For the past nine years, Andrew Bard has been involved in the global benefits industry. During that time, he has learned the tricks of the trade and now, as the vice president of sales and marketing for HCC Insurance Holdings, he has shared some explanations and tips.
It takes a whole team of people in each company to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of overseas operation, Bard said. Legislation is constantly being amended, so it is important to keep up-to-date on the latest alterations affecting American-based insurers and insurers that provide any United States benefits.
Bard said the biggest challenge facing the industry is the reoccurring changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was enacted into legislation by President Barack Obama in 2010. The act reformed various aspects of the private and public health insurance realms, increased insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions, expanded access to insurance and increased projected national medical spending while decreasing Medicare spending.
Although the law primarily affects American insurance companies, Bard believes it will have an extending effect on any insurance company with U.S. operations.
“As a consequence, over the next couple of years, you may see a constriction of insurance carriers that provide benefits for expatriates and foreign nationals,” he said. “Certainly, you will see the U.S.-based companies changing benefits, limits, etc.”
He said the key to building a successful partnership with clients is offering excellent service at a low cost. This is the mantra for his company, HCC Insurance Holdings. He said service is the number one driver behind customer satisfaction, followed by cost.
Bard provided some tips for implementing a successful global benefits plan:
- Find a trustworthy and competent insurance broker with global experience
- Stay involved in the process! Do not let the broker make all the decisions
- Understand, in detail, the benefit plan you are buying
- Always ask for references from both the broker and the insurance carrier