5Feb

4 Ways to Lower Auto Insurance Cost in 2023

A combination of factors including inflation, rising interest rates, and fluctuating gas prices, made life difficult for drivers in 2022. The added strain of increased auto insurance prices only added to the financial pressure.

The main factors behind the increase were more people driving and cars being more expensive to repair. The company predicts that the average annual rate will go up another 7% to $1,895 this year, but they may not stop there. It could be several years before prices fully stabilize.

A recent survey from the insurance comparison website Insurify found that nearly half (47%) of US drivers saw their car insurance costs increase in 2022. Experts believe that insurance companies will continue to raise rates across the country.

According to a recent Yahoo article, auto insurance rates are expected to rise 8.4% in 2023 in the US, and this trend will likely follow in Hong  Kong.

While the continued rise of inflation may cause auto insurance rates to go up, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact on your monthly budget.

1. Shopping around for coverage and comparing quotes.

If you haven’t recently reviewed your car insurance options, you may be overpaying for your coverage. Gone are the days of a tedious comparison process – modern technology has streamlined the process of obtaining quotes from various providers. Make sure you understand the value of your car and the cost of repairs or replacement when considering the amount of coverage you need to buy.

2. Keep your driving record clean.

Safe driving can also help lower your rates, as can having a claims-free or violation-free driving record.

As reported by Insurify, a single infraction on your driving record could cause a surge in your auto insurance premium, with an average increase of 34%.

Many insurance providers offer discounts to drivers who maintain a clean driving history and pose minimal risks on the road. If you have prior driving incidents, you can regain your insurer’s trust and improve your chances of getting a discount by taking an accredited vehicle safety or defensive driving course.

3. Increasing your deductible.

When purchasing car insurance, you must agree to a deductible, which is a specified sum you must pay from your own pocket before your insurance company starts covering the costs of a claim.

By increasing your deductible, you have the opportunity to significantly reduce your monthly insurance bill. Keep in mind, however, that you must have enough funds readily available to pay the full deductible if you need to file a claim in the future.

4. Consider using a pay-as-you-go insurance plan.

Usage-based insurance or pay-as-you-go insurance allows you to pay for the driving you actually do rather than the assumptions made by your insurance company.

To facilitate this type of coverage, the insurance company will either provide a plug-in device or a mobile app to monitor your driving habits, including the frequency and distance of your trips, your driving patterns, and your driving style.

You may be eligible for a discount from your insurance company if the data gathered reflects safe and responsible driving habits, such as infrequent and short trips focused on following traffic laws.

However, this system operates in both directions. Engaging in risky driving behaviors, such as driving long distances or frequently braking hard, can result in penalties from your insurance company.

If you need help finding the best auto insurance cover that fits your budget, we can help. Village Insurance Direct specializes in sourcing personal and business insurance for expats in Hong Kong.

4Jan

3 Insurance Trends that Are Changing the Industry

The insurance industry has shown its ability to withstand challenges and change with the times in recent years. By using advanced digital technologies, insurance companies have been able to improve their efficiency and undergo positive changes.

Overall, the past year has had its ups and downs. While there were increases in premiums in both personal and commercial insurance and challenges such as crises and natural disasters, new companies entering the market struggled to effectively innovate in the industry.

From a “glass half full” viewpoint, we did see that ongoing competition encourages innovation. We observed a growing interest in cloud transformation (despite some delays). The emergence of modern ecosystems was also observed. In the middle of all these changes, carriers also grasped the importance of a diversified talent pool and gave hiring, development, and retention top priority.

We foresee three trends that will probably influence the insurance sector in 2023 and beyond, given the industry’s continuous struggles with issues like inflation, rising interest rates, climate change, and a skills shortage.

1. Emerging and Evolving Risks

Insurance companies find it challenging to navigate the risk landscape due to uncertainties sparked by international problems, governmental rules, and economic forces.

Additionally, these types of risks tend to be intricate and interrelated. For instance, extreme weather and natural disasters can create vulnerabilities for businesses and make the workplace hazardous and properties uninhabitable.

