Debunking Three of the Biggest Misconceptions with Overseas Student Insurance
We all have an image in our mind of what an insurance company looks like, how they act, and what they’ll do when we call them with a claim. For whatever reason, whether it’s our own personal experiences or stories we’ve heard from friends, we tend to view all insurance providers as the same. For schools that are purchasing overseas student insurance for their incoming group of international students, this view can lead to an obvious outcome – choosing the provider with the lower price without any further thought.
However, the truth is that not all insurance providers are created equal, and not all plans will have the coverage your students need. That’s why, in this post, we’ll debunk three of the most common misconceptions we hear from schools and explain why choosing the right provider can lead to a better experience for students.
Misconception #1 – You Can Buy Insurance Based Solely on Price
If you’re not an insurance expert, purchasing on price can be an easy decision. It’s generally viewed as the safest option, and you can defend your choice based on your budget or pressure from students to lower fees. But the problem with this price first mentality is that it ignores all of the other factors that will affect your students’ experience when they go to use the insurance.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the level of service and support you receive will vary greatly from one provider to another. This is especially important when dealing with international students, who are from different backgrounds, cultures, and languages. As a school, you need a provider who is experienced working with international students and understands their unique needs. Just helping them navigate the Canadian health care system is a real challenge, and one that you likely don’t want to be doing on a day-to-day basis. The value of this experience and service can’t be determined by price alone, so make sure to do some research into the companies you’re considering before buying.
Misconception #2 – Overseas Student Insurance Will Use Up My Resources and Time
You’re not an insurance expert, and even if you are, you probably don’t have the time or resources available to handle claims and manage the policies. And if a serious incident does occur, such as the unfortunate case of a student death, you’re likely not equipped to deal with all of the parties involved. With international students representing above 11 percent of the total student population at many schools, you don’t want to be dealing with large numbers of claims if you don’t have to.
With the right provider, most of the day-to-day activities can be automated or handled behind the scenes, leaving you free to focus on more strategic requests and initiatives. In cases where more attention is needed, dedicated account managers can be on-site or in touch by phone as quickly as possible to handle the situation. This not only makes it easier for you, it also helps to protect your reputation and brand. Take a little extra time upfront to find a provider with the experience and processes needed to effectively manage everything, and you’ll find you save time and money in the long term.
Misconception #3 – Insurance Companies Don’t Care
This one is easy to understand. Insurance companies have a reputation of being cold, uncaring, and by the book. In some cases, this objective view is necessary to deal with claims. But in the majority of cases, it’s important to recognize that there are real people affected by the actions a provider takes. Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to call their insurance company. But once they do, they want the situation to be handled as compassionately and as positively as possible.
Recently, we received a letter from one of our partner institutions. A student was informed that he had a life-threatening heart condition that needed immediate surgery. Understandably frightened, the student left the doctor’s office and was unreachable. Our staff went well above and beyond the expected role of an insurance company to help contact the student, work with him to understand the decision he had to make, and ensure he got the surgery he needed in a way he was comfortable with. The letter from the school said that without the extraordinary actions of our staff, the student may not have survived. It’s easy to follow the book and do only the bare minimum required, but when it comes to people’s lives, we don’t feel like that’s enough. It’s something we’re extremely proud of.
Not All Overseas Student Insurance Providers Are Created Equal
Hopefully this story helps to clear up some of the misconceptions about insurance providers that you may have. Of course, there will always be budgetary pressure to get the right price, but at the end of the day, the lowest price offering may not be able to offer everything that you need. When looking for an overseas student insurance provider, spend the time to understand what else they are able to offer beyond the policy itself. Because when students don’t need to worry about the type of health insurance they have, they can focus on learning and achieving their goals.
Clark Hortsing is Vice President Marketing & Sales at guard.me