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January 2009 Article - Healthcare for Crew
Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:22 AM
Joined: 01/12/2008
Posts: 62

I thought I would provide all of my previous articles as an information resource for all of the forum readers, please post any questions.

HealthCare for Crew

HEALTHCARE INSURANCE is a vital part of financial and lifestyle planning. Keep these considerations in mind when you’re looking for a policy.

YACHT COVERAGE: Be sure that you’re fully covered at work and off the boat. A crew friend of mine got knocked off his scooter and was taken to hospital near Antibes. Because he was not covered by the French state system (he worked on a foreign-flagged boat), the boat’s health insurance provider was liable for the entire amount…or so he thought. As it turned out, he was not covered by the “group scheme” when he was not on board and had to raid his savings for the money. It’s vital to check if the cover provided is as comprehensive as you think it is.

STATE COVER: Depending upon your nationality and the vessel’s flag, you may be eligible to receive social security cover from the flag state; check with your captain or purser when joining the boat.

JOB SECURITY: Job security in the yachting industry is not one of the great benefits; investigate whether it’s better to opt out of your employer’s cover and have them fund a personal policy that can be taken with you should you move job/yacht. You could build up significant no-claims bonuses.

When researching a policy and the policyholder, consider the following:

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Normally divided into Europe, Worldwide, excluding North America (N.A.), or Worldwide including N.A. Think about where you’re likely to be most of the time. Some policies allow trips to N.A. for up to 90 days.

COVERAGE LEVEL: The most important issue – do you want to be fully reimbursed for every eventuality or just “the big stuff”? Most general policies cover all costs associated with in-patient care, i.e. hospital visits, operations, etc. If you want to cover out-patient care, i.e. day surgery, GP visits, pharmacy costs, then the cost of your premiums will go up. If you add in optical and dental treatment, the coverage will be the most comprehensive and therefore is likely to be the most costly. All insurance companies will produce benefit tables for their different levels of cover, though it’s notoriously difficult to fairly compare all plans. It’s about finding the best compromise for your situation.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: If you have an existing chronic condition, it may not be covered although different underwriting forms exist to decide this with different insurers. This is important to raise when choosing a scheme.

EXCESS: You can reduce your premium (the amount you pay) by taking a larger excess. This is the amount you pay first before the coverage from the insurance company kicks in.

NO CLAIMS BONUS: If you don’t make a claim in a given year, then you’ll receive a reduction on the premiums the following year (just like car insurance). Some insurers don’t offer this.

MATERNITY: If you’re planning a family and want to ensure the costs of the treatment and delivery, you’ll probably need to take out maternity coverage from the beginning. Most insurers will demand that you’re a member (with added maternity cover) for at least 12 months BEFORE getting pregnant.

BONUSES: Many insurers are now adding in bonuses to entice new members; these may include global travel insurance, two months’ premiums free or a guaranteed no claims bonus.

This article is for information only and should not be considered as advice.

Peter Brooke is a financial planner to the English speaking expatriate community. He is based on the Cote D’Azur and is a member and partner with the Spectrum IFA Group. He can be reached on +33 6 87 13 68 71, or at

This article was published in the January 2009 edition of Dockwalk magazine.

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