Another growing risk is cybersecurity, with a rise in the frequency and intensity of ransomware attacks. Cybersecurity is no longer just a matter of technology but a business risk as well. To address these interconnected threats, insurance companies must be quick to respond and adapt. This means being flexible and proactive in using tools like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to prevent and mitigate risks. In the coming year, data management systems and decision-making tools will likely play a central role in helping insurance companies operate efficiently and effectively.

2. Tech Integration to Normal Life

Insurance companies are focusing on reducing costs and promoting long-term growth as they look ahead to the new year. Some companies are modernizing their technology systems, either by streamlining their legacy systems or adopting new technologies. Others are using insurtech solutions to enhance their offerings.

Ultimately, insurance companies are working to build flexible, scalable, and resilient technology systems that can support growth and add value. This may involve automating certain parts of the claims process, using data from third parties to better assess risk, or implementing digital customer service tools to improve satisfaction. By starting with a strong foundation, insurance companies can take advantage of these opportunities and continue to shape the industry in the coming year.

3. A More Human Experience for Clients

During difficult times, it’s important for insurance companies to remember the emotional impact their actions have on their clients. Customers often want more communication with their insurers, especially when they are in need.

Engaging with agents and providing high-touch support can make customers feel heard and kept informed. Customers also appreciate being able to choose the communication channel that best fits their needs, whether it’s a website, smartphone app, or live conversation.

A poor customer experience can cause people to switch to a different brand, so it’s important for insurance companies to prioritize the customer experience and shift from a policy-focused business model to one that is customer-centric. Companies that do this well will likely find success in the long term. Providing personalized and omnichannel experiences can improve the customer experience and streamline processes.

13Nov

Four Cybersecurity Outlook for Small and Medium Businesses in 2023

In the post-COVID-19 era, the market for cybersecurity insurance is anticipated to grow from US$ 11.9 billion in 2022 to US$ 29.2 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 19.6%.

Cyber insurance will be bought by more SMBs than ever. Industry research found that only 15% of SMBs had purchased some form of cyber insurance, even though cybercrime was one of their top concerns. This means that for the foreseeable future, cyber insurance represents the single biggest growth opportunity for carriers, brokers, and MGAs.

According to a recent survey by Inc.com, which found that there are more than 30 million small top midscale businesses in the US alone, 77% of these companies believe that adopting technology throughout their company is a key factor in their growth.

Cyber insurance will be a part of every organization that depends on digital technology currently or in the future.

Here are four outlooks for cybersecurity in 2023:

1. Insurance companies will factor in a company’s existing (or non-existing) cyber security measures.

For carriers and policyholders that lack an active risk management system for these risks, the cost of mitigating and insuring data breaches and other cyber catastrophes will keep rising. For small and medium-sized firms, a cyber event often costs insurance more than US$150,000.

The average cost of a cyber incident for large businesses is around US$10 million. Carriers will demand more security from businesses to buy insurance to reduce those expenses and keep a successful book of business.

We predict that, at the very least, policies with limits of more than $500,000 will need to have anti-virus, firewall, two-factor authentication, backup, and encryption.

2. Companies that’ve already experienced data breaches will have a harder time finding a cyber insurance provider.

According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office  (gao.gov), the increasing threat of a cyber breach will drive an upsurge in cyber insurance premiums while reducing availability.

In 2020, 47% more buyers chose cyber coverage, up from 26% in 2016. The cost of cyberattacks roughly doubled for American insurance companies between 2016 and 2019. And as a result, there was a significant rise in insurance prices. Due to the current shortage of insurance capacity in the market and the fact that many firms are unable to obtain cyber insurance at an acceptable price, costs are likely to increase.

3. Costs are projected to rise as a result of the market’s existing lack of insurance capacity and the fact that many businesses cannot find cyber insurance at a competitive price.

Brokerages must now be ready to discuss a packaged approach: a pre-placement cyber risk report, a competitive cyber insurance policy, and a platform that continuously monitors exposures throughout the policy’s lifetime and notifies the insured before a breach occurs. This will help clients avoid a price spike following a breach and a claim.

