Colombia insurer unveils new int’l health plans for ‘globally-mobile customers’

Seguros Bolívar, Colombia’s largest insurance company, this week is introducing a new range of international health plans in collaboration with Bupa Global and Blue Cross Blue Shield Global that it says have been designed “to meet the needs of globally minded, globally mobile customers”.

The company says the new plans were developed on the basis of findings contained in a global study of more than 3,000 individuals.

Javier Suarez, president of Seguros Bolívar, said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the new plans: “In a globalised world, we are proud to offer Colombian customers a portfolio of international private medical insurance products that gives them access to the highest quality healthcare, wherever and whenever they need it.”

The new iPMI products include in-hospital and out-patient care; health checks, focused on preventative as well as curative care, in keeping with market insurance trends, alongside “mental and holistic therapies”; provisions for evacuation, in cases in which emergency treatment isn’t available locally; and coverage for cancer and other serious illnesses, for as long as needed, while insured, as well as for hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions.

‘Tenth country of launch’ 

For the the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the collaboration with Seguros Bolívar in Colombia “marks the tenth country launch of these co-branded health plans”, according to Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for the BCBSA.

“We’re delighted that customers in the region can now reap the benefits.”

Founded in 1939, Seguros Bolívar is based in Bogotá, although it also has a presence in several neighbouring countries. Its specialty is providing insurance products for large multinational corporations based in Colombia and also has presence in several neighboring countries.

Bupa Global is the international health insurance arm of the UK-based, privately-held Bupa group, one of the world’s largest providers of health insurance and healthcare. It has offices around the world including, in addition to London and Brighton in the UK, Miami, Copenhagen, Dubai (in partnership with the Oman Insurance Co), and Hong Kong, as well as regional offices in Mainland China, Singapore, Egypt, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Brazil, Panama, Guatemala and Ecuador.

As reported here in December – again in association with Blue Cross Blue Shield – Bupa announced it was partnering with the launch of a new “global” range of international private medical insurance products in Brazil, alongside Care Plus, Bupa’s Brazil-based health insurance operation, which it acquired towards the end of 2016.

In Brazil the new so-called “Master International” product range was promoted as a tool businesses in Brazil could use to attract and retain talent, as it would enable such businesses to offer their employees healthcare coverage “around the world”, not just in their home market.

Bupa was founded in the UK in 1947 by the coming together of a number of provident associations and hospital contributory schemes. It was originally known as the British United Provident Association although, as it says in a history on its website, it “was never actually a provident association itself”. By July 1948 it says it had 38,000 customers “and an 80% share of the private health insurance market” in the UK.

It remains privately held, and has expanded from health insurance in the UK to include running its own  privately-operated Bupa hospitals, in the UK as well as internationally, so that it’s now one of the world’s largest providers of health insurance and healthcare, looking after more than 27 million people across the globe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is Chief Correspondent for International Investment. She is a US-trained journalist who has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering among other things the fashion and retailing industries, the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

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