An overlooked employee group can be those employees traveling or working outside of corporate headquarters. These employees have needs for life, health, accident, disability and international travel insurance just as do those who work in the home office. However, those needs are likely not met by the insurance carrier used by the employer’s home office due to their unique requirements. A common misconception is that the home office plan provides the international protection needed.
Foreign-based employees consist of two groups. Expatriates (those working outside their home country) or Foreign Nationals (local nationals working in their home country for an international company). Both these groups can enjoy international benefit plans that are similar to those of their colleagues working in the home office.
There are a number of benefits to consider, then, for these special employee groups:
- Employees traveling or working outside HQ
- Foreign-based employees (expatriates)
- Foreign-based employees (foreign nationals)
These special employee benefits can include:
- Life insurance that is a flat amount or a multiple of salary. Along with life insurance is the additional inexpensive coverage of accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D). When AD&D is included in the life coverage, then “double indemnity” is in effect. If the employee dies due to a covered accident, the AD&D and the Life policy both pay a benefit.
- Short-term and long-term disability that pay monthly benefits if the employee is unable to work due to an accident or illness. As an alternative, permanent total disability may be available, which pays a lump sum benefit that is a multiple of the employee’s annual salary.
- International travel insurance is essential for staff who venture outside their home country for business purposes. This low-cost coverage provides a high level of benefit in the event of an emergency (accident or illness). These plans include medical evacuation to a suitable medical facility for treatment.
- Worldwide health insurance is the most attractive benefit and is highly sought by employees. The health program can be tailored with or without deductibles, and with or without co-insurance. The worldwide aspect means the employee is insured anywhere in the world, even if they travel or are reassigned to another country. Working in a foreign country with full medical coverage provides a level of comfort not only for the employee but also for the employee’s spouse and dependents.
International carriers provide 24/7 customer service, online access to filing claims, and multiple language capabilities. Global medical provider networks are available that have doctors, clinics and hospitals in countries around the world. Many providers are on a direct-bill relationships with the carriers so the insured members have little or no out-of-pocket expense when undergoing treatment.
Just as the home office staff appreciate their benefits package; international employee benefits are critical in attracting and retaining top international talent. Consider their specific needs, and watch employee satisfaction and retention rise.
Ken Slaton is senior vice president at Global Benefits Group.