This strategy may lessen the need for some coverage restrictions or exclusions while preventing premium increases.

4. The adoption of AI-powered automated underwriting for cyber policies will keep expanding.

Providers can help their clients in getting the coverage they require, lower the chance of a breach, and prevent premium increases when carriers and MGAs use tested automated underwriting supported by tested technology. In order to provide the SMB market sector with a cyber insurance policy, automated data-driven solutions are essential.

If your business needs help finding the right cyber insurance, get in touch with us at Village Insurance Direct.

28Aug

Updates on Employees’ Compensation Ordinance in Hong Kong | Typhoon Season

The Labour Department has reminded employers to make prior work arrangements for staff to ensure the safety of employees and smooth operation of establishments now that it’s typhoon season.

The Labour Department (LD) reminded employers to make prior work arrangements for staff during and after tropical cyclone warnings, including arrangements on reporting for duty, release from work, resumption of work and work from home (if applicable) to ensure the safety of employees and smooth operation of establishments.

There are several changes to the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance in Hong Kong. Companies need to be aware of these changes which essentially means that more people are now eligible for compensation if they suffer an injury or illness as a result of their work.

The key details about the ordinance are:

1. The scope of coverage has been expanded to include those who are not employees, such as domestic workers.
2. The definition of ‘compensable injury’ has been broadened to include mental health conditions caused by work stress.
3. The maximum amount of compensation that can be awarded has been increased.
4. The time limit for making a claim has been extended from one year to three years.

How will this affect businesses in Hong Kong?

Companies will need to take measures to protect workers from injuries and illnesses, both physical and mental. This may include providing safe working conditions, and training staff on how to cope with work stress. They may also need to budget for higher compensation payments in the event that an employee does suffer an injury or illness.

The penalty for non-compliance is HK$100,000 and 6 months imprisonment.

The reaction of employers to the new ordinance has generally been positive, as they recognise the importance of protecting workers’ health and safety. Some have raised concerns about the increased financial burden that may be placed on businesses, but overall most seem to support the changes.

One way for employers to reduce the financial burden from their end is to purchase employee compensation insurance, which will now become even more essential.

The cost of employee compensation insurance for a small business is estimated at around $2,000 per year while it costs a medium-sized business $3,000 to $4,000 and a large business $5,000 to $15,000.

Domestic helper insurance policies cost about $500 per year for up to four helpers. Coverage includes personal accidents, hospitalization and repatriation expenses.

Employers and businesses are expected to comply starting from the first day of employees’ first policy year. Changes to the ordinance in 2022 will make it mandatory for all businesses with employees to have employee compensation insurance in place.

Need help finding an employee insurance policy? Our advisors can help you find the right cover for your business.

17Jul

The increased risks for directors and officers Post-COVID

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, directors and officers of companies have faced increased risks and liabilities. These risks include potential litigation from shareholders, employees, and customers, as well as investigations and regulatory actions.

 

 

To protect themselves from these risks, directors and officers need to purchase D&O insurance. D&O insurance will help to cover the costs of legal fees and any damages that may be awarded.

With the remote work environment and the increase in cyber-attacks, there is an increased risk of data breaches. Directors and officers need to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect the company’s data. One way to do this is to purchase cyber insurance. Cyber insurance will help to cover the costs of a data breach, including the costs of investigation, notification, and data recovery.

CASE STUDIES

One case study about D&O insurance during the pandemic is about a company named Blink. Blink is a smart home security company and their D&O insurance policy covered them when an employee made false statements about the company on social media. Litigation cost Blink the amount of $2.5 million and their D&O insurance policy covered $1.5 million of that.

Had the company not had the proper insurance coverages in place, they would have had to pay for the legal fees and damages out of their own pocket, which could have been detrimental to the company.

Another notable case of D&O insurance companies can learn from is the case of Hertz which filed for bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy process, it was revealed that the company did not have enough D&O insurance to cover all the potential claims that could be brought against the company. This led to the company having to purchase additional insurance to cover the potential risks.

