Interview: Joe Thomas, CEO of APRIL International UK

How does APRIL International address workforce diversity around the world, tailoring benefits to unique business needs and regulatory requirements?

We have wholly-owned subsidiaries and full-service offices in London, Paris, Mexico City, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Montreux, Shanghai, Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh. These act as our basis for tailoring insurance cover to local needs and as a resource to ensure, when policies are sold on a regional or local basis, our clients are fully supported with appropriate and relevant local expertise. .

The nature of this support can vary from hiring local staff to meet various linguistic and cultural needs to more practical aspects, such as adapting our coverage to align with the healthcare provided by the local state, in order to reduce costs.

Our Easy Claim app is an essential aid in accessing local care and now handles approximately 97% of claims in most covered regions. The app contains a copy of the member’s details and includes GPS to find and check available facilities at medical institutions. It can be used to request a letter of guarantee, essential for hospitalization and surgery, and allows users to verify reimbursements, view claims history and access telehealth services.

Do you see a return in the number of international students who need policies?

The rebound in demand from international students has been a prominent feature of the end of Covid restrictions in the UK. Not only are we seeing students who might have enrolled in 2020 and 2021 now wanting to come here, after postponing for up to two years, but also normal annual demand levels are holding up.

Asia has long been a big source of international students for the UK, with China being an important market, but we are also seeing the number of Indian students rising again.

While some international students can access free National Healthcare Service (NHS) care, some academic institutions now require insurance cover for Covid-19. Also, as international students generally pay higher tuition fees, their investment in a qualification is significant, so taking time off from university due to illness is something they will want to avoid at all costs. The attractiveness of private medicine can therefore be significant, as it allows rapid access to quality care to ensure that the student recovers quickly and can join his courses earlier.

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