How to purchase?
Insurers & Banks
The most basic way for you to purchase your insurance is from the insurerdirectly. You can do so either at their offices or through their online portals.
Most insurers also tie up with banks to sell personal protection products such as travel, household and automobile insurance. This kind of partnership is widely known as bancassurance.When you are opening a bank account in your host country, why not ask the bank representativewhat are their covers for home and car insurance while at it? It is sometimes more simple to keep the banking and insurance relationships together, especially in the rare occasion where you have managed to find a bank teller who speaks your language to walk you through the documentation and key features of the plans.
Brokers & Agents
A bulk of the insurance business deals is, however, done through its intermediaries, who are able to provide the personal touch and consultations.
Insurers typically have a team of trained, certified and registered agents that help them to do direct marketing. Insurance agents are able to help you decide which product is the most suited for you, and make customisations to your plan where necessary. They are there to clear the doubts, draft up proposals and handle the necessary paperwork (including the processing of claims) for you.
In most countries, insurance companies ask for exclusivity and make their agents sell only their products. On the contrary, an insurance broker acting on your behalf, can most of the time, give you access to all the products on the market.
Brokers carry out a similar job function, with a key difference – they are an independent party and are free to propose products from various insurers. Usually engaged by corporate clients, brokers are helpful in helping you compare products across insurers. They receive a service fee from their customers and sometimes, a brokerage fee from the insurers they place business with.
Your company’s benefit plan (i.e. corporate health insurance) will most likely be managed by a broker. This broker can be a good starting point to look into other products for your personal requirements. Based on their understanding of your existing corporate coverage, they can provide sound recommendations on what add-ons you should get. Remember this can be done before your assignment, so ask your HR for the contact person to approach.
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