If companies do not have enough D&O insurance, they may be left exposed to potential risks that could lead to financial ruin. It is important for companies to have the proper amount of D&O insurance in place to protect themselves from these risks.

 

 

The cost of D&O insurance in Asia post-pandemic is estimated at $600 million, which is a 50% increase from 2019. The rise in cost is due to the increased number of D&O claims being filed, as well as the increased amount of coverage that is needed.

Now more than ever, it is important for companies to have the proper insurance coverages in place. D&O insurance can help to protect the company from the increased risks that they are facing. Cyber insurance can help to protect the company from the increased risk of data breaches. companies should purchase the proper insurance coverages to protect themselves from the risks that they are facing.

30Jun

Travel is Back! What does this mean for insurers?

With international travel starting to pick up again after Covid-19, what does this mean for insurers?

There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a profound effect on the travel industry. According to the World Tourism Organization, global tourism arrivals declined by 70-80% in 2020.

This represents a loss of 1 billion to 1.2 billion international tourist arrivals and a revenue loss of US$1.2 trillion to US$1.3 trillion.

The good news is that travel is starting to pick up again. Europeans have begun jetting to popular holiday destinations like Portugal, Mexico, and The Caribbean.

What does this mean for travel insurers?

 

As travel starts to rebound, insurers will need to adapt their products and services to meet the new needs of travellers. For example, many insurers now offer insurance plans that cover Covid-19-related travel disruptions.

Some insurers are also offering Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, which allows travellers to cancel their trip for any reason up to 48 hours before departure and receive a partial refund.

With travel starting to pick up again, it’s important for insurers to be prepared for the new reality of travel. by offering products and services that meet the needs of today’s travellers.

Countries That Require Travel Insurance with Covid-19 Protection

 

There are a number of countries that now require proof of travel insurance that includes coverage for Covid-19 in order to enter the country.

These countries include (This list may change over time so we recommend double-checking with each region’s policies):

– Germany

– Italy

– France

– Spain

– Greece

 

If you’re planning to travel to any of these countries, be sure to purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for Covid-19.

Asian countries that also require travel insurance with proof of Covid-19 coverage are (This list may change over time so we recommend double-checking with each region’s policies):

– Thailand

– Cambodia

– Laos

– Myanmar

– Vietnam

 

Do I Need Travel Insurance If I Have Health Insurance?

The answer to this question is, that it depends. Most standard health insurance policies do not cover you for medical expenses incurred outside of your home country. So, if you do get sick or injured while travelling, you will most likely have to pay out of pocket for all medical treatment.

Furthermore, even if your health insurance does provide some coverage for travel medical emergencies, there is a good chance that it will not cover the full cost. In these cases, travel insurance can help to cover the gap.

13Jun

The Value of Digital Health Services Post-pandemic

The pandemic has altered the way health care is given.

Insurance providers have reacted to the rising demand for digital and virtual GP services by developing products to fit customer needs.

Such programs have really taken off in terms of providing mental health support to consumers and those who have been affected by long Covid, and advisers recognise how crucial it is for clients to have access to them.

But, once Covid infection rates start to drop back, and restrictions are lifted entirely, will consumers continue using such solutions in the same way, or will they opt for face-to-face treatment as the country seeks to reclaim normalcy?

Increased Demand for Online Services

 

Jennifer Gilchrist, protection specialist at Royal London told Health & Protection said, “We’ve seen an increase in demand for digital health services coming out of the pandemic and people are becoming more used to virtual methods of accessing services.”

Gilchrist also added that many insurance providers devised more online and virtual capabilities quite quickly which has accelerated the digitalisation of an industry that’s been heavily reliant on more traditional processes when compared to other industries.

Ian Ranger, head of claims and medical underwriting from Canada Life also agreed and noted that a provider’s virtual support service was becoming part of customer expectations.

