Expat insurance options drop by half: survey

The availability of life insurance and critical illness cover to British citizens living abroad has dropped by half, with just 16% of UK insurance companies currently in the expat marketplace, according to a just-released survey.

Unusual Risks, a UK mortgage and insurance broker, said the ranks of UK insurance companies currently offering life insurance products to the expat market has fallen to 16% from 33%.

The company’s annual Expatriate Insurance Survey  also found that just 8% of UK providers are prepared to accept an application for critical illness cover from an expatriate.

Chris Morgan, lead financial adviser of Unusual Risks, said: “The majority of the mainstream UK Insurers such as Legal & General, Friends Life and Aviva have all now withdrawn from offering this type of cover. Our survey has established that very few UK insurers will now consider offering cover to British expats.

“There are still many groups of British expatriates that have genuine reasons for needing a UK based life assurance plan, such as those with property interests, outstanding mortgages or tax interests in the UK.”

Drop in market choice

Morgan also said that many expats that also require life assurance to protect family members and children who are still resident in the United Kingdom, are also hit by this drop in market choice.

Unusual Risks is itself cautious in the non-UK market: it says it offers life insurance only to expatriates who still own a UK property, and who continue to maintain a UK bank account – the latter condition one that many expats say has become increasingly difficult to achieve.

It has, though, recently launched a a new fee-based advice service to help bring expatriates together with specialist insurers that are friendly towards British expats, and thus areprepared to arrange life insurance for them at discounted premiums, without having commissions deducted from the policy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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