Fitness trackers and step goals: is hitting the target enough?

walking stairs to meet step count on fitness trackers

The popularity of wearable tech has been booming in the past few years, becoming as well recognized as smartphone brands. We’ve previously talked about what to look for in a gym membership in Singapore but this week our focus is on fitness trackers. Products like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and similar smartwatches are helping people to become more active, but are we using them correctly?

Today, Pacific Prime Singapore looks at fitness trackers, step goals, and whether or not reaching your daily step target is enough to improve your health.

Fitness and fashion: the rise of wearable tech

Watches have always been highly fashionable accessories for people, with brands like Rolex and TAG Heuer making sleek, luxury analogue wristwatches synonymous with the high-life. Digital watches gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s for their added features such as stopwatches, countdown timers, and alarms. However, this would only another step in the relationship between wearable fashion and technology.

At a stretch, we might think of the cassette Walkmans of the 1970s and 1980s as wearable tech. Chunky by today’s standards, these revolutionary devices let people carry personalized music around in a way that hadn’t been possible before. Jump past the CD walkman of the 1990s and the recent iPod, and suddenly we’re not just carrying around music, but entire computers with us during our daily routines.

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are the current apex of wearable tech, further adding to the extensive features of what a former fashion accessory can offer wearers. Users have been able to measure their daily steps taken, distance travelled, flights of stairs climbed, heart rate, as well as calories burned, all alongside the convenience of checking the time.

The sales of these devices tells of their popularity. More than 23 million units worldwide has been sold in 2016, with brands like Fitbit, Xiaomi, Garmin, and Apple shipping strong numbers. A far cry from the novelty watch calculators of old, these new, sleek fitness trackers have the active and gym-going market in mind. In fact, a previously male-focused watch market has adapted to brand these products in a more fashionable way to attract the active female market.

Why wear a fitness tracking device?

There are a number of great benefits for wearing a smartwatch; they’re the reason they’re so popular. At their most basic, fitness trackers do exactly that – monitor your activity. What’s so compelling about these devices, however, is actually in the way they support and motivate a healthy lifestyle:

  • Personal accountability: A lot of these devices come with a smartphone app that can be used to set activity and nutritional goals, and even provide alerts and reminders to help you meet them each day.
  • Social fitness: The more competitive or collaborative of consumers will get a buzz from social aspects of fitness tracker apps which allow you to share and compare your activity progress with friends and family.
  • Sleep tracking: As an added feature, many wearable devices also allow users to monitor and assess their sleep, providing statistics for time spent in deep sleep and moments of restlessness.

Fitness trackers are definitely a step in the right direction for many, helping generally sedentary people to lead much more active and healthy lives than before. However, there are some concerned that a focus on “step counting” is giving people a false sense of fitness.

Do steps matter? Why meeting your goal might not be enough

Anyone who has a fitness tracker will relate to this: settling into bed and checking their step count at 10pm, only to find they’re still 600 steps short of their 10,000 daily goal. Next thing you know, they’re up and pacing the house in the pyjamas, trying frantically to march 600 steps around the house before they can comfortably go to sleep.

It might seem funny, but it actually illustrates a key concern of health experts when it comes to fitness trackers. Counting steps is a great way to encourage activity, but what these devices don’t quite measure the intensity of a user’s exercise. Where 10,000 steps around the office is good, it’s still not nearly as effective or efficient as running 10,000 steps.

Why is that? High-intensity exercise is what helps you get fitter. You won’t work your heart rate up, pushing your muscles into a sweat, nor burn nearly as many calories if your 10,000 steps are made walking briskly from desk-to-desk each day. Remember: there are many exercises, such as lifting weights, cycling and rowing, that likely don’t give you any steps to your fitness tracker data, but absolutely will make you more fit.

What other benefits could I see from my fitness trackers?

As an insurance expert, we’ve been seeing a few developments in our industry in relation to fitness trackers and healthier lives for policyholders. Insurers are risk averse businesses and the healthier a person is, the lower their risk of needing healthcare. As a result, we’ve been seeing a growing number of examples of how people might be able to save on their health insurance.

Key examples include discounts for policyholders who meet their fitness tracker goals, company insurance plans that have activity monitoring tied into their corporate wellness plans, and insurers offering gifts and vouchers (such as Amazon gift cards) for using their smartwatches. In fact, major insurer Aetna was reported to have offered their members discounts on Apple watch purchases in order to promote client health.

What we’re also expecting, and we’ve discussed it in our International Private Medical Insurance Inflation – 2017 report released late last year, is that the benefits of fitness trackers adding to the “big data” of the health sector could be huge. Both insurers and other health sector entities (such as hospitals and government departments) could use the data to identify trends that could lead to better treatments and diagnostic tools in future.

Securing insurance in Singapore through Pacific Prime

We’re still on the lookout for insurers offering perks and benefits to fitness tracker users, however we do still have some of the best value comprehensive plans available in Singapore. Our expert team have been providing quality insurance solutions to individuals and groups in the Lion City for almost 20 years. If you’ve been thinking about buying insurance, or you’re simply looking for a better deal, contact our team at Pacific Prime Singapore today!

