David Eline spoke to Chris Crowe, Director at Melbourne Capital Group about the current international private medical insurance (IPMI) market in Asia and the benefits of being one of the early adopters on the Heath Compass platform.
For Chris Crowe and Melbourne Capital the Asian market is one where there is clear growth aspirations.
“We are based in Southeast Asia with a head office in Kuala Lumpur, but our roots are in Australia where we also hold a full AFSL licence,” he explains. “My role within the group is to head up the private wealth team and our target clients are high net worth locals and ex-pats. Within the Melbourne Group we also operate a range of other departments, such as corporate advisory services, wealth structure, and asset management. We also have a private equity and venture capital capability, and we have moved into property, supporting HNW clients with portfolio arrangements.”
The company operates in Malaysia and Thailand with plans to expand into across Southeast Asia through 2023 and into 2024.
“We are building a business which moves us away from the traditional offshore IFA model. We have invested in our team to help them grow and develop, and we want clients to benefit from improving services which we are able to offer,” Chris continues. “It is why we were keen to join the Health Compass platform as we are always seeking to access expertise. We do not want to go down a route where we are offering our clients a single product or a single service.”
On the market itself Chris adds: “In terms of the Asian market there is a lot of room for improvement. I firmly believe that everyone needs PMI. If something goes seriously wrong with your health it can be very expensive, and local cover really just will not cut it.
“The challenge is to work with clients to help them understand the difference between the cheaper local cover and international cover. The differences can be significant. We want to ensure that every one of our clients has good quality cover which meets their needs. A lot of people are interested to see what good quality cover looks like but there is always the question of price. Even if you have local cover it can pay to enhance that cover before you develop pre-existing conditions that will lead to an exclusion.
“However, there can be a price hurdle with people often unwilling to pay the additional premium for international cover.”
As to why Melbourne Capital were quick to sign up to the Health Compass platform Chris says the benefits were evident.
“We were impressed with the passion that David showed in the platform and its benefits. We also wanted to partner with a platform that is committed to the market for long term and one that wants to make a difference.
“We can see that the platform is constantly looking at ways in which it can enhance what it does and we understand development of technology is always ongoing particularly around enhancements to the user interface.
“The ability to compare the products and providers quickly and with clarity is a great benefit. It offers real support to our staff, particularly those who have recently joined and are on a learning curve around the products and services we can offer.
“Some clients will come to us with a clear budget so the ability to assess and compare products within that budget is a significant help. You can look at a graph on the system and see all the information you require. The gap in coverage and price between the local and international covers is wide and the platform can be used to highlight the benefits to clients when they are looking to take out cover.
“We are very happy to be part of the platform. It is encouraging to see the efforts being made to bring more providers onboard and are keen to work with David and the team to support the ongoing development of Health Compass.”