad, the visit likely will not be covered by this plan.

Health insurance from a local provider

Almost every country popular with students will offer some form of local insurance. These plans are designed to provide citizens and residents of these countries with adequate health insurance coverage in that country only.

Generally speaking, there are two types of local insurance available in most countries:

  • Local plan offered by a private insurer – These are plans designed and sold for and to local markets by insurers who have licenses to operate within that country.
  • Coverage provided by the government – These are plans or coverage offered by the local government.

As mentioned above, local health insurance plans are designed to provide adequate coverage for most residents. In most cases, people with these plans will be visiting the public health sector which in many countries is subsidized by the government. As such, you will usually find that these plans have relatively low levels of coverage, or have limits placed on the amount you can claim for care.    

It should also be noted here that while many countries have health care or health insurance sponsored by the government, there are usually strict requirements as to who is eligible for this type of care. A good example of this would be Singapore with their Medisave program. Permanent residents and citizens of Singapore pay a percentage of their monthly income into a savings account that can then be used to cover the cost of healthcare for themselves and their family.

This savings account is not available for foreigners, which means their children would also not be able to benefit from the offsetting. If they were to get sick, they would need to pay the full cost to see a doctor.

Another example of this would be in Canada where all citizens and many residents have access to provincial health care, and students are required to have health insurance. The issue is, in some provinces, foreigners are not eligible for provincial insurance. This means that you will need to secure a plan from a private insurer.  

Health insurance from an international provider

The other common option for students going abroad is an international health insurance plan. These plans, offered by the global or international branches of major insurers, provide worldwide coverage. In other words, your child will be covered in your home country, the country they study in, and any country they may visit while overseas.

International health insurance plans are also designed to offer high coverage limits which means you can visit nearly any medical center and receive quality health care. These plans are popular with many expat families and companies who send their employees overseas as they afford the policyholder the ability to visit top quality healthcare.

The main concern many people have with these plans is that they are considerably more expensive than local or travel coverage.

 

Does my child actually need insurance while studying abroad?

This can actually be a fairly tough question to find a concrete answer to. Some schools and countries will require a valid insurance plan to be secured in order for a visa to be issued while others will simply recommend it.

For example, if your child is going to the going to school in the US, it is mandatory for some student visa holders to secure health insurance coverage that meets ACA (Affordable Care Act) requirements within the US.

One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is that it would be a good idea to contact the university or school your child will be attending. The reason for this is that some schools will actually offer coverage as part of the school fees. This is particularly common for schools in the UK, Canada, Australia, and even some in the US. These plans are usually local cover only and are affordable, however they may not be available to some students or will often have fairly strict limits and rules attached to how the plan can be used.

And of course, in many cases, it would be advised to secure a health insurance plan for your child in case they get sick and need to visit a doctor.  

 

Which health insurance plans should I purchase for my child?

In Pacific Prime China’s experience, it would be advisable to secure both a travel insurance and an international health insurance plan. The reasoning behind this is that the travel insurance plan will cover your child while they are traveling between your home country and the country their school is located in. There is always a chance that their luggage could be lost, or there will be delays while traveling (especially during the winter in the northern hemisphere) and having coverage to help offset the additional costs these bring can be a big help.

When it comes to actually living in their new country, an international health insurance plan will help cover the costs of any care needed. This is especially important in countries like Hong Kong, Canada, the UK, and the US, where the cost of health care can be prohibitively expensive if you don’t have access to the government/public health subsidies. These plans will also cover your child when they are at home and can have additional coverage elements like dental, and vision added thereby allowing your child to visit a dentist while they are at home on break.

One of the major advantages an international health insurance plan offers for children studying overseas is the fact that they will usually have emergency evacuation coverage. This means that if your child gets sick while at school you may be able to get them moved back to their home country, or a location where relatives are who can help them recover.