Electronic medical records to bring innovation boost to Singapore healthcare

woman checking her electronic medical records on a laptop and smartphone

Big changes are coming for the Singaporean health system with the government announcing a new plan to give every citizen access to their health records by 2021. The country’s Health IT Master Plan has been set and the sector is hoping that the changes brought by it will put Singapore on track to having one of the most IT-enabled healthcare systems in the world. How will electronic medical records (EMR) help make healthcare cheaper, faster and better for patients?

This week, Pacific Prime Singapore examines what these changes are, how they’ll work and, most importantly, what people can expect to see in terms of their insurance being impacted.

What benefits do electronic medical records bring?

Chief executive officer of Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), Mr Bruce Liang, announced in late May that the government would be making it easier for any doctor to see a patient’s medical history and treatments. Alongside helping avoid adverse drug interactions, storing information to a vast electronic database will also help patients better understand and manage their health themselves.

Many already have access to some of their medical information through the SingPass’s HealthHub portal, but the planned changes look set to allow people to receive complex chronic ailment monitoring in home, make it easier to move from primary to tertiary care throughout the country, as well as giving people the ability to book appointments or schedule specialist home visits using a mobile app.

For the healthcare sector itself, the amassing of health data from patients across the country drives a lot of innovation and efficiency changes. Hospitals and healthcare providers will be able to better identify trends, understand treatment success, and plan for patient care and future sector improvements. Currently, the National Electronic Health Records (NEHR) system doesn’t yet include private sector info, having both sectors will benefit people and the country greatly.

As many as 19,000 patients are expected to benefit from a program launched last year to identify high risk readmissions patients. With 2,500 already identified, the program provides extra post-hospital support to help prevent their conditions from deteriorating. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong says the program has had a 70% precision rate, making it among one of the best of its type in the world.

Will these electronic medical records bring changes to health insurance?

As highlighted in our 2017 report, International Private Medical Insurance Inflation, technological advances and big data are one of the biggest potential drivers for influencing the price of insurance premiums around the world. The report recognizes that the use of technology in the health sector should go some way to creating more efficient processes for healthcare providers and insurers alike.

Already we’re seeing trends globally, just like in Singapore, where insurers, health facilities and governments are beginning to use mobile apps and online portals to make things easier for service providers and users to interact, monitor situations, and generally organize treatments and coverage. With international insurance inflation bumping up to 11.2% in Singapore, anything that can relieve pressure on premium prices would be welcome.

With regards to insurers themselves, the electronic medical records changes may hold both a number of benefits and challenges. The benefits may include shorter turnaround-times for claims, more stable pricing models with the increased knowledge and information the EMRs will bring, as well as stronger ground with which to approve or deny claims in future.

This is not without it’s challenges, however, as there may be some work required of insurers to better align their application documentation processes with what the Singapore Government might require EMR wise. There may also be adjustments to be made to those insurers with online portals should they be required, or simply opt, to provide electronic medical record access through the same service.

How the insurance sector reacts to the government changes remains to be seen but people can be assured that it’s very likely to affect the way insurers and patients interact with each other and the health sector in general.

Getting adequate coverage in Singapore

If you’re new to Singapore and you’re looking for comprehensive insurance coverage in Singapore, or you’ve been here a while and thinking about reevaluating your current coverage, then Pacific Prime Singapore can help. Our expert advisors can ensure that your healthcare coverage can work seamlessly with any new and existing electronic medical records technology in the Lion City.

For a free quote or some helpful advice, contact the team today!

Pacific Prime joins Worldwide Broker Network

Worldwide Broker Network

Leading insurance intermediary Pacific Prime has just been announced as the newest Asia Pacific Region member of the Worldwide Broker Network ™ (WBN), a global network of commercial insurance brokers and employee benefits consultants.

Connecting with more than 100 firms across six continents, Pacific Prime is now in a better position than ever to support its clients with the same high standard of customer service it delivers now. Becoming a WBN member gives the Hong Kong-based intermediary access to a much wider network of leading brokers than before, which will help to support Pacific Prime in providing client-centric solutions.

“Ultimately, it’s about expanding our reach and services for the good of our clients.” says Pacific Prime CEO, Neil Raymond. From its beginnings in Hong Kong, Raymond has grown the company to include 400 staff across seven offices.  “The privilege of joining such a comprehensive organization of brokers is one that supports our client-centric focus and we look forward to offering the WBN our 17 years’ experience in the Asia Pacific region.”

WBN Chief Executive, Francie Starnes, has welcomed Pacific Prime’s membership. “Pacific Prime is bolstering the representation of WBN in the Asia region, which is a critical and growing market for our network. We welcome this expansion of client based services to our members, and look forward to adding Pacific Prime’s expertise to the expansive network.”

The WBN boasts local knowledge and experience through its global network, made up exclusively of top quartile firms that are independently owned and managed. It encourages cross-border collaboration and operates under a member-to-member accountability model that promotes quality service whilst still maintaining the independence of its member firms.

Global Director of Corporate Accounts at Pacific Prime, Pierre de Mirman, will be the primary contact for all Employee Benefits and Property & Casualty opportunities. Working with the WBN to meet membership standards, de Mirman says his team are keen to utilize the benefits of the Network to widen Pacific Prime’s insurance solution capabilities for its corporate clients.

