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Protect your family finances

11 June, 2009 11:22  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Article sponsored by William Russell

By Nigel Harris, Chief Executive Asia Pacific, William Russell Limited

No one likes to think about accidents and emergencies, but when you are living overseas with your family it is absolutely essential to have secure insurance arrangements in place to protect yourself, your partner and children if something untoward happens.  Nigel Harris, Chief Executive Asia Pacific at international expatriate insurance specialist, William Russell, looks at the products and services that are available to protect your family when the unexpected strikes.

Malaysia is an exciting place to live, offering expatriates an excellent lifestyle, vibrant culture and welcoming home away from home.  Like any country however its social services are geared to the needs of the local population and as a result the welfare safety-net may provide expat families with a different level of protection against life’s emergencies than they would expect in their home country.

It may be that you are living in the centre of KL, or in more remote parts of the country; perhaps your children are at school in Malaysia while your work takes you further afield.  Whatever your personal circumstances, it’s essential to make sure that you have the right insurance products in place to provide you with the level of protection you need to match your lifestyle.  These fall into three main areas, international private medical insurance to give you and your family fast access to the highest levels of medical treatment wherever you are in the region, income protection to replace your salary if you find yourself unable to work for whatever reason and life insurance to protect your family’s finances if the unthinkable happens and you’re no longer there to provide for them.

There’s little doubt that Malaysia's medical services are among the best in the region, however if you need medical treatment you’ll need to visit one of the many private hospitals or clinics and pay for your treatment.   Private medical insurance (PMI) is designed to cover these costs – but take care as PMI comes in many guises and as an expat you need to make sure that the policy you buy is geared to the international lifestyle.  International PMI, from specialist providers like William Russell is designed to provide access to emergency medical treatment around the world.  We offer the advantage that as a family-owned business we understand the particular needs of expatriate families with children overseas and as our Asia Pacific office is based in Kuala Lumpur you know we’ll be there when you need us.

Make sure when you are buying your International PMI policy that it covers all the countries you are likely to visit on work.  Yes KL is a long way from New York – but if you are likely to be visiting the States for example make sure that your policy provides full cover.  On the other hand if you are never going to visit an expensive healthcare location such as the USA, buy a policy without this cover as it will save you a great deal on premiums.

Also make sure you will benefit from full emergency medical evacuation cover, local 24/7 emergency assistance and a high level of financial protection.  Our Global Health Elite Platinum plan for example provides the widest possible cover with high value benefit for maternity care, routine and complex dental treatment, regular preventative health screening and an exceptionally high amount of cover for the treatment of chronic conditions.  Also take care to ensure that your whole family is covered, you’ll need cover for your children if there is an accident on the sports field at school and your partner at home, just as much as you will for yourself.  Our policies are geared to families with discounts of up to 50 per cent when you insure more than one child.  What’s more, our Global Health plans allow you to add low cost travel insurance and accident cover to provide complete protection.

Medical emergencies are not the only risks faced by expats.  If you suffer an illness or accident that leaves you unable to work, you’ll need an income while you recuperate.  Income protection policies are insurance plans designed to provide you with a replacement income while you are unable to work.  Again it is prudent to buy a plan designed specifically for expats as you are likely to find restrictions in domestic policies which make them unsuitable for the international lifestyle.  At William Russell our Global Income Protection plan is designed to replace up to 75 per cent of your salary and payments will be paid continuously until you are either fit to return to work – or right up to retirement age if necessary.

Finally, don’t overlook life insurance.  It’s an unpleasant thought, but your family will need protection to provide a reliable income to replace your earnings if you die before you reach retirement age.  Fortunately life insurance is generally low cost and you can easily buy cover providing up to 20 times your annual salary for a low monthly premium.  Remember however that as an expat many domestic life insurance plans will be unsuitable for your lifestyle.  Instead look for an international plan designed with the expat in mind.  At William Russell our Global Life plan provides cover for expatriates of all nationalities throughout the world – providing complete peace of mind.

Living and working in Malaysia offers the expat an enviable way of life and excellent standards of living.  By making sure that you have the right insurance plans in place to protect your family’s finances you can make sure that you can enjoy the lifestyle to the full.

Nigel Harris,
Chief Executive Asia Pacific, William Russell

telephone: +852 3690 2143

William Russell


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