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Cutting the Costs of International Assignments for your Company

Globalisation is changing the way companies operate. With emerging markets in the UAE, Bahrain and parts of Africa, the world’s workforce mobility is showing no signs of slowing down. While it is beneficial to send staff to these regions in order to populate international offices with your best talent, there are costs attached to sending your staff abroad. However, not all of these costs are unavoidable, say corporate health insurance experts at Medibroker International.

A recent study showed that the average investment in an international assignment is US $311,000 per annum – that’s £202,430.

This costs extends to health checks, flights, and general relocation fees. As a HR professional, you hold a duty of care towards the staff you send overseas and should supply them with everything they need to ensure a smooth transition, including a compliant health plan.

The cost of failing to protect your staff

Your staff are your company’s most valuable assets. Failing to properly look after your globally mobile staff can be extremely expensive – the cost of a failed assignment ranges from US $570,000 to $950,000 and health issues are a common reason for employees returning from international assignments early.

The benefits of implementing strategies to protect your staff’s health significantly outweigh the operating costs of international health cover.

Looking after your employees’ health before, during and after an international assignment is one of the best ways to save money.

Another main cause of failed expatriate assignments is spousal and family adjustment problems so it’s a wise idea to provide cover for the employee’s dependents along with other spousal support to help ease the transition.

Moving overseas for work can be a stressful experience, and the resulting health effects could darken your employees’ time abroad.  It’s vital that they have access to the best healthcare, medical evacuation, a 24-hour medical helpline and choice over the medical facility and doctor who treats them. Health facilities differ widely around the world, and employers should offer their staff international health insurance plans to compensate for the lack of free treatment overseas.

Can your company afford to skimp on staff health cover?

Last year’s shocking Telegraph article about cost-cutting HR bosses sending staff abroad with no health cover exposed the fact that a quarter of bosses feel they can’t afford to supply their valuable staff with health plans for their time overseas – despite their recognition of health insurance’s importance.

A worrying 16% of bosses surveyed assumed that travel insurance would cover their employees’ health overseas. Travel insurance is not suitable for expatriate workers as it only covers things like lost luggage and flight cancellations. At a time when the global market is expanding rapidly, this lack of awareness concerns Medibroker’s product development Manager Steve Nelson:

“Ensuring your expatriate staff have the right medical insurance product is so important; it cannot be left to guess work. If you are not sure whether a travel plan or an international private medical insurance plan is the best option then do not leave it to chance, ask an expert. Do not leave it until it’s too late, the implications of needing medical overseas without the right medical insurance can be disastrous – not just for your employees health but also financially for your company.”

How to avoid failed international assignments

HR executives may want to organise a medical check for international assignees aimed at identifying pre-existing medical issues before assigning employees to a foreign country. This ensures employees are fit for the assignment and conditions in their host country by identifying general and work-related health problems before the assignment begins.

Investing in pre-travel health check programmes could reduce the occurrence of failed assignments, and results in up to 2.5X cost savings. However, without proper health cover, these health checks could be seen as an unpleasant cost.

Get the best international health plan for your globally mobile staff

Medibroker can work with companies to find the ideal private medical insurance plan for your workforce, which can form a vital part of your employee benefits package. Medibroker’s expert health insurance advisors take the time to understand your requirements and then assess over 100 plans from more than 30 leading insurance providers to find the most suitable plan for your needs.

Our health insurance help is completely free and you will never pay more than the price of your plan. By using our broker service, you benefit from expert advice without paying more than you would by going to an insurer direct.

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