About Pacific Prime

Pacific Prime was founded in 1999 by Neil Raymond as an expert P&C and Employee Benefits consultancy. Headquartered in Hong Kong, the company operates from a number of licenses in many countries around Asia and the Middle East, serving more than 500,000 clients with its over 60 insurer relationships.


About the Worldwide Broker Network™

Founded in 1989, WBN has grown from nine member firms in Western Europe to more than 100 firms spanning the globe and serving clients through 500+ offices in six continents. Today, as an important part of the insurance industry’s distribution network, WBN generates over $5 billion in P&C and Employee Benefits revenue annually.


Continuation plans for employees wanting to transfer their coverage

Asian man shaking hands after discussing a continuation plan

Handing in your notice at work means leaving a number of things behind, but your employer-provided health insurance policy doesn’t need to be one of them. A continuation plan can help you maintain medical coverage, even when you’re no longer employed by the original policyholder. There are a number of things to consider, however, so it’s worth knowing what your options are before you sign a contract.

What are continuation plans?

When you leave an employer and your previous insurer agrees to transfer your employer-provided policy to an individual one, you’ve got a continuation plan. What you need to understand is that not all plans can be continued. Some employers will have included an option for departing employees to carry on coverage post-employment, but you will have to check with your HR team or broker to see if that applies to you.

Major insurers, such as Aetna, Bupa and Cigna, are most likely to accept transferring a company health insurance plan than local, smaller companies. What you should be aware of is that sometimes coverage, benefits, limits and even the premium can change in the transfer, and some insurers may reject cover to people with certain pre-existing conditions.

What to look out for when transferring an employer-provided policy

If you find your insurer is willing to transfer your company policy, then you’ll need to read the fine print and be clear with them just what your continuation policy will contain. Policies can end up with increased premiums due to companies being able to negotiate more attractive rates because they insure a group. Insuring individuals means increased risk which can result in higher premiums.

Any pre-existing conditions you have can also be a concern for you and your insurer. An insurer that is willing to offer you a continuation plan might just add a loading, an extra fee on top of your premium, to guarantee your coverage. How much will depend on the insurer and your condition, however it can sometimes be more expensive than it might be to negotiate a new policy. If your pre-existing condition is really serious, you might be denied a transfer outright.

Getting a continuation plan before you leave your employer

Going to your company’s insurer directly is an option, however the best way to negotiate transferring your coverage is to use a broker. Intermediaries, like Pacific Prime Singapore, can work with you to ensure the continuation plan your insurer offers will still meet your needs once you leave your employment. They’re also impartial, meaning you are at the centre of their decision making processes, which might include suggesting a new plan if necessary.

Transferring coverage or getting a new plan: what’s the best option?

Sometimes you might find that the costs of carrying on your employer-provided plan are too high, or the coverage and benefit restrictions make it less attractive. In these cases, often a new plan can be a better option. For those of your without pre-existing conditions, this can generally be a cheaper option. If you do have health issues covered under your employer’s plan but you’re concerned you’ll lose coverage with a new plan, talk to a broker to find out your options.

The Pacific Prime Singapore difference

Our team of experts are well experienced in reviewing, renewing and negotiating insurance policies. Doing it yourself can be complex and time consuming, but with a broker like Pacific Prime Singapore, you can leave the hard work to us and we’ll get you the right coverage at an affordable rate. To discuss your options when it comes to leaving your current employer but staying covered health-wise, contact our team of advisers today!

Pacific Prime giving free report access for Insurance Survey 2017 participants

a forest with question marks on the trees symbolizing our insurance survey

Staying at the forefront of health insurance is a tough game but one we at Pacific Prime Singapore are committed to, for the benefit of our clients and industry partners. As part of our efforts to continue our reputation for simplifying insurance, Pacific Prime Singapore is excited to announce that we have just launched a new insurance survey for 2017.

This survey has been created with the goal of furthering the market’s understanding of consumer views and preferences around insurance. We’re seeking your input to help us inform market players on what insurance solutions you want, need, and value; and ultimately shape future products to better suit the people who use them.

As a token of our gratitude, insurance survey participants will be given a free PDF version of our premier report, International Private Medical Insurance Inflation – 2017. To guarantee yourself a copy of this important insurance industry report, check out our survey page here.

a screenshot of our pacific prime insurance survey page

What is the 2017 Pacific Prime Insurance Survey about?

This recently released survey is looking to uncover some key findings about what people in different countries want and expect from their insurance. As a broker, we are constantly trying to make sure we are as responsive and flexible as possible when it comes to the needs of our clients. The information we gather from this survey will later make up our upcoming Top International Private Medical Insurance Trends report.

The findings are set to benefit many people around the world. Insurers will benefit from a greater understanding of the people we sell insurance to; what they look for in a policy, how they expect to make claims when the time comes to use their policy, and other helpful insights. Long term, consumers could see the report findings shaping future products into more attractive and targeted policies.

At Pacific Prime Singapore, we’ll also be using the information to improve the solutions we offer to both existing and new clients, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of insurance matters globally.

What’s in the survey, and how do I participate?

The Pacific Prime Insurance Survey – 2017 consists of 3 pre-survey questions that are related to demographics, then 10 simple questions about your views on insurance. Completing the survey itself shouldn’t take longer than two minutes and, apart from one field for entering your email address, the questions are delivered in a multiple-choice format. It really is quick and simple!