Health propositions lead at Aviva UK Health, Nina Brown, shared that for the first quarter of 2022, providers observed the average number of online appointments rise to 7,200 per month, with March seeing a record 8,500 appointments carried out.

Last October 2021, the average number of online appointments made was around 5,000 a month. These numbers are clear indications of continuing growth. Given this, healthcare providers, as well as insurers, need to respond to the demand and adapt.

Two factors must be kept in mind when innovating products/services:

1. speed
2. convenience

Less intrusive services and encourage patients to reach out more readily

 

The awkward waiting time at the doctor’s office or the energy-draining commute to the clinic can hinder some people to seek care. However, online services take away these factors and allow more people to reach out for mental health checks.

Virtual consults give plenty of breathing room for patients and lessen the anxiety some may feel when going to a therapist. Conducting a session in one’s comfort zone eases away a good chunk of the tension so there is more focus on more pending matters.

As the number of cases grows, digital delivery of services means long-term Covid patients don’t have to travel for treatment, as Dr Julie Denning, managing director of return-to-work rehabilitation firm Working To Wellbeing, points out.

“Those who have complex therapeutic demands, like those receiving cancer treatments or recovering from prolonged Covid,” Denning explained, “digital delivery means they don’t need to make additional travels outside of their home when they may be feeling exhausted, in pain, or concerned.”

The Demand for Digital Services is Unlikely Waning

While companies are making moves to return to work or have a hybrid setup, what healthcare providers and insurance can expect is the steadfast need for fast and convenient online services regardless of loose or non-existent restrictions.

Patients have realised the value of such services and there is very little sign of going back from this point forth.

 

10Apr

5 Tips for Claiming Health Insurance for First-timers

Filing a health insurance claim can be a daunting task.

We want to help make the process as smooth as possible for you. Our goal is to provide you with the information and resources you need to get through this difficult time.

Here are some tips for first-timers:

1. Gather your information. Make sure you have all of the necessary information to file your claim. This includes your insurance card, policy number, the name of your doctor and the dates of your appointments.

2. Call your insurance company. The sooner you start the process, the sooner you will receive reimbursement. Most insurance companies have specific time periods for claims so make sure to make note of that detail.

Common issues when claiming health insurance are :

– Filing a claim that is incomplete or inaccurate. And what we mean by this is, submitting a claim without all the necessary information or omitting critical details. This can result in the claim being denied.

– Not giving your insurance company enough time to process your claim. Each insurance company has their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to processing claims, so make sure you are familiar with them before filing.

3. Submit your claim. This can be done online, over the phone or in writing. Be sure to include all of the information you gathered in step one. Some insurance providers even have apps to streamline the process.

4. Follow up on your claim. Checking in with your insurance company to make sure they have all the information they need and that your claim is being processed correctly is a good idea. This will also help avoid any delays. Insurance companies often take several weeks to process a claim, so be patient.

Claiming for critical illness insurance may have different requirements. For example, critical illness insurance for cancer treatment requires pre-approval from the insurance company. Upon getting the cancer diagnosis, the patient then has to contact the insurance company and provide detailed information about their prognosis including scans, pathology reports and doctors’ notes.

The patient will also have to agree to certain conditions, such as using specific hospitals or cancer treatment centres. If all of this is done correctly, the insurance company may cover 100% of the cancer treatment costs

5. Get paid. After your treatment is completed, you should receive a bill from the hospital or doctor. Once you have paid this bill, submit a copy of the bill to your insurance company for reimbursement or whichever payment process is involved. Most companies will reimburse you within two to four weeks.

So, there you have it. Five steps to filing a successful health insurance claim. By following these simple tips, you can make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Good luck!

Get in touch with us to find personal and business insurance in Hong Kong. We specialise in expat insurance needs.

5Apr

How Insurers Are Developing New Products Post-Pandemic

The current pandemic of Covid-19 has created a need for all people to have travel insurance. If you are planning on travelling in the near future, it is important to have protection in case you become ill or injured while travelling. Many travel insurance policies include coverage for medical expenses and trip cancellations.

