• Insurance for Expats in Hostile Countries

    Posted by Dannielle Noonan


    If you are relocating to a country in which security is an issue, it's vital that you have the right international health insurance.

    Medibroker help people living around the world find the best insurance plans for their specific needs, and this includes finding cover for expats living overseas in hostile or war-torn countries.

    Historically, it was industries such as oil and gas, mining, and extracting that exported workers to these sorts of places, but we’re increasingly seeing a more diverse range of workers going to frontier markets.

    While policies which include cover against terrorist attacks are available, we understand that in today’s world conflict is not solely confined to war zones. So, what types of insurance are available for expats living in hostile countries, and what is the extent of that cover?

    Joe Thomas, Business Development Director at Medicare, one of the insurance providers we work with, explains how insurance providers have developed plans suited to modern reality; "Organisations such as NGOs and charities are frequently located in conflict areas where a war might not officially be raging, but where security is a live issue. However, securing international private medical insurance cover for individuals living and working in such passive war zones can be as problematic and difficult as the work they themselves are doing."

    Working in hostile environments: The risks.

    If your company sends people to countries in which their health and safety may be at risk, you as an employer have both a legal and ethical duty of care towards them. You should provide an international health insurance plan tailored to expats in conflict zones to ensure individuals can be cared for and if necessary evacuated in the event of illness or accident.

    Workers posted overseas face both security and health risks. Security risks can include things like natural disasters, geo-political instability, or crime, whereas medical risks can encompass endemic diseases such as malaria and Dengue fever – threats employees tend to overlook because they are less concentrated in the media than the more overt geopolitical issues.

    Medibroker can guide you to a plan that provides ‘passive war’ cover for expatriates living and working in the world’s hot spots. This can include protection for war and terrorist attack.

    Evacuation cover is likely to be particularly relevant in conflict zones, where local medical facilities may be damaged or supplies of medication and blood for transfusions may be an issue.

    Case Study: Why international health insurance is vital for expats in war-torn countries.

    Joe told us about the case of a freelance reporter, who was on an assignment in Afghanistan when he was seriously wounded by one of the many insurgent groups there, to illustrate the importance of having evacuation cover. Shot in an ambush, the injured reporter was admitted to a local military hospital intensive care unit where he was treated and stabilised for gunshot wounds to the chest. He was operated on immediately and flown out of Afghanistan on a German military flight at a cost of $5000 USD. The cost for the military flight and the surgery eventually totalled £35,533.66, but luckily, he will make a good recovery.

    The reporter probably owes his survival to the fact that he was able to be treated rapidly and then evacuated. Without international health insurance that included evacuation cover, this may not have been the case.

    For freelance workers, NGO and voluntary aid teams, ready access to good quality international private healthcare for front line staff is essential, as the speed with which a patient is treated is often a factor in how quickly and fully they can recover. Particularly in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where the medical infrastructure has been torn apart, access to basic lifesaving procedures such as intensive care can be extremely difficult, making evacuation to a suitable local medical center essential if lives are to be saved. In such circumstances, it is reassuring to know that Medibroker is on hand to recommend policies that provide cover for an insured to be airlifted out, should the need arise.

    In addition to helping you find a plan suitable for the country in which you or your workforce will be located, Medibroker offers over 25 years of experience, impartiality and support for the length of your policy. Contact our team for a free, no obligation insurance quote today. Alternatively, you can email customer.services@medibroker.com or call +44 (0) 191 270 3034.

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