If you’re interested in participating in the survey, and getting a free copy of the International Private Medical Insurance Inflation – 2017 report, visit our survey page and complete the questionnaire.

a picture of our pacific prime IPMI report

What do I get out of completing the survey?

Aside from helping us shape the future of insurance, we’re giving away free copies of our annual International Private Medical Insurance Inflation – 2017 report. This is a premier paper that highlights the premium changes of medical insurance around the world. This highly sought after report gives readers insights into what trends may be impacting premium price inflation in a number of countries, as well as these key findings:

  • IPMI inflation for the year held steady, with 2016’s 9.2% increase matching that of the year before.
  • The new mandatory health insurance requirements of Dubai has led to a near 40% immediate increase in hospital visits.
  • Allianz Worldwide Care had the lower premium increase worldwide in 2016, while Aetna International (Interglobal) had the lowest IPMI inflation average over the past five years.

Finally, the International Private Medical Insurance Inflation – 2017 report also discusses what global factors are driving the rate of inflation in insurance premiums currently, and what developments look set to influence prices in future.

As an extra bonus, those of you who choose to participate in the insurance survey will be emailed automatic access to the upcoming annual report, the Cost of International Health Insurance – 2017. Expected to be released in summer, this highly anticipated report covers the average cost of international health insurance in 95 countries, for a wide range of plans and demographics (individuals, couples, families, and retirees).

Pacific Prime Singapore: simplifying insurance

We’re staying committed to our reputation of providing the best insurance solutions for our clients. As part of our efforts to stay a leading insurance broker in Singapore and around the world, we at Pacific Prime Singapore can’t wait to delve into the feedback you and thousands of clients just like you will send via the insurance survey. For just two minutes of your time, you can help us make some positive change in the industry.

From all of us here at Pacific Prime, we’d like to thank you in advance for your time. We’re looking forward to reading the results of your feedback soon!

To participate in the Pacific Prime Insurance Survey – 2017,
click here

Cyber Security in Singapore

cyber security

Cyber Security is a bigger topic now than ever before. Between viruses and trojans invading systems all over the world, hackers invading people’s personal data, and governments keeping tabs on just about everyone, people and businesses today realize just how hard it can be to protect their information. In fact, worry over cyber security issues is perhaps the highest it has ever been following the WannaCry cyber attack that occurred in May of 2017. With this recent attack in mind, Pacific Prime Singapore discusses the current landscape of cyber security, as well as steps companies and people can take to protect their computers, servers and reputations.

What WannaCry means for cyber security

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the WannaCry ransomware attacks is that they were the result of human error.  The significance of this fact is that it means that a great many of those infected with the malicious software could have avoided downloading it to begin with. It also shows how diligent businesses and individuals need to be when it comes to computer education and user best practices. Even an organization as powerful as the U.S. government was not able to provide full protection from cyber crime. After all, it was their information being hacked that allowed WannaCry to work in the first place.

WannaCry worked by exploiting weaknesses in Windows operating systems to encrypt the files on a given computer. The user would then have to pay a ransom in bitcoin, or all of their files would be deleted forever.

Battling back

People in Singapore do have reason to worry about hackers and viruses. Especially so now that a U.S. intelligence firm has publicly stated that they believe the creators of WannaCry could possibly be from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan or the southern part of mainland China. So, once a computer has been exposed to malicious software, what can be done to fix the problem? First, it is advisable to download credible anti-virus software and make sure that it is updating on a regular basis. Updating is important as, much like organic viruses, hackers are constantly changing their software to get past new security measures put in place by users.

Beyond this, if you feel like your computer’s performance may indicate the presence of malicious software, use your security program to scan your system. There is a chance that the threat can be eliminated this way. However, some viruses are written in a way that makes difficult, if not impossible, to remove while Windows is running. For these, there are special anti-virus programs available that boot and run completely outside of the Windows operating system in order to get rid of even the most pervasive malware.

Keep in mind that many anti-virus programs do not search for ‘junkware’ like search engine changers, toolbars, Bitcoin miners and other programs that clutter up and slow down your system in order to make money for their creators. More specialized malware removal software that deal with junkware.

As a last line of defense – when all other options have failed – you can do a factory reset on your computer. Any personal files you’ve created will be saved, but any installed software will be deleted and your computer will revert to its original settings. Of course, the other way to get your computer clean and functioning properly again is to completely reformat its hard drive and reinstall the operating system, but this will lead to a loss of data that many users may not find an acceptable outcome.

Cyber crime prevention

Trying to remedy a cyber attack of any kind can lead to a solution to the problem presented, but the fact is that the best offense against cyber criminals is a good defense. In fact, something as simple as ensuring that your operating system is updated on a regular basis can prevent malicious code from getting the best of you. For an example, look no further than WannaCry itself. The exploit the software used was known by Microsoft for some time, and had already been addressed with Windows update. However, those than had older versions of Windows, or who had not updated their systems were still at risk of digital infection.

Thus, the first step is to establish best practices that not only include regular operating system and security software updates, but also to educate users about the files that they should and should not open. Obviously, opening attachments from unknown senders should be avoided completely,  but as some viruses hijack people’s email accounts and contacts, even friends could be unknowingly sending you a virus. Thus, scan all files with your security software before you open them. Users should also take care to limit the amount of personal information that they make available online. Hackers frequently gain access to user accounts using personal information they are able to scrape from social media and other online outlets.

