11Jan

5 Changes in Travel with the Vaccine

Vaccine approval that came in the tail-end of 2020 has left travellers wondering what changes they should expect this year.

And as many countries ramp-up vaccinations, the world is once again left in the dark with the new strain of the virus that led to more shutdowns and closed borders.

Given the current situation, what changes can we expect?

VACCINATION PASSPORTS

Qantas Airlines stated in November that it will require proof of vaccination from their passengers once a vaccine is approved. This serves as an onset of what other airlines will do to ensure health and safety.

Many airlines are currently testing technology to streamline the health documentation process, including mobile health apps like CommonPassICC AOKpass and VeriFLY to ensure travellers can show their health data in a secure, verifiable way.

it is important to note, however, that until the vaccine is widely distributed, rigorous screening and quarantining will remain a key part of the travel experience — before and after travelling.

SOARING TRAVEL COSTS

Depending on the destination, foreign visitors will still be required to quarantine for periods ranging between 14 to 21 days. The new COVID strain has pushed many countries to require extended quarantine which means added cost for food, accommodation and other miscellaneous expenses.

The tourism industry has also adapted to travel bubbles in which a set of tourist destinations agree to accommodate a group of while keeping doors to new visitors closed. As a result, a person or group that’s planning to stay for only five days in a country will have to stay the same number of days with the batch they with whom they arrived. As such, one can incur additional expenses.

REDUCED CAPACITY & SHORTED ITINERARIES FOR CRUISES 

Most cruises will return sailing at a reduced capacity with limited routes. In the US, initial trips will be limited to 7 days, according to C.D.C. guidelines. Masks will be mandatory in all public areas including outdoor decks. Screening and testing will also be mandatory.

Even with intensified safety measures, several cruise lines in Europe and the Caribbean that sailed in recent months were ordered to cut trips short after reporting outbreaks.

BUSINESS TRAVEL UNLIKELY TO PICK-UP IN FIRST PART OF 2021

Travelling for business is not expected to recover soon with many businesses moving operations online. Majority of airline recovery will be from leisure travel during the first half of the year.

Frequent businesses flyers with points have also been assured that they’d still be able to use their points for future flights. What’s more likely to happen is that there will be an increase in value in how flier miles can be used in the first few quarters of 2021.

Finally, in relation to cruises and air travel, agencies and transportation providers are expected to roll out more flexible cancellation policies to last at least through 2022 or longer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

An emphasis on travel insurance with repatriation and Covid-dedicated policies are also anticipated to emerge as Visa requirements. Expect insurance providers to offer new products that cater to these needs in the early part of 2021.

As it stands, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with international travel. Domestic holidays will prove to be the simpler and more cost-effective alternative for the lockdown-weary.

Need help with travel insurance? We help find the best policies for expats in Hong Kong.

16Nov

5 High-paying Jobs in Hong Kong for Expats

While many expats continue to work remotely during the pandemic, Hong Kong remains to be one of Asia’s thriving business hubs for foreigners. 

Borders remain closed to non-residents, however foreign workers can still enter Hong Kong once their work visas are approved. New arrivals will need to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

For those curious to know, here are 10 jobs that pay well for foreigners:

1. Chairpersons, Director and Team Managers

Top executive positions across all industries have the highest salaries, of course. These jobs are complex roles that require experience, knowledge and high-level skills to handle all the responsibilities. Salary can be up to HK$ 3,000,000 or higher.

2. Marketing Managers

Directors and positions in digital marketing, in particular, have great promise as a job in Hong Kong. Businesses see the need for digital presence and engagement with local and global audiences. Expats offer the type of perspective an international campaign needs.

3. E-commerce Expert

The use of online channels for sales has spiked over the last five years. This has also opened a bulk of job opportunities for foreigners with knowledge in the e-commerce industry–from creating sales funnels, email marketing, advertising, and market research.

