In a Nutshell: As more individuals and families choose to live and work outside their home countries, the need for health, life, and income insurance increases. William Russell is a leader in the expat insurance space with a 30-year track record and a reputation for transparency and personalized service. To hedge against incurring debt, members in more than 160 countries count on William Russell to deliver straightforward protection that travels with them wherever they go.
National borders are becoming less and less restrictive as many individuals and families choose to live and work abroad. During the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home models have grown more common, and people are more interested in preserving lifestyle preferences than they are in staying in one expensive location — or country.
In many cases, that can even mean leaving home for life as an expat. From Asia to Africa to Latin America, international communities have arisen where people from highly developed nations take advantage of less expensive lifestyle costs and enjoy more luxury.
As these trends have gained momentum, the need for reliable insurance protection for expat workers and families has increased. For 30 years, William Russell has provided health, life, and income insurance that travels with expats to help protect against the threat of significant or even life-changing debt.
“We were one of the first to do insurance especially for expats,” said Will Cooper, Head of Marketing at William Russell. “We cover their insurance needs because often they need an international plan which isn’t available locally, and they want a Western brand to trust in.”
Insurance expectations at home don’t typically translate into the same kind of protection abroad. UK expats, for example, may be accustomed to the blanket protection offered by the National Health Insurance.
“When they move, they tend to expect that they will have adequate health care or that if they need assistance, they can pay a cheap rate,” Cooper said. “That really isn’t the case at all.”
A Worldwide Provider Network With 24/7 Personal Support
The Allianz Group, the world’s largest insurance company, underwrites William Russell’s policies, ensuring peace of mind for members. The possibility of incurring debilitating debt looms for expats who may have high expectations regarding the insurance coverage available in their adopted countries. William Russell can step in with an effective solution.
“We’re a family-owned business, so we’re very different from the bigger players on the scene — mainly big U.S. insurers,” Cooper said. “Although we may be smaller, we have more staff per customer than any of our competitors, so we can offer better service to our customers.”
Health insurance products draw on a worldwide provider network that includes more than 40,000 hospitals, with caregivers capable of addressing complex needs. Members choose among a range of plans. Value plans cover the most serious conditions and mitigate major health care costs. Comprehensive plans include coverage for routine childbirth, mental health treatment, and chronic conditions.
“When someone submits a claim, we have an online form that gets picked up by one of our staff members,” Cooper said. “That staff member will handle the claim for the duration of the treatment and beyond — because some treatments have follow-ups for life.”
Turnaround times for outpatient claims are about five days. For hospital admissions, the team takes an active role, dealing directly with the hospital to arrange treatment and second opinions. William Russell also offers a 24-hour hotline to help members with anything they might need.
“We pay claims directly to the hospital,” Cooper said. “Even for the most serious inpatient cases, the client almost never has to pay money toward their care.”
Plans for Businesses Protect Employees and Their Families
Life insurance products help families with significant financial obligations, including mortgages and education costs. Unlike traditional life insurance that covers death only in the country where the individual purchased the policy, William Russell provides protection that crosses borders.
Income protection insurance ensures consistent cash flow if the policyholder is unable to work, with policy choices that protect up to 75% of salary.
Global Campaigns Lead Ekaterina Vankova noted that the COVID-19 pandemic brought transformation to the employment marketplaces. As a result, businesses have increasingly turned to William Russell for employee benefits plans that help attract and retain top-level talent.
The plans offer employee groups health, life, and income protection combinations to help businesses ensure operational continuity and effectiveness, and to protect employees against incurring debt.
“The employee benefits products have been changing quite a lot during COVID-19 because employees and businesses want a more flexible approach to their benefits,” Vankova said.
Health insurance components include the same high coverage limits and staff support as the standalone products. The same is true for life insurance components aimed at families and income protection policies that cover costs and protect against personal debt in the event of long-term illness or injury.
The imperative to cut costs during the pandemic was a factor, but companies also realized they needed to offer more flexibility. Many companies consider William Russell’s comprehensive insurance protection a game-changing benefit in a world where more workers feel empowered to go where the market takes them
“Now, it’s not so important that you get freebies in the office,” Vankova said. “Maybe it’s more important that you receive mental health support and other health care benefits.”
William Russell Simplifies Expat Insurance in a Global Market
Simplicity is another key to William Russell’s appeal, whether policies are delivered directly to individuals and businesses or through brokers. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation across global business sectors, and William Russell has invested extensively to ensure its online customer experience is state of the art.
“We needed to make sure our process was as smooth as possible,” Vankova said. “People can find all their information online, and they can file a claim form and receive a quote from us online, as well. Along with our brokers, we are doing our best to improve the digital journey.”
Fraud protection has also been a priority, according to Vankova.
“This is something that we, as insurers, are trying to handle to make sure the claims we are paying out are genuine,” she said.
Cooper noted that the commitment to simplicity extends to pricing. New and established customers pay the same costs, and the company favors a straightforward model where only age and geography affect product costs.
“You only pay for what you need,” Cooper said. “A lot of our business comes through brokers, but it’s the same premium for all members regardless of whether they come to us directly.”
The company can also handle any language gaps that might arise — in keeping with its global approach. William Russell ensures that its global member base, located in more than 160 countries, receives the kind of prompt service that keeps the family-owned business among the leaders in its category.
“Our team speaks multiple languages,” Cooper said. “We’re quite a collaborative group, so if there are any particular language requirements which someone in another team can provide, we’ll lend a hand. The objective for us is always to help our members as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
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