Additionally, when it comes to your home or business network, take steps to prevent easy access wherever possible. Create quality passwords on all wifi connections and computer terminals with WPA or WPA2 encryption where applicable. Also, turn off SSID so that your network’s name is not publicly available. This will only require you to manually enter the network name in order to login. Finally, putting firewalls and site blockers in place for your users can restrict access to unsafe websites known to house viruses and the like.

Cyber insurance

Another way to protect yourself and/or your company from hackers and viruses of various types is with cyber insurance. This type of insurance coverage provides benefits to you in the event that you systems are exposed to malicious software, your data is lost, or an invasion into your systems results in losses to a third party. In 2016 alone, there were over 3.1 billion records leaked or hacked globally.

From a financial perspective, the largest liability for companies with data breaches these days is from lawsuits that can come from user data being compromised. Cyber insurance can address the costs of settling these damages so that the business can continue to run smoothly. Of course, if extensive damage to your systems does result in an interruption to your business operations, cyber insurance can also include coverage that will dispense funds that will allow you to continue operating until such time as your systems are repaired.

Still another type of benefit included with some cyber insurance plans will provide funds to be used for recovering from damages to your computer systems and restoring your electronic data. Finally, you are no doubt going to want to catch any individuals involved with hacking into your systems, so cyber insurance can provide benefits for the purpose of forensic investigation of the crime and its perpetrators. There are even more specifics to cyber insurance plans, but it can be seen already that they can have a broad and extremely helpful effect for the insured.

To address your cyber security insurance needs and protect not only your information, but that of your clients and loved ones, contact the knowledgeable professionals at Pacific Prime Singapore. We work with the city-state’s major insurers to source the very best in cyber security insurance plans to address your specific needs.

Introducing Globalis: New international plan by QBE and Safe Meridian

Globe to showcase Globalis

Edited: 2/6/17 – Quote added.

Great news! Pacific Prime Singapore is pleased to announce that we now offer Globalis, a highly coveted international health insurance solution created via the strategic partnership between QBE Insurance (Singapore) Pte Ltd and Safe Meridian.

As a brand new addition to our portfolio of the world’s best international health insurance plans, this plan is ideal for frequent travelers and globally mobile expats looking for protection against medical expenses incurred both at home and worldwide.

Now available to individuals, families, and companies seeking comprehensive cover in Singapore and abroad, read on to learn more about our new offering, and why it may be the perfect plan for you.

Why Globalis may be the perfect plan for you

Underwritten by one of the world’s largest and most stable insurers (QBE), Globalis plans are portable worldwide. This means that with this product, you can keep your plan in place even if you relocate to another country in the future. What’s more, with this plan you’ll have peace of mind from knowing that you are free to use the doctor and hospital of your choice.

What truly makes this international health insurance policy stand out is its unrivaled level of coverage flexibility, which allows you to customize your benefits and scope of coverage so that all your healthcare needs are met at the price you want.

An unparalleled level of coverage flexibility

We all know that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all health insurance plan, which is why ensuring that your plan meets your own unique requirements is of paramount importance when selecting a policy. By choosing a Globalis plan, rest assured you’ll be able to personalize your plan with eight options and four plan levels to ensure that you get the best-fitting health insurance solution.

Customize your coverage with 8 options

Each of the eight coverage options offers you a discount on your standard annual premium; customers can choose a combination of any of the following:

  • Overall annual plan limit – Choose between three options for the total sum for which you are insured per policy year. Selecting either of the two lower limits will result in a discounted premium.
  • Geographic area of cover Choose which region in the world you will be covered for elective treatment. The options, from most costly to least costly, include: 1) Worldwide excluding the US, 2) Southeast Asia including Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, and 3) Southeast Asia excluding Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • High-cost providers access Residents of Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, and China will receive a premium discount when opting for providers not deemed a “high-cost provider”. Alternatively, they can opt for a 15% coinsurance on claims from a high-cost provider.
  • Deductible If you choose the deductible option, the larger your deductible is, the greater your premium savings will be.
  • Hospital room type In the event of hospitalization, this plan will cover overnight stays in a standard single room. If you choose to opt for semi-private room cover instead, you will get a premium discount.
  • Outpatient annual limit If you choose any of the three non-basic plans, you’ll be able to lower the outpatient limit, which in turn will lower your premium.
  • Outpatient direct billing service Receive a premium discount if you choose to forgo the direct billing service for all your outpatient treatment services.
  • Coinsurance This plan provides full cover as standard, but you can instead choose a 10% or 20% coinsurance for a discount on your premium.

Choose the right plan level for your needs

Each plan will include cover for hospitalization, emergency assistance, and travel benefits (more on the latter two benefits below). The plan levels, from the most basic to the most comprehensive, are as follows:

  • Bronze – The Bronze plan is the most basic, covering inpatient and pre- and post-hospitalization costs. This means that outpatient services such as diagnostic and testing expenses before and after hospitalization are also covered.
  • Silver The Silver plan includes cover for outpatient benefits (e.g. GP and specialist visits) in addition to inpatient cover offered by the Bronze plan.
  • Gold The Gold plan allows for enhanced inpatient and outpatient cover with the inclusion of wellness and basic dental benefits, as well as vaccination benefits.
  • Platinum As the most comprehensive plan, the Platinum plan features inpatient, outpatient, wellness, dental, vision, and maternity benefits. Unique to this offering, this plan offers increasing maternity benefit levels after your first and second policy renewal.

