Published on: 20 November 2013 by Michael Lamb
Cooper Claridge-Ware is notifying prospective and existing medical insurance customers in Hong Kong that the cost of their coverage will likely go up from January 1st 2014.
This is due to the annual pricing update which is applied by many of the insurance providers which CCW works with, and means that individuals purchasing new health insurance plans after the New Year can expect to pay a higher premium than an individual who purchased a policy before the year’s end.
In the last 5 years premiums for international health insurance plans in Hong Kong have increased by an average 9.8 per cent per year. It is expected that a majority of international insurance companies operating in Hong Kong will levy premium increases in line with the historical average; meaning that a medical insurance policy which cost US$ 2,000 last year will increase to approximately US$2,200 once the changes have come into effect.
This forecast follows the recent premium increases applied by Allianz Worldwide Care (AWC) on November 1st 2013. The company raised premiums across its portfolio of international health insurance products by 7.4 percent – meaning that Hong Kong customers who purchased a new Allianz policy as of November 1st paid roughly 7.4 per cent more for their coverage than an individual who purchased a plan on October 31st. Additionally, all policy renewals occurring after November 1st 2013 will have the same increases applied to their annual premium.
Allianz has had a historical average of 7.6 per cent premium increases since 2009, lower than the global industry average of around 10 per cent. However, in Hong Kong the company’s premiums have an average yearly increase rate of 8.2 per cent – although this is also below the overall industry average.
Whilst a majority of international insurance companies will change their premium rates in January, Zurich Insurance will update its premium rates on December 1st 2013. Zurich will then be followed by a number of insurers who are releasing new pricing models in the New Year, including:
Of these companies, there should be no unexpectedly high increases outside of DKV Globality Health – which is raising premiums by up to 100 per cent (plan dependant) for new and renewing customers in 2014. Cooper Claridge-Ware has explored the ongoing situation with DKV in our recently released article DKV Globality Health Premium Increases Excessive.
Using historical pricing data, Cooper Claridge-Ware has compiled a table of average premium increases for international health insurance plan in Hong Kong since 2009 based on individual insurance providers (whilst looking at the total product portfolio for each provider in question).
Hong Kong Premium Increase Averages
Please note that, with the exception of DKV Globality Health, the 2014 premium data for the above captioned insurance companies is not yet published – the data presented in the table is for premiums up to, and including, 2013 and does not include the incoming changes from January 1st 2014.
As can be seen from the above data, most of the insurance companies mentioned in this article have instituted premium increases which are, essentially, within the same range over the course of the last 5 years. However, DKV Globality has been the obvious outlier due to the fact that the provider is a relatively new entry to the Hong Kong insurance market and was struggling to price its product offerings in a sustainable manner.
In light of DKV Globality Health’s recent announcement that the company expects a 100% increase on Hong Kong health insurance premiums this year, and with CCW’s recent article on the matter, DKV has not been successful in providing sustainable insurance products within the market.
Generally, Hong Kong health insurance consumers can expect to see the cost of their health insurance policies increase by up to 11.5 per cent. As the average medical inflation trend runs at around 10 per cent per year, a standard deviation of up to 2 points in either direction is to be expected with current provider pricing models.
If Hong Kong health insurance customers wish to avoid the price hikes being put into place by the providers for January 1st 2014 then they should consider purchasing a new policy before the end of the year (or the end of the month in the case of Zurich).