International life insurance – how do you get cover?

12 August 2010

When companies send employees abroad or individuals take the brave step to embrace the expatriate lifestyle, one area often neglected is life insurance. International lifestyles are seldom covered by domestic policies and few of the companies who offer life insurance at home will be able to support a policy abroad.

There are very few insurers providing expat life insurance for individuals or global life insurance for companies with expat employees. Finding cover is a virtual minefield in respect of policy conditions, regulations and availability.

When trying to source international life insurance there are a number of factors to consider:

  • Occupational risk.
    If you are planning to work on offshore oil rigs, down mines or at heights then your options are going to very limited. Bellwood Prestbury often creates bespoke policies underwritten by Lloyds’ of London to cover global life and accident insurance for people working in risky occupations.
  • Geographic risk.
    Once outside what is generally accepted as the ‘developed world’, life insurance underwriters take a different view of risk. For example, at August 2010:
  • All the Gulf Co-operation Council countries are viewed as ‘safe’ except for Saudi Arabia, which often attracts a war/terrorism exclusion.
  • As you might expect, Iraq and Afghanistan are high risk areas and normally underwriters will exclude death as a result of bodily injury, but surprisingly, Pakistan and most of India are treated in the same way.
  • Almost all of Africa will attract a risk loading as a minimum and exclusions for most Sub-Saharan areas.
  • Regulations.
    Many international companies are unable or unwilling to provide life insurance to expats because they don’t hold the relevant local business authorisations. This means that even if you are working in a safe country (say Germany), you may not be able to access non-German insurance because of your country of residence.

Bellwood Prestbury has the experience and expertise you need to get the right level of international life insurance cover. Because we have access to underwriting at Lloyd’s of London as well as the full (but limited) range of international life insurance providers, we have yet to find an international life insurance brief we couldn’t fulfil. What’s more, because we get a commission from the provider, helping companies or individuals through the international life insurance minefield doesn’t cost our clients a dime. Or a penny. Or a cent.

To find out more about international life insurance options, call our experienced team on +44 (0) 1242 584 558.

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