WHICH ASIAN COMPANIES ARE OFFERING INSURANCE FOR COVID?

In Asia, many companies have developed new products to cater to new travel insurance needs after the pandemic. As travel restrictions and requirements with coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to evolve, many people are left wondering what the current travel insurance policies will cover.

For example, insurance company AIG has developed a travel insurance policy that includes coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. The policy also includes a $1 million USD limit for medical expenses.

Another company, Tokio Marine, has developed a travel insurance policy that includes coverage for Covid-19 related expenses such as cancellations and rebooking.

Hong Kong Life Health Amulet travel insurance has announced that it will be offering a new travel insurance policy to cover travel disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new policy will provide coverage for travel delays, cancellations, and lost or stolen luggage.

According to Hong Kong Life, the policy is intended to help both insureds and their families during an epidemic. During the period beginning March 1, 2022, and ending March 31, 2022, with a valid application for any insurance plans (except certain products1) from Hong Kong Life at its Appointed Licensed Insurance Agency in Hong Kong, and the policy being

Hong Kong Life is not the only insurer to offer new travel insurance policies in light of the pandemic. Many other insurers have announced similar policies in recent weeks.

COST OF PREMIUMS

Premiums for travel insurance have understandably increased over the past year. Airlines, hotels, and other travel-related businesses have all suffered losses as a result of the pandemic, and people are increasingly aware of the importance of travel insurance in protecting them from financial ruin in case of an unexpected emergency.

To be sure you're totally protected, we recommend paying a higher premium for policies that allow you to cancel a trip for any reason.

In general, most travel insurance policies range from 5% to 10% of the total cost of a trip. Insurers may look at how long passengers have been travelling and the age of those on board. However, insurers are yet to inquire about immunization against COVID-19.

WHAT’S WORTH HAVING IN A POLICY?

To be sure you’re totally protected, we recommend paying a higher premium for policies that allow you to cancel a trip for any reason. This is an upgrade, therefore the cost of coverage will be approximately 40% to 50% more. However, because of this benefit, you can usually cancel your trip for any reason that isn’t covered by standard trip cancellation.

Need help finding the right travel insurance? Get in touch with us today.

20Feb

Increased Cyber Risks from Remote Work

Working remotely has become the default mode for many businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic. While this allows companies to continue operations while reducing their employees’ chances of getting sick it also opens up the company to new cyber risks.

Working from home requires access to Wi-Fi that may be insecure despite thinking otherwise. In the case of home networks, they are usually set up in default mode that permits devices to connect without passwords.

This even includes Wi-Fi-enabled appliances, monitors, door locks surveillance cameras, speakers and more. Your corporate mobile device may be using this Wi-Fi network also. And even if you are able to use a VPN and private servers, this does not mean your confidential data is not exposed to grave cyber threats.

The multiple variables of all your employees’ home network means that your IT department has to cover more computers. In addition, there will be some employees who don’t completely understand the probability of a data breach with an unsecured network – especially if they access work through public Wi-Fi like coffee shops for instance.

What can companies do to reduce the risk of cyberattacks while working at home? 

> Reinforce the use of VPNs for all remote staff

> Teach employees to scan devices before allowing them to connect with access by unauthorized software or hardware

> Double-check and lock remote devices wherever necessary to help reduce the possibility of cyber attacks without negatively affecting user experience.

> Disable split tunneling for VPN profiles to ensure that virtual employees won’t be able to access Wi-Fi networks directly without going through the corporate network first.

> Companies should also practice scheduled analysis of work-issued devices’ log data to improve detection of cyber incidents.

More importantly, companies should also update their cyber breach response strategies for the entire remote staff and practice plans through exercises with IT and security staff, along with officers and directors.

Many companies in Asia have been able to restructure operations and adapt to virtual offices. They are calling the remote workforce ‘the new normal’. Companies need to anticipate similar incidents like this pandemic – some may even pose more challenges.

For now, what’s needed are immediate measures to tighten online security of remote workers and revisit liability insurance policies that may not yet cover cybercrime-related claims.