4. Auditors and Accountants

An early career accountant with one to four years of experience is paid an average annual compensation of HK$259,700. Accountants perform financial calculations for companies in a wide variety of fields. 

On the other hand, an auditor with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of HK$265,000.

5. Chefs

Hong Kong has an immensely diverse food culture with world-class hotels that are in need of kitchen staff, sous and head chefs to manage a high-pressure environment. Some companies have multiple store locations that can often mean handling all their operations. A mid-career Sous Chef with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of HK$311,538. Executive chefs get paid an average of HK$600,000 annually.

Other jobs worth mentioning:

– English teachers
– General Counsel
– Talent Acquisition/HR
– IT & Data Analysts
– Finance and Banking


Need help with business and employee insurance for your company or employees? We help find the best plans for expats.

 

Sources:

https://www.payscale.com/
https://www.michaelpage.com.hk/advice/market-insights/market-updates/top-10-highest-paying-jobs-hong-kong-2020 

4Nov

4 Financial Lessons from Covid 19

This year has challenged businesses and our personal finances. Job loss and diminished profits will affect the next couple of years (maybe more for some) and recovery is crucial. Of course, this is not the first economic downturn we’ve faced but it’s certainly significant because it’s on a global scale. 

Furthermore, the changes brought about by the pandemic not only affected people’s finances but there’s also the factor of lifestyle and the general way of how everyone “normally” went about their lives.

Now that we’ve watched this year play out and its end just around the corner, what can we do to position ourselves in a more crisis-ready strategy for our finances?

Here are the financial lessons we’ve learned from Covid 19:

HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLAN

Have a comprehensive financial goal.

These plans should include:

– Long term and short term financial goals
– Milestones
– Contingency plans

It’s not enough to be able to pay our bills and run a business. Not losing money every month may give the misconception of stability but it’s important to have set goals to work towards a higher level of security.

Be specific about goals such as having both health and life insurance in place before the age of 35 to avoid higher premiums. 

Another example would be finding the solution for events like losing 15%, 30%, or 50% of your income. (Hint: Loss of Income insurance may help)

It’s these specific goals that prevent us from being too anxious about sudden events such as this pandemic. Financial goals provide us with better foresight of where the gaps are so we can fill them as quickly as possible.

HAVE 3 TO 6 MONTHS’ WORTH OF EMERGENCY FUND

Save up 3 to 6 months worth of income

Save up money that’s worth three to six months before paying off debt. Having this safety net allows us to support ourself during uncertain times like job loss or low sales in business.

Once you start doing this, it’s also good to add two months each year to get to a total of one year’s worth of emergency savings. That will come as a huge advantage when coupled with unemployment insurance because it can further extend to over a year.

FIND MULTIPLE INCOME SOURCES

This doesn’t necessarily mean having two fulltime jobs. But it can help to explore part-time gigs that will not require too much out of our mental bandwidth. Perhaps a hobby could also become profitable. Having an alternative stream of income can be helpful in case we lose employment.

This pandemic has given rise to plenty of virtual work and it’s an opportunity to find an additional source of money to reach our financial goals much faster. 

Putting money in low or medium-risk investments is also be worth exploring especially if there’s stagnant money in our savings account.

FINANCIAL STABILITY FIRST, DEBT PAYMENT SECOND

Be financially stable first before becoming debt free

Debt can be negotiable because institutions will have mitigation departments to allow debtors to find workarounds when unable to pay. Banks and other lending institutions also want to be paid back so foreclosure would be counter to them in many cases.

This is why gaining stability is more important to achieve first than paying off debts. A more productive way of looking at this is being debt-free is one of the tools in gaining stability. 

One may not have any debts now but if there’s no income coming in, that still puts that person in a stressful position. Having the money to pay for basic living expenses such as food, shelter and clothing are the top priority. 

These four lessons apply even during normal circumstances but more so now that we see how a global crisis highlights our financial blindspots. 

 

Need help with personal or business insurance in Hong Kong? We help expats find comprehensive plans for every need.

