BRICS In Focus: International Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) Country Guide

iPMI market report author, Ian Youngman highlights some countries that IPMI insurers my want to look into.

  • IPMI insurers and brokers need to keep up to date with global economic moves.
  • The focus of the world and which countries are important is changing fast.
  • India has overtaken China on population growth while the UK, USA and Western Europe are increasingly isolationist.
  • Much of our media is UK/USA/European focused so you may have missed a huge new announcement.
  • BRICS considered 23 new nations from 40 applicants to join the 6.
  • It has invited 6 who are all expected to join.
  • The six are: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • BRICS nations are Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.
  • The admittance of top energy exporters Iran and Saudi Arabia alongside top energy consumers China and India could foster more resilient trade relationships.
  • There is a vast interest in BRICS among countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, with Washington more focused on their own problems than international links,
  • Within Europe the massive growth of the Polish economy sees Europe axis moving from a troubled Germany to Poland as the nation that Eastern European countries look to.
  • China’s economic growth is stagnating while war stymies Russia.
  • So BRICS looks to expand to revive economic growth.
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE may not be a surprise as their economic growth is known - but they are moving from being USA allies to partnering with China.
  • Iran is controversial to the USA and EU but not if you understand the global economy.

IPMI market


  • The IPMI market in the UAE has peaked with too many insurers and brokers.

Saudi Arabia

  • It is compulsory for all private sector organisations to provide health insurance to their employees as well as their dependants - this includes spouse, unmarried daughters and male children below 25 years of age.
  • The state’s Council of Cooperative Health Insurance controls the compulsory health insurance system.
  • Health insurance is a visa requirement.
  • IPMI is on offer from many global and national insurers but there is still potential for growth.


  • The universal health insurance programme will be rolled out across the country gradually till 2032.
  • The new state health insurance is optional for foreigners who are earning their income or living in Egypt.
  • But the law has a twist—as it is subject to reciprocity by other countries; unfortunately it does not explain further so nobody knows how this is going to work.
  • IPMI is on offer from some global and national insurers but some major names are missing and there is much potential for growth.


  • The economy of Argentina is Latin America's third largest and the second largest in South America behind Brazil.
  • IPMI is on offer from a few global and national insurers but many major names are missing.
  • The potential for PMI and IPMI is largely untapped.


  • There is no compulsory health insurance.
  • Very few people in the 125 million population have health insurance.
  • It has the second biggest population in Africa.
  • Ethiopia's economy is based on agriculture, coffee and services.
  • Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
  • It is a desirable location among investors seeking for emerging markets.
  • The influx of foreign investment is increasing by 30% annually.
  • The government does not permit foreign direct investment in the insurance industry- but insurers hope this will change by 2024.
  • IPMI is allowed but there are no insurers with a presence.
  • Several local and global insurers are hoping to set up there but most still think Ethiopia is a poor country.


Sanctions mean European and USA companies cannot operate here.

The economy has massive potential that scares the West.

  • Effectively no US or European insurer or broker is going to risk doing business in Iran or even insuring Iranian nationals or businesses.
  • The downside risk is too high.
  • The largely untapped potential of the Iranian insurance sector attracted several major USA and European insurers to the market after the previous lifting of sanctions and would do so again.
  • The Health Insurance Organization of Iran says that 120,000 foreigners are covered by Health insurance Organization via a contract with the UNHCR.
  • With a population of 89 million there is massive potential for IPMI and PMI.
  • There are no global brokers or insurers present but insurers from fellow BRICS countries could enter while Europeans and Americans sit helpless on the sidelines.
  • Sanctions will end so insurers should have a contingency plan.

Get More In Country iPMI Market Intelligence

The recent iPMI report, International Health Insurance 2023, by market analyst Ian Youngman, provides 177 country profiles, along side a whole host of business intelligence. Get your own copy of the report, click here.

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