If there was a silver lining to the COVID-19 era, it is the acceleration of flexible working trends, shifting the possibilities for the way we work. As international borders reopen, we have received a growing number of questions from businesses whose employees are stretching the definition of remote work and moving abroad (temporarily and permanently), and who are curious about what this means for their insurance responsibilities.
Depending on the country, duration of stay, insurer, and terms and conditions of the Policy Wording, answers to these questions will vary. This article outlines some of the key considerations for businesses to discuss with their insurance broker prior to approving international working arrangements to ensure policies are fit for purpose and risks are proactively managed.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR BROKER:
1. Will our Corporate Travel policy provide overseas medical expense cover for my employee? If so, does this extend to COVID-related illnesses? If not, what are the alternatives?
Over the past 12-18 months, many insurers operating in the Corporate Travel space have excluded overseas medical expense cover arising from COVID-19 related illnesses. Honan has access to several key markets offering this cover. This is especially important as travel resumes and the COVID situation evolves.
2. What risk mitigation procedures does the insurer expect to be implemented by the business and the employee to avoid COVID?
Insurers expect the following practices to be implemented to limit risk:
a. Monitor travel and COVID advice for all relevant locations
b. Observe the relevant entry/exit COVID testing requirements
c. Maintain discipline around social distancing, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, etc.
d. Ensure the employee is fully vaccinated (including boosters, as required).
3. What is the maximum duration of any trip allowed under the Corporate Travel policy and are the trip numbers declared to the insurer at renewal still adequate?
4. If the employee is permanently residing overseas, does insurance need to be obtained locally?
Depending on the country of residence, the rules and regulations outlining how and where insurance is to be obtained will differ. Check with your insurer that the policy administered from Australia will provide worldwide coverage and that the country of residence accepts “non-admitted” policies. If permanently residing overseas, accessing private health insurance or the Medicare equivalent may provide the necessary coverage.
5. Will any medical expenses be covered under Workers' Compensation?
Typically, Workers' Compensation Schemes provide coverage to Australian workers and will only pay expenses to locally registered providers. It is important to ensure the Corporate Travel or Expatriate policy will respond in the event of an accident or illness whilst overseas. It is not until the employee returns to Australia and receives ongoing medical attention that the Workers’ Compensation Scheme may respond.
When assessing your insurance needs for an employee seconded abroad, we encourage you to explore the following options with your broker:
Cover for medical expenses and assistance whilst working in an overseas country, particularly where the duration of stay exceeds 180 days. Depending on the policy, this may also extend to maternity cover, emergency transport, and other benefits including dental and optical.
WITH YOU ALL THE WAY
Whether you’re an existing Honan client or considering whether your cover is right for you, please reach out at any time.
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Honan holds an Australian Financial Services License 246749. Honan is not an insurance company, rather an insurance broker acting on behalf of our client. Where we act under a binder (as the insurer’s agent) we will notify you. Any advice on this website is general in nature and does not take your personal circumstances into account. Make sure it’s right for you. Insurance cover is subject to policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions. Before making a decision regarding an insurance product you must read the Honan Financial Services Guide and relevant Product Disclosure Statement.”
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