 

31Oct

Travel in 2021: Overseas and Domestic Trips

2020 is the year of huge shifts. The pandemic may have permanently changed the way we go about normal activities – from dining out to travel.

The travel industry experienced one of the biggest negative impacts of Covid-19 with massive layoffs and restrictions that have delayed recovery. In addition, going on holidays and quick trips in nearby areas have turned into inconvenient (and hazardous) undertakings.

Getting overseas work for expats has also become uncertain with regions having different border policies that may change the very next day. However, there are some parts of the world slowly reopening to make way for economic recovery.

As we close the year with the information we know now, many of us may be wondering how travel will look like in this 2021. From our perspective here in Hong Kong and Asia in general, international and domestic travel will pivot to provide more protection to travellers and further prepare everyone better for unexpected events.

Here’s how we see travel in 2021:

DECREASED BUSINESS TRAVEL

Travel in 2021: Less Business Travel

Online interactions will be the norm even for traditional businesses. Video conferencing and collaborative software have allowed companies to operate through the pandemic which means 2021 will be a year of reinforcing digital infrastructures. With a bulk of operations moving to the digital space – from hiring to client management – we foresee less frequent business travels.

This trend could mean two things:

  1. Skill-based overseas work or the need for foreign hires will be fulfilled locally.
  2. A less nomadic life for digital nomads.

For businesses who may find more roadblocks while adapting, we also foresee the greater need for liability insurance and business travel insurance to cover all their bases.

THE EMERGENCE OF TRAVEL CONSULTANTS

Travel in 2021: Need for travel consultants

As people resume travelling, they will need to outline their itinerary to safely navigate through the new changes for different countries. Travellers will need expert advice on border and health policies to lessen risks and unnecessary stress. 

Top travel consultants will be highly sought after by travellers to help them plan holidays. This could signal an opportunity for travel agencies. As information becomes more complex, agents and tour operators will be expected to take care of all transportation arrangements with more attention to details regarding health regulations and customer safety.

Thus, the cost of travel may also increase and the coverage policies of travel insurance will see plenty of changes.

PRIVATE AIR TRAVEL FOR BUSINESSES

Travel in 2021: More private jet travel for businesses

According to industry reports, private jets are experiencing an exceptionally high level of bookings as of Q2 2020. Specifically, most of the booked flights are reserved for new customers. For various reasons, air travel is indispensable means of transportation. Pre-pandemic, commercial flights used to be easier and safer. In 2021, people will begin to turn to private jets to maximize safety, comfort and convenience. 

PREFERENCE FOR LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

Travel Trend in 2021: Local Attractions will be on demand

Social distancing will be permanently integrated into public transportation which makes international travel more costly (because airfare will cost more to make up for fewer passengers). Because of this, people will be keener on local destinations and itineraries that require less contact with other people such as bike tours, hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.

Travel is foreseen to be far different from how we knew it. Clearly, new ways of getting to a destination will need to be both safe and sustainable at the same time. Information sharing is crucial and we have to be cautious about more things at least until there is a vaccine. For now, businesses and travel-enthusiasts must adapt.

Get in touch with Village Insurance Direct for travel and liability insurance with Covid-19 cover. We can help find the right policy for your needs.

14Oct

Infographic: What is PIP?

 

During these uncertain times, it’s crucial that one has the right protection for a high-risk job. Below is an infographic that explains the basic of a PIP.

Infographic: What is Pilots Income Protection?

Village Insurance, in conjunction with ABC (Aircrew Benefits) and Millstream (the lead underwriter), has created a new stand-alone pilot income protection (PIP) product.

The policy is designed for pilots who may wish to make savings on their existing PIP coverage by switching insurance carrier (subject to underwriting) or to purchase additional coverage.

15Sep

5 Common Excuses for Not Getting Cyber Liability Insurance

Increased online activity by businesses – from e-commerce to remote project management – requires an added layer of privacy security. Digital interactions with clients as well as between employees also means there is extensive sensitive data (e.g. addresses, credit card details, private messages, etc.) being shared and stored.