Emergency assistance and travel benefits

Take comfort in knowing that all Globalis plans include emergency assistance and travel benefits. This means that your emergency repatriation, evacuation, and travel-related mishaps (e.g. trip cancellations and flight delays) are all covered within the plan’s limit.

No claim discount

To award policy members for healthy living, Silver, Gold, or Platinum plan policyholders get to enjoy premium discounts should they not submit any claims throughout the policy year. The first claim-free policy year will award members with a 10% discount, followed by an additional 5% discount for each additional claim-free policy year. The maximum discount available is 25%.

Background on the launch of Globalis

Announced on 21 April 2017, this unique plan was created with the goal of offering a plan that allows for a high degree of personalization and premium reduction options. The expertise of both QBE Insurance and Safe Meridian, two of the world’s most reputed insurance companies, proved instrumental in the creation of an international health insurance solution that ensures policyholders have access to the highest levels of healthcare available.

William Dwyer, Director of Sales & Distribution at Safe Meridian, commented: “We are pleased to be partnered with an insurer like QBE, one which has such a tremendous reputation for stability and such a long presence in the [Asia-Pacific] region.  Globalis, designed and administered by Safe Meridian, is unique in its approach to flexibility, long-term stability, and customer service.  We look forward to bringing this product to additional markets with QBE Insurance in the coming months.”

The plan itself is underwritten by QBE, an Australian-headquartered general insurance, and reinsurance company operating in 37 countries globally. The company has robust A+ ratings by both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch ratings, which when combined with the operating experience of both companies means that this offering ticks all the right boxes for those seeking global healthcare coverage.

Want to learn more about our new offering, or the other insurance solutions we have available? Be sure to contact the helpful advisors at Pacific Prime Singapore today for impartial advice, and a free quote!

Taking full advantage of your corporate wellness program in Singapore

singapore woman embodying a corporate wellness program

Employees work best when they’re well taken care of and they value their employer as more than just a paycheck. The best companies know this and many are investing in their staff by adopting a corporate wellness program. What’s so good about it? Research has shown that you’ll get more engagement and productivity out of healthy and happy employees, and these days staff draw fulfillment from more than just their salary.

This week, Pacific Prime Singapore is going to explain how to make the best out of your wellness program so that both you and your staff can really take efficient and effective advantage of their benefits.

Why should I invest in a corporate wellness program?

Every business needs to succeed. In whatever it does, produces or strives to achieve, success is the desired result of any activity. Essential to achieving success is having engaged and committed staff who rally around the company to get things done. One of the key barriers staff can face during their day-to-day lives is keeping healthy; both physically and mentally. Unhealthy employees cost both themselves and your company.

Company provided health insurance is a great way to ensure that when your employees do fall ill or injured they’ll be able to seek appropriate treatment right away. Getting them back to 100% faster means your company spends less time without their skills and capacity. However, reactive healthcare is only part of the puzzle these days. More and more, employees are favoring businesses that have a corporate wellness program as employers.

Why? Because these holistic programs are helping them make healthier choices that improve both their work and personal lives. Employees will spend a majority of their waking hours each week in the workplace and it helps to not leave the office feeling completely drained and unable to participate in social activities. A good wellness program will give your staff energy to complete work, whilst still maintaining some for their personal hours.

Wellness programs are not band-aids; they’re not a simple addition that can automatically make your workers healthier from its introduction. Such programs need company commitment to ensure that they are both appropriate and effective at meeting your company and your staff’s needs. Here are a three essential tips for ensuring that you can maximize what everyone gets out of your corporate wellness program:

1. Know your staff, your company and your culture

Just like any idea or process that is used by other businesses, adapting it to suit your needs is the first step in ensuring its success and effectiveness in your environment. Corporate wellness programs are not “one size fits all”. It’s important when looking at programs to really know the following:

  • Who are your staff? There is little point in offering a wellness benefit to staff that won’t use it, so take the time to ask your staff directly what they might like. Do you have a high number of tobacco users? Maybe they’d like help quitting cigarettes. Perhaps some struggle with unhealthy diets or lack encouragement to exercise. Are they older or younger? Are there any cultural or ethnic considerations to be made? Knowing who the wellness benefits are for can help you decide which wellness benefits would be appropriate for your staff.
  • What does your company want out of the program? You should also be very clear about what you hope to achieve from adopting a corporate wellness program, and be prepared to review and measure its impact as time goes on. These things are not a “set and forget” measure. Once you know what benefits your employees desire and consider what you want to achieve for them as a company, you’ll have a better idea of how to ensure it’s success.
  • What sort of culture does your company have? Sometimes, it’s easy to get carried away with new, innovative and flashy ideas. Think about the stuffy, old offices that add fake grass to their break out rooms because they saw that companies like Google have themed offices. Those companies have such spaces because the company and the people that work in them thrive in such environments. Again, there’s no point adding things to your business if it’s not going to fit the culture of the company and the people that work in it. Make sure the sorts of benefits you include, whether it’s a weekly yoga session or simply a trained masseuse that offers 10 minute neck and shoulder rubs at your desk, will actually vibe with your workplace.

