In this exclusive iPMI Global interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Global, met with Eithan Wolf, CEO, PassportCard Europe. They discussed 2023 in detail and looked at the achievements of PassportCard Europe over the past year.
Please introduce yourself and background in the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market:
Eithan Wolf CEO of PassportCard Europe, member of the PassportCard group management board (controlling shareholders: NYSE: WTM, $4B). I am single, living in Hamburg, Germany. My background is in Fintech and Innovation, being responsible for the launch and leadership of the Innovation and digital division of a tier1 bank and its IT integration to the fintech ecosystem. Prior to that I practiced corporate law and have published a corporate governance legal book which is considered as must read in directors’ liability courses.
In the past 12 months, what has your business achieved in the iPMI market? How did you do it?
My north star is seeking added value to the benefit of the clients. As such we not only focus on providing good products (which we have updated this year to the benefit of the clients) but also work hard to do beyond the written letter, such as inhouse-led rescue missions (list below), presenting free airport lounges to our clients upon flight delays and optional riders. This year we have been especially proud of our service net-promoter-score that reached new heights in the industry with a number between 60-70, at a market standard of approximately 20-30. I am also proud to have gained the trust of Germany’s leading airline company in a unique partnership.
- April – Bus accident in South Korea: We flew a PassportCard rescue team to South Korea, repatriation back home of dozens of our insured who were injured.
- July – Northern India floods: We flew a PassportCard rescue team to India in order to make contact and find more than 100 insured who were unable to contact following the interruption of communications in India.
- July – fires in Rhodes: Rescue of about 120 insured people from Rhodes and bring them to a neighbouring country.
- August – war in Ethiopia: Sending out a rescue team, rescuing dozens of our insured from the fire areas and returning home Safely.
- September – earthquake in Morocco – Flew a PassportCard rescue team, evacuation of about 120 of our insured from the disaster areas and coordination of flights for their return home.
Geographically speaking, where are the “hot” international private medical insurance (iPMI) markets currently?
Top destinations for expats remain the US, Spain and the UAE.
Looking at 2024, what do you have planned for the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market?
Our focus is on continual improvement to provide customers with the absolute best in insurance solutions. We're dedicated to enhancing your insurance experience with cutting-edge services and valuable additions beyond traditional coverage.
Exploring opportunities for market expansion into regions with growing demand for international private medical insurance, aligning with geopolitical and demographic shifts.
Since Covid-19, how has the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market changed?
The global pandemic has heightened awareness of the importance of health coverage, leading to an increased demand for iPMI as individuals seek comprehensive health protection, including coverage for COVID-19-related expenses.
There has also been a growing focus on digital health solutions and telemedicine services within iPMI offerings, however this also presented how much it is important to be equally “human”. When someone is sick, sometimes a chat box or a tedious IVR is the last thing they want to speak with. I take pride in offering 24/7 inhouse human service from Hamburg, in 20 seconds a call.
What role is artificial intelligence and machine learning playing in the international private medical insurance (iPMI) market?
We would definitely see this becoming more relevant in the insurance landscape, already being implemented in international health symptom classifications and active life-style apps. I suggest keeping eyes open on this one.
When we look at the global iPMI market, where do you see the major opportunities?
Since the pandemic, we've seen even more people embracing the expat and digital nomad lifestyle. With companies giving the green light to remote work, people are always on the move and living in new countries. Many times, the discussion and the terms are not aligned with what we witness out in the “field”. We see more and more people taking their laptops to work remotely. From abroad however the traditional definition of “nomads” that have no affiliation to any destination is not translated to the high volumes as it was discussed to be. Insurance is required to be more agile and meet the requirements of the changing landscape however this is where we battle with older generation industries. Those who know how to move fast and present their services to the right target audiences will hit the mark.
What is the scope for global international private medical insurance?
The scope for global international private medical insurance (iPMI) is broad and encompasses a range of factors, reflecting the dynamic nature of the global healthcare landscape.
Cross-Border Coverage: Global iPMI offers coverage across borders for expatriates, business travellers, and individuals with a global lifestyle, ensuring protection in different countries.
Comprehensive Healthcare Protection: Going beyond basic medical coverage, global iPMI includes a wide array of medical services, preventive care, emergency assistance, and specialty treatments for thorough healthcare protection.
Expatriate and Mobile Workforce: Specifically designed for expatriates and the growing mobile workforce, global iPMI meets the demands of those working remotely or relocating, providing adaptable health coverage for their international lifestyle.
Digital Health Integration: The integration of digital health solutions, telemedicine, and virtual health services enhances accessibility and convenience for policyholders, particularly in the context of remote work.
Customization and Flexibility: The scope allows for customizable plans, tailoring coverage to individual needs. It offers flexibility in coverage options, empowering individuals to add or remove specific benefits based on their preferences.
Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions: Some global iPMI plans provide coverage for pre-existing health conditions, offering assurance and support for individuals with ongoing health needs.
Crisis Management and Evacuation: The scope includes provisions for crisis management, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation services, ensuring individuals have access to critical care when needed.
Cross-Cultural Support: Global iPMI providers offer support services that consider cross-cultural aspects, assisting individuals in navigating healthcare systems in different countries and languages.