Businesses that ask for personal information places them in a position of possible liability should there be a breach in their system.

Cyber Liability and Data Protection Insurance is designed to safeguard online users from damage and loss upon exposure to hacking or system errors.

Unfortunately, most businesses do not see the need for this type of insurance for reasons such as:

1. My business does not store sensitive data.

Most businesses will hold information about their employees or suppliers as a standard practice, meaning these companies are at a higher risk of being targeted for a cyber attack. Downplaying the likelihood of having your valuable data stolen may cause irreparable damage to your company’s reputation and operations.

In a time when remote work and online interactions are the status quo, businesses need to have all bases covered.

2. I don’t sell anything online.

Chances are, your business still uses computers to store digital files of receipts, invoices, and names of customers. Having a local server and the absence of online commerce does not exclude your business from cybercrime.

One has to factor human error, malware, and phishing even if your company is not engaged with Internet commerce.

3. The Cloud is highly secure.

A company is legally responsible for the information that is stored in their cloud, even if a hacker accesses the cloud via a 3rd party. This also applies if you’re using an outsourced IT provider. If the provider’s system is breached and your data gets leaked, your business may incur notification costs (to both the Privacy Commissioner and the affected individuals), remediation costs and legal costs. Encryptions and 3rd party security measures will not cover these costs.

4. The IT Department will take care of it.

Does your IT department work round-the-clock? That’s highly unlikely. A lot can happen in a few minutes, let alone overnight when everyone is off.

Having cyber liability insurance in place will provide you with a 24/7 response team that can help mitigate further loss and damages when an attack occurs.

5. Our system is top-of-the-line and can’t be hacked.

There’s not a single system that is 100% secure. Technology is ever-changing and cyber attackers are constantly finding ways to access your data. And while you may have the most secure system now, that still requires everyone in the company to have the same knowledge and competencies in using, managing and maintaining it.

Again, human error can’t be discounted which makes cyber liability insurance all the more important for any business.

We can help your business find the best cyber liability insurance in Hong Kong.

21Aug

A Checklist to Know If You’re At Risk of Heart Disease

There are several risks factors for heart disease – some of which are preventable. They include hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smokingdiabetes mellitusobesity, lack of physical activity and chronic stress. Genetics also plays a factor which can or can’t be controlled by medical measures. [1]

According to the British Heart Foundation, UK residents dying from heart and circulatory diseases before 75 was recorded to have risen in May 2019 for the first time in 50 years. [2] In fact, coronary disease is one of the top health problems among expats in Hong Kong. [3]

This is a cause for alarm given that pre-existing conditions such as heart disease makes one more susceptible to Covid-19. This is why it’s important to check-in if you or your family are at risk.

Simultaneously, we recommend that you revisit your current health insurance (if any), to see if you’re covered in case something happens.

Here’s a checklist to determine if you’re at high risk for heart disease:

> Increasing age – people aged 65 or older are at a higher risk

> Gender – heart disease is more prevalent among men.

> Family health history (as well as race) – Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop heart disease themselves. African-Americans have more severe high blood pressure than Caucasians, therefore, at a higher risk.

> Smoking – smokers and the people who regularly get second-hand smoke from them

> High blood cholesterol – note that a person’s cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity and diet.

> High blood pressure – this condition increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart muscle to thicken and grow stiff as one ages.

> Inactivity – a sedentary life can lead to poor blood circulation, high cholesterol, and other co-morbidities.

> Diabetes – Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics are prone to heart disease. The risks are even higher if blood sugar is not properly managed.

> Being overweight – obesity leads to heart disease and stroke even if there are no other risk factors.

If you think you’re at risk and checked off several of the factors mentioned above, visit a health professional and ask about preventive measures you can do to reduce risks.

In addition, make sure you’re health insurance can cover coronary disease-related procedures and check-ups to protect your finances and prevent the need to dip into your life savings.

