International schools – finding the right group healthcare solutions to attract the best teachers
Written by Paul Dodd on July 25, 2016.
Over the last two decades there has been an explosion in the number of English-language international schools opening in Asia. Prestigious British establishments including Dulwich College, Repton, Marlborough College, Harrow, Sherborne, Malvern and Wellington have opened up satellites on the continent to feed a growing demand from expatriates and Asian executives for quality English-language education. Schools following the American curriculum are also increasingly popular. Thailand alone has over 172 schools teaching international curriculums, with half of them following the British national curriculum.
According to the International School Consultancy Group (ISC) over four million pupils worldwide attend English-language international schools, a fourfold increase in just 15 years. Expatriate parents favour these schools which offer continuity as they are posted abroad, often moving around every few years. Asian parents value their English-style education and the continuity they offer later on for further education in western universities.
The growth of this sector has created a high demand for teachers and, in order to attract the best ones, schools need to offer competitive employee benefits packages which include quality private medical insurance (PMI). PMI is an extremely important recruitment tool which provides reassurance to teachers who may be nervous about relocating to a foreign country.
The largest private education groups have seven-figure insurance bills and are under increasing pressure to find the right balance between offering PMI as part of an attractive benefits package while keeping costs down. Healthcare costs are rising which in turn raises premiums yet the expectation of high levels of cover remains a challenge for schools.
Another problem for schools is the ever-changing regulatory environment governing required cover. Different countries have different requirements and these change frequently which is a headache for schools trying to keep on top of their legal obligations.
This has created a new market for insurers who are attempting to woo schools with PMI packages to cover their staff. Schools are seeking partnerships with insurers who have a global presence and are able to provide up-to-date advice as well as reduced premiums which don’t impact on the quality of the cover provided. There are solutions which can keep premiums down including reducing excesses for the most frequently-used benefits, limiting certain benefits such as dentistry and optical treatment, restricting access to the most expensive healthcare facilities and consolidating contracts.
If you are a head teacher or school administrator in Asia and you are researching or reviewing group healthcare in order to attract and retain teachers of the highest calibre, I appreciate how difficult it can be to make choices when there are so many options out there. Here at Infinity, we have considerable experience in this field and can help you weigh up the different possibilities and make an informed decision which balances your need to offer a competitive incentive with your budgetary needs. Why not contact me for an informal chat ?