14Feb

Top 7 Excuses We Tell Ourselves Before Getting Insurance

Most people naturally don’t like being told what to do let alone being told what to do with their money. Being asked to buy insurance is not one of the many pleasant moments we tend to romanticize except for the fact that we might feel like legitimate adults once we get one.

In the never ending struggle against real life needs, we then submit to the certainty of uncertainties and do our best to prepare ourselves and our families with circumstances we can’t control like accidents, losing jobs and death.

This doesn’t mean we have to submit so easily. Here is a list of excuses we may all be guilty of telling ourselves or our insurance brokers:

1.    I exercise a lot so I don’t need health insurance.

The irony is that there will be one person you know who lives the healthiest lifestyle but still got cancer. Yes, a healthy lifestyle may reduce your chances of getting seriously ill but factors such as family illnesses does not exclude anyone from these conditions.
Also, the song “Forever Young” does not apply.

2.    I don’t do extreme sports anyway.

You’re merrily walking to the grocery store when a car loses control of the brakes and hits you. As morbid as that may be, that is a possibility. You don’t need to be a pro snowboarder to know you can get seriously hurt at any moment.

Attention: accident prone friends

3.    I’ll buy one next year when I have more money. Promise.

The longer you wait, the more expensive premiums get. Health insurance can easily increase its price up to 8% within a year so having more money the next year would be irrelevant given a rise in costs. While you’re young and while you have the budget to spare for any form of insurance, do it! Plus, there are a lot of affordable and flexible insurance policies in the market today.

As procrastination may be fun now, you won’t be laughing when you find out you could have saved $100 a month had you not made this poor excuse.

4.    I’ve earned enough for my heirs in case I die, so there.

True, you might already have put aside a fairly large amount for your wife, kids or relatives but did you know there are taxes they have to pay before getting the money you’ve left? Insurance often takes care of that. This is especially important for large sums that come with high tax rates.

5.    I already get insurance cover from work.

Insurance cover from work may look like a sure thing and it could be only for a few months to a year. Big companies, to no surprise, don’t like spending a lot of money on insurance for employees so chances are they will only take out insurance with minimum cover. The best scenario is that you get employee compensation insurance worth only twice or thrice your salary and that can only go so far.

6. I have other assets. They can always liquidate that.

Selling assets to have money is nothing new. Here’s the “but”…

Liquidating high-value assets like a business or property takes a long time to close. If that is the only thing your family is left with, they still need to get by while they wait. Second thing you need to also keep in mind is that assets being sold hurriedly easily becomes devalued.

As much as it feels good to have assets and it is a very commendable life achievement, you still need to provide some buffer for your family while they wait. Insurance will take care of that.

7.    I don’t trust insurance companies.

There is a reason why insurance companies are still here and that is they do help you.

Village Insurance is not a provider but we are in the business of helping people find and deal with insurance; and after decades of assisting clients with choosing and claiming, we’ve observed that their trust towards insurers becomes stronger the moment something bad happens.

Think about it this way, good experiences with insurance are rarely aggressively seen on the Internet. Talking about a good insurance experience that comes along with a loved one’s death is not exactly a pleasant topic to write a review about.

You can always ask friends who have gone through these scenarios and make good decisions.

7Feb

Pros & Cons: Localisation of Expat Salaries

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‘Expat’ has been a word synonymous with wealth and luxury. Being an expat meant living on a generous salary plus benefits and allowances from the company one works for. It meant living in classy locations in swank apartments, sending one’s kids to the best schools, eating in expensive restaurants, and travelling to the most beautiful countries.

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Not all expats enjoy the comforts associated with living in Hong Kong because of work. Research has shown that since 2004, most expats in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai have been given the localised compensation, in which companies give their employees pay that is comparable to those being offered to locals.
With localisation, the base salary is lower than those of regular expats and no longer includes benefits such as:
  • Allowances
  • Social security
  • Retirement
Obviously, fancy dinners, extravagant vacations, and prestigious schools are also no longer in the picture.
Still, expats don’t always see this as a loss on their part and similarly, companies don’t practice localising to reap the benefits. Localisation for expats can be seen as an opportunity to take charge of their own life someday. Because along with the generous salary and benefits of the old compensation came the reality of being tied to the company for an indefinite amount of time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but some prefer the freedom of being able to pick up and leave and move on to another job whenever they want or relocate to a whole new place. Deciding their own future is a big plus.

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This is also why localising isn’t a win-win deal for companies either. Despite the practice saving them money in the face of difficult economic conditions, they also no longer have a financial bind on their employees and thus risk the possibility of losing their talents.
This is why some companies offer a “local-plus” package to aid their employees in managing their finances and adjusting their spending habits over a period of two years. This package also includes benefits such as transportation, housing, and education for their dependents.
Companies also know who to localise versus those they know won’t stay unless given the full compensation and benefits package. The former is usually the younger employees who are grateful for any opportunity while the latter is the more senior employees who have been loyal to the company and therefore deserve such benefits.
While localisation may mean keeping a closer look on the household budget and saving up for the children’s college education, it also means a certain freedom career-wise that isn’t possible with the generous package. And it’s also a desirable strategy in the long run for companies; it helps them maximise the talent they have in their employment and saving themselves money in the future. So it looks like localisation in the expat world is here to stay.
Village Insurance Direct provides expat assistance in finding insurance to cover personal and business needs while in Hong Kong.Contact us or LiveChat with us for more information.
4Feb

Do You Really Need Health Insurance?

“Accidents happen.” This has to be one of the most common insurance tagline used by providers. Village Insurance Direct breaks down the facts to answer the question, “Do I really need health insurance?”

A Quick Comparison

Hong Kong is recognized as having among the highest private medical costs in the world after the US. Comparatively, an ear infection, a broken bone from a fall could see you spending up almost US$9000 in Thailand, but in Hong Kong will cost more than US$15,000.

Because you need to protect your assets…

Whether it’s your life savings or what’s in your bank account. Because if you don’t have insurance when you do fall ill or have an accident, the main priority is to protect your assets. In places like Hong Kong you can see your assets dwindled from a case of bronchitis.

Knowing that if something were to happen you’ve got someone to take care of not just the bills but the whole process. For example, if you’re dealing with a sensitive issue like a family member falling ill, and dealing with the stress and emotions of coping with that, the last thing you want is to be on the phone with finance departments. Working with an insurance company eliminates all of that stress because the claims team takes over those responsibilities. So you can focus on either getting well yourself or taking care of your loved one when they’re sick.

When all else fails, there’s repatriation.

When there is a need to fly you out for treatment, having health insurance will ensure that you get the help you need as soon as possible. Emergency evacuation can be that thin line that saves your life or a family member’s. When you are not in your home country, having the right kind of insurance to cover you is the best investment you’ll thank yourself for having.