Malta, Turkey & Singapore added to 'toxic destinations' by Healix Medical Risk Assessment

Published Monday, August 10, 2009

An analysis of travel insurance claims has lead the Healix medical risk assessment team to add Malta, Turkey and Singapore to its 'Toxic Destinations' list for travel insurers.

The addition of these specific travel destinations follows analysis by Healix of travel insurance medical claims over the last three years and reflects the high costs of claims incurred in these countries.

The upgrading of these countries has now been incorporated into the Healix Risk Rating tools utilised by the majority of UK based travel insurers when underwriting for pre-existing medical conditions.

"When looking at our league table it is probably not surprising that the USA is in the top 3 with an average medical claim cost of over £1,000" confirmed Steve Hook, Sales & Marketing Director, Healix Group.  "The USA was surprisingly, however, topped by Singapore and China for costs of claims - for China the average cost of medical claims was over £1,200."

"However, it might be just as surprising to see that a country like Egypt has an average medical claim cost of just over £200 - but this is likely to be because of a higher incidence of lower value claims and underdeveloped medical network."

The latest analysis from Healix also backed up assumptions about the impact of age on the cost of medical claims, with the average for over 71's being almost double that for those aged 55-59 and more than three and half times the average for under 55's.

The Risk Rating tools available from Healix provide travel insurers with the facility to incorporate medical risk assessment into their own on-line and call centre policy sales processes, enabling them to understand and potentially accept increased risks presented by people with pre-existing medical conditions.  With an estimated 80% market share in the travel risk assessment screening sector, Healix has revolutionised the way pre-existing medical conditions are dealt with, integrating assessment of risk into the sales process. 

Applicants' responses to simple questions are scored resulting in the generation of a medical score as a linear analogue measure of underwriting risk.  And the tool is designed for use by non-medical staff, seamlessly incorporated into existing on-line or call centre sales processes.  However, Healix also backs up the service with a  helpline, staffed by doctors and nurses, enabling call centre staff to take advantage of real-time medical advice for individual customers whilst the customer is 'on hold'.

"Pre-existing illnesses can have a big impact on claims if not accurately underwritten, taking account of age and likely cost of local treatment", continued Steve Hook.  "But underwriting individual policies is an expensive process - so many insurers simply choose to exclude pre-existing conditions altogether.  However this then omits them from a key sector of the market which is not ideal in these challenging times. It also presents potential customer satisfaction problems with many policyholders unaware of what a pre-existing condition is and what is and isn't covered.

"The answer is to make an assessment of medical risk at the point of purchase, with a clear statement of what will and won't be covered.  And our risk assessment solution enables insurers to do this - particularly for customers buying annual policies - without having to obtain medical information from doctors, etc."


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