If you are looking for a health insurance solution that will cover your child while they are overseas, contact Pacific Prime China today. Our experts will be happy to discuss your options and help you find a plan that meets your whole family’s needs.   

Posted by rmcbroom in Expat Health Insurance, General Insurance
Insurtech: The next big buzzword in insurance?

Insurtech: The next big buzzword in insurance?

You’ve probably heard of the word “insurtech” at some point, but what does it mean? This portmanteau of “insurance” and “technology” is a recent buzzword that describes how insurers are revolutionizing the insurance industry with disruptive technology to improve and grow their offerings. Since technology took central precedence in the Chinese government’s 2013 reforms, the insurtech sector continues to flourish, with sales that could reach over US $60 billion by 2018. This article highlights some of the major trends in insurtech and what this could mean for the future of insurance in China.

Are insurers utilizing technology?

There is little doubt that insurtech is nothing short of disruptive, but before we look into some popular examples of how the industry is leveraging technology it would first be a good idea to look into what exactly health insurers are doing and their view on technology.

Historically, health insurers have been a little slow to uptake technology but this is starting to change as we found in our Top International Private Medical Insurance Trends report released in early 2016. As we found in our report, health insurers are increasingly implementing three technological elements:

  • Portals
  • Mobile apps
  • Claims and plan data

It is clear that insurtech is certainly having an impact on the health insurance providers we work with, but there is still a long way to go in terms of catching up with other industries. Below are some interesting new insurtech elements that the industry is starting to look into leveraging.

Integrating wearable technology and health insurance

Wearable technology is huge in China, with over 9.5 million wearables sold between April and June 2016 alone. These Internet connected devices not only help you track your fitness and sleep patterns, etc., but they also gather large amounts of real-time data. This presents many new opportunities for insurers to adapt and create new offerings so that they are more personalized and flexible. Some insurance companies have even begun to offer discounts and other benefits to encourage people to share their wearable data.

Complementing underwriting data with wearables

Despite its growing popularity, the widespread adoption and integration of wearable devices by the insurance sector is still in its early days. However, essential data collected from these devices is increasingly being used to complement underwriting data.

For example, with a fitness tracker you can more easily identify what kind of lifestyle improvements you will likely need to make in order to adopt a more healthy lifestyle. If you’re committed to these lifestyle improvements, for example if you show that you have a good track record of exercising as well as having adequate sleep, this information could eventually be used to negotiate lower premiums, especially after a few years of solid results.

Tackling new risks with cyber insurance

According to China Daily Asia, China sees an astounding US $60 billion in cyber losses annually, with more than 8 million servers hijacked within the past 2 years. Cybercrime continues to dominate headlines in the country as hackers become increasingly sophisticated.

As such, a new type of insurance, named cyber insurance, has emerged to tackle these cyber risks. Cyber insurance protects policyholders from liabilities incurred as a result of private data being lost or leaked to the public, and also protects them from cyber attacks and hacks by arranging the funding needed to cover cybercrime losses.

The future of consumer cyber protection

Although this type of insurance tends to be more popular for organizations looking to protect their data, we predict that more homeowner’s insurance policies will include this type of coverage for consumer cyber protection. By offering security audits, insurers will be able to check whether or not sensitive data (e.g. banking details) stored in your computer and in your mobile devices are truly secure and hack-proof.

Other emerging forms of insurance

As the insurance sector continues to be influenced by technological innovation, new forms of insurance offering more personalized services are beginning to emerge. Chinese tech giants like Alibaba, WeChat, and Tencent have been quick to notice this trend as they continue to compete for market share in emerging forms of online insurance platforms.

With technology, insurance companies are also able to pinpoint opportunities to develop new types of insurance, some even capitalizing on protecting policyholders against social risks such as divorce. As providers begin to find new, more sophisticated ways of analyzing and gathering consumer data, we predict that services offered by providers will continue to be more flexible and tailored to the individual.

To learn more about your insurance options, visit Pacific Prime China today.

Posted by Jess in General Insurance