With so many comparison sites available, why use a medical insurance broker?

You could be mistaken for thinking that insurance brokers have had their day- with reports such as this year's Plimsoll survey suggesting that over half the top 1000 companies in the sector are either at risk or takeover targets, surely those looking for international private medical insurance surely need look in only one place, the comparisons websites? Think again, is the message from a UK success story in this field, Medibroker, who have been offering companies and private clients from all over the world one to one advice on the intricacies of international private medical insurance for over 15 years.

With expatriate health insurance being a voluntary purchase and therefore no statutory minimum levels of cover, as exist for example with motor insurance, the result is a wide level of choice. One of the reasons why this sector has not been overtaken by the comparison websites, therefore, is the sheer complexity of the products on offer. No two insurers have the same level of cover across the same countries and every insurer is likely to want to look at their clients differently, especially if there is any medical history, or "pre-existing" medical conditions, as the jargon goes. Extend that into the area of corporate cover for staff working abroad, ie Group schemes, and the complexities multiply still further, as providers offer discounts and special deals to win the day.

Take the position of a soon to be expatriate. Let's say he has found work abroad and must now decide whether to take out expat medical insurance or not. Chances are, he may risk not buying insurance, a very poor but common decision, according to Robin Pegg, CEO of Medibroker. "Medical costs overseas are very expensive and even something as mundane as an injury sustained in a car accident can cost thousands of pounds to treat, making a premium look very good value indeed. Yet believe it or not, around half of expatriates have no insurance and risk running up bills of, for example, 12,000 to treat a fractured ankle in Hong Kong."

Finding the right international health insurance broker can be time consuming, but it is a search which is well worth it, as there are many levels of cover available in different parts of the world and a huge range of international private medical insurance providers and products to choose from, so knowing what suits you and your family's needs is not easy.

Specialist UK brokers, like Medibroker, can offer impartial advice on a range of health insurance plans from up to 30 different insurers and reassuringly, are regulated in the UK. Wherever you are in the world, they will shop around and do the hard work for you. As experts, they will research the market and compare cover and costs.

International private medical insurance generally pays for the treatment of acute conditions, i.e. those that are short term and curable. The policies will usually pay out for diagnosis and treatment, operating expenses, hospital accommodation, evacuation to a specialist centre, if appropriate facilities are not available in the country of residence.

What you pay will depend on your age, sex, health and where you live. The smart expat will therefore try to tailor their cover so it tops up that which is available locally for free - that kind of solution is only like to be available with a highly personalised approach, though and is another reason why brokers are to be preferred over comparison sites. Very often, you can still secure insurance cover on good terms, even where there is a medical history, something that is often overlooked and frequently given as a reason for not taking cover.

Robin Pegg
Newcastle 23 May 2013

For more information on Medibroker's international private health insurance broking services, please visit -

Medibroker is an award-winning, independent broker, which specialises in providing international private health insurance to both the individuals and companies. Since its foundation in 1998, Medibroker, has been offering independent advice and support to expatriates of all nationalities regardless of where they find themselves living.
Policies can be arranged to cover the full range of inpatient and outpatient costs, including evacuations, wellbeing benefits and complementary medicine. Medibroker gives clients access to policies from over 30 top insurers covering most major expatriate destinations. Medibroker advices both expats and UK residents based on their specific needs and provides tailored advice to ensure that clients have the best policies for their particular requirements and circumstances.
Medibroker is the trading name of APRIL Medibroker Limited, who are regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority, and follows the code of the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The regulated Firm number is 304773. Registered office: APRIL Medibroker Limited, Unit 4, Rake House Farm, Rake Lane, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, UK, NE29 8EQ.
Posted 30MAY13