These days, corporate wellness programs can be extremely flexible and you can (and should) development them over time. Make a plan for what you want to deliver straight away and then also plan for what the program might look like in future. These programs are investments into the lifeblood of your company, your staff; so the more thought you can give to it, the better.

2. Give your employees choice in what wellness benefits they use

When it comes to offering wellness benefits, it can be better to allow staff to choose what they opt into. This gives your employees the power to control how best to approach their own health through the options provided by your corporate wellness program. For example, you program might include any number of the following benefits:

  • Gym memberships
  • Personal trainers
  • Charity events
  • Occupational development classes
  • Meditation
  • Aerobics, yoga and other classes
  • Company sports teams
  • Company outings
  • Wellness seminars
  • Mindfulness classes
  • Stress management
  • Mental health counseling
  • Life coaching
  • Diet plans
  • Family-at-work activities

With wellness programs, it’s possible to include any feature you could possibly conceive of with the right initiative. Again, it will come down to what’s right for you, your company and your staff – as well as your budget. Knowing what you want to achieve with a wellness plan can help you maximize what benefits to include with the budget you have, and will ensure that your staff have the best opportunities available to them through the program.

3. A comprehensive plan is key to a program’s success

Selecting a corporate wellness program can be simple; many providers may have some standard solutions that are geared towards specific industries, business sizes and countries. These programs can be a good place to start if you’re just looking to get the ball rolling for your staff, but bear in mind that the “you get what you pay for” rule applies as much to healthcare programs as it does everything else.

We would suggest considering as comprehensive and as customized of a wellness plan as your budget can manage. A well thought out and designed wellness program will serve you and your staff better long term, as well as reducing the likelihood that you may need to change providers in the future. Put the effort into understanding your business and your staff, and don’t waste it by choosing a stock standard program. 

Understandably, such an undertaking can be effort intensive and time consuming. If you have a wellness plan already, you’ll be familiar enough that switching can be a bit easier. Those of you starting from scratch, however, may find searching for a corporate wellness program daunting. One of the best ways to ensure you get the right comprehensive plan you’ve been researching for is to use the services of a corporate services broker.

Pacific Prime Singapore: Your corporate healthcare expert

The advantage you get working with an experienced corporate solutions broker, like Pacific Prime Singapore, is that they’ll use their market knowledge, industry partnerships and expert advisers to ensure that you get the best available plan at a great price. As an independent broker, you can be assured that you are the client they work for; not the insurer or a third-party program provider.

If you’re ready to invest in the wellbeing of your staff and your company through a corporate wellness program, then our corporate team are ready to take the hassle out of searching for the right plan. For more information, contact the advisers at Pacific Prime Singapore today!

Vaccines in Singapore: Protecting your child and your community

vaccines in Singapore

One topic in the world of medicine that has come up time and gain over the past decade plus is vaccines. WHO World Immunization Week 2017 happened recently with an aim on the promotion of vaccinations worldwide. The organization states that 400,000 lives in the WHO’s ‘Western Pacific Region’ (which includes Singapore) are lost each year to diseases that could have been prevented with an existing vaccine. Even so, 2.3 million children in the region fail to receive the proper immunizations to make sure that they are protected. With this in mind, Pacific Prime Singapore presents this article on the state of vaccines in Singapore and which ones that people of any age should be sure to get.

Do vaccines work?

Literally a vaccine works by introducing a weakened or killed form of a pathogen into the body, which then acquires immunity from the disease as the body quickly learns how to destroy it. However, there is quite a bit of debate as to whether or not vaccines in Singapore are working as they should for the public at large.

Over the past couple of decades, a movement has gained popularity that may have led to deadly outcomes for numerous people. Anti-vaccination movements, which have been around since before vaccines were even developed, have made headlines with assertions that vaccines are a cause for concerns over health, even going so far as to suggest that they may cause autism in children. While these theories have yet to be borne out by data, the data has shown that those who have chosen not to immunize their children have essentially caused outbreaks of diseases in developed countries that were previously dormant to the point that they were barely thought of.

For example, while measles was thought to be wiped out in the United States since the year 2000, unvaccinated children have lead to a resurgence of the disease in places like New York City, which saw an outbreak of the disease among 19 children in 2014. In response to this, some countries – like Australia – are now banning unvaccinated children from attending schools, as they are deemed to be a threat to the safety of others.

One way to show the effectiveness of vaccines is to highlight the difference in cases of some diseases before and after their vaccine was introduced. You can check out this page from the Canadian government on this topic.

These days we also now have the ability to show that vaccines in Singapore do work by way of people deciding to stop immunizing their children. As doctors are reporting seeing more and more parents who are declining immunization of their children, the news has been reporting outbreaks of mumps, measles, and whooping cough in countries like the United Kingdom and United States that had previously seemed to have a handle on the diseases to the point that they were once practically eradicated.

In Singapore, the rise of anti-vaxxers (advocates of the anti-vaccine movement) already saw a doubling of measles cases in 2014 versus 2013. It was also reported that in the first 20 weeks of 2016, the number of measles cases was nearly triple the number from the same timeframe in the previous year! To many it is clear that there is a link between outbreaks and the number of people who are vaccinated when it comes to this disease.