Sources:

[1] https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/healthtopics/content/25/57.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/13/heart-circulatory-disease-fatalities-on-rise-in-uk

[3] https://expatliving.hk/how-to-prevent-heart-disease-cardiologist-hong-kong/

[4] https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/understand-your-risks-to-prevent-a-heart-attack

2Jul

How to Reduce Covid-19 Risks on Road Trips

Air travel has certainly been impacted by the pandemic and it suffices to say that the frequency to which we travel overseas will significantly decrease.

In an interview with Axios, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky even said that global travel may never fully recover and that he foresees a future where people will opt to go on holidays within their own countries, possibly for longer stays.

BACK ON THE ROAD

It’s important to remind ourselves that the level of caution for this type of travel should be as equally serious as air travel.

The CDC also stresses that there’s no real certainty whether one mode of travel is safer than another. What we know however is that certain types of travel increase the number of places we can be exposed – airports, bus/train stations, and rest stops.

If you’re planning a road trip in the coming weeks, here are a few things you should consider:

1. Map out the number of stops you NEED. Minimise as much as possible by bringing your own food and water to decrease the need to step into a store with new groups of people. Bring a good amount of sanitation supplies in case you need to spend a night in a hotel or inn.

2. Prep your vehicle This should go without saying, however, taking that extra time to have your oils changed and tires rotated could mean the difference between safety and exposing yourself to new people in an unfamiliar auto shop on the road.

The smaller you maintain your network during the trip, the fewer risks you take.

3. Face shield and face masks are a must. Establishments have different policies about mask-wearing but the more crucial message here is to have a mindset that you may be an asymptomatic carrier. It’s part of everyone’s responsibility to wear masks to reduce contagion.

If you’re planning to travel with high-risk individuals such as diabetics or a person with a heart condition, DON’T. It’s not worth the risk. Road trips could also mean spending a large amount of time in places with very little to zero medical facilities.

4. Postpone if possible. Unfortunately, staying put is still the safest recommendation by the CDC and other health organizations. The illusion of safety by familiarity with friends and family members is emerging as one of biggest reasons for the increase in infection. If you can, reschedule that trip for a later date.

Lastly, if you MUST take that trip, be sure to have a health insurance cover that will take care of your emergency medical bills should the need arise. Don’t have one? Contact us and we’ll find one that suits your needs.

19Jun

Should I still get the flu shot during the pandemic?

Monsoon season signals the beginning of flu season – and with the world still trying to survive the coronavirus, is it still worth getting the flu shot even though it won’t protect us from Covid-19?

COVER ALL THE BASES

Stocking up on healthy food, vitamins, hand sanitizers as well as constant handwashing aren’t the only measures we can take to fortify our safety.

Getting the flu shot may not stop coronavirus but it could mean the difference between getting infected with mild symptoms or suffering (and possibly dying) from complications.

And since there’s a greater chance of a person getting the flu than the coronavirus, taking the vaccine is one of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid a mountain of medical bills.

Contact Village Insurance Direct for inquiries on medical insurance for expats in Hong Kong.

THE BEST TIME TO GET A FLU SHOT

In relevance to the ongoing pandemic and according to the CDC, people who have not received the flu vaccine for the current season and are planning to travel to regions where influenza activity is ongoing should get a flu vaccine to protect themselves during their trip.

In addition, the CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get an annual shot a three to six months before flu season starts.

STILL NEED TO TRAVEL? HERE ARE SOME TIPS:

– Be mindful and thorough with your research when you must travel to another country. The CDC provides updated information on seasonal flu activity throughout the world.

– During your trip, observe local guidelines such as mask-wearing and practice healthy habits.

– After a trip, closely monitor your health for seven days. In case one becomes ill with flu-like symptoms, immediately seek medical attention if they are severe.

For inquiries on travel insurance that covers repatriation and other measures to protect you during a pandemic, get it touch with us today.