Recommended immunizations for Singapore

To be sure, if you are a parent or legal guardian in Singapore, you are required by law to vaccinate your child against measles and diphtheria, and proof of vaccination is needed merely to enroll your child in school here. Furthermore, penalties for non-compliance with this rule are set to possibly become harsher in the near future.

Like most every other country, Singapore has a suggested schedule of immunizations that should be administered to every person from birth. In this way infants are protected from the most dangerous and contagious of diseases, as their immune systems are not yet prepared to battle such illness. The schedule of vaccines in Singapore goes like this:

From birth

  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis B

At 3 months of age

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis
  • Inactivated polio vaccine
  • Hib
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)

At 1 year of age

  • Measles, mumps and rubella

At 9 years of age

  • HPV

At 10 years of age

  • Tetanus booster
  • Oral polio vaccine

Of course, many of these vaccines require a cycle of injections that are administered in multiple phases over a period of time. Others require a booster shot every now and again in order to maintain a vaccination’s effectiveness.

While Singapore has laid out a schedule for immunizing newborns, expats in the city-state may think about following the schedule laid out by their home country. Every country can potentially have different guidelines when it comes to immunization, so have a look and see if your preferred country has a schedule that you think seems to be a better fit for your family. Then consult your doctor to see if they agree and can accommodate your suggested schedule.

Sourcing quality of vaccines in Singapore

Another concern for those obtaining vaccines is their quality. Many have read the recent stories from China about fake vaccines being distributed among a network of dealers and doctors, or how it was found that millions of vials of vaccines were improperly stored, thereby potentially rendering them ineffective. This has led to a lack of trust in vaccines in China, and people now want to ensure that the vaccines they receive are obtained either through direct import from abroad, or from one of the country’s high quality private hospitals. So is this a concern in Singapore?

In reality, there have been no reports in recent years of counterfeit or ineffective vaccines in Singapore having been administered to anyone here. Rest assured that the Ministry of Health is diligent in ensuring that vaccines meet their safety, efficacy and quality requirements. The vaccines in the city-state are closely monitored for side effects and fully licensed within the territory.

Vaccines and insurance

For expats in particular, the cost of vaccination in Singapore can be pricey. This is because many expats are denied access to the city’s public healthcare system and must rely on costly private medical facilities for their immunizations. At these facilities, a single vaccination could cost you hundreds of dollars. The best way to address these costs is to obtain a comprehensive private medical insurance policy for your family that includes benefits for vaccines.

To find out if your current plan will be able to address immunization costs, or to find a plan that would be ideal for your needs, contact the helpful agents at Pacific Prime Singapore. Not only can they answer all of your questions, they will also provide you with plan and pricing information at no cost to you.

Insurance requirements for Singapore employees abroad: What companies and workers should know

Singapore employees abroad

You’re proud of your company, no doubt. You’ve taken the time and put forth the effort to make it a successful operation that Is not only profitable, but also the source of employment and livelihood for stakeholders and employees alike. Perhaps you feel like this is a real feather in your cap if you are the kind of person that has always wanted to do good for others, and you recognized that your business is providing for a number of families. You go out of your way to provide excellent benefits too. Everything is going great and you are now sending Singapore employees abroad in order to examine opportunities outside the city-state. So, what are you forgetting? Well, if you have a normal group medical insurance policy for your staff and their families, they may be at risk. Not only this, your business may be opening new doors to risks that you may not have considered! Fear not, though. Pacific Prime Singapore is providing you with this article about the insurance needs that businesses spreading its roots outside of Singapore should know about.

Covered locally. Exposed globally.

According to a survey conducted in the UK, under 8% of employers there were aware of what their obligations would be for Singapore employees abroad when it came to risk and insurance. The first one of these issues that we would like to highlight for you is the geographic restriction that can be found on most health insurance policies. In Singapore, if you are purchasing health insurance – whether it be group health insurance or a private individual medical insurance plan – odds are that the policy documentation will explicitly state that coverage only applies inside of Singapore. This means that if you need medical treatment while traveling abroad for business or pleasure, it is highly likely that you will have to pay out of pocket for the care. What’s more, if you cannot produce proof of insurance coverage in some countries, obtaining the care you need can become difficult. Obviously, nobody wants their employees hung out to dry, especially when they’re in a foreign country where they will not have a proper support network and communication with doctors can be difficult outside of major international health centers.

This is why companies should take care of Singapore employees abroad by obtaining international health insurance plans for them. With these plans, medical insurance coverage is provided in virtually any country in the world. Additionally, the insured has the ability to choose any hospital or doctor of their choosing without having to worry about staying within a network of medical facilities outlined by the insurance company. This is a key feature for many, as the last thing one wants to worry about in a medical emergency is which particular hospitals they will be able to seek treatment in so as to avoid burdensome medical debt.

Singapore employees abroad in the short or long term?

Some people may look at the previous section of this article and think, “This isn’t a problem for me. I make sure that my Singapore employees abroad always have a travel insurance policy in place for any trip they take.” While travel insurance plans are relatively inexpensive and can be helpful for travelers, there are key differences between travel insurance policies and international health insurance policies that you should be aware of.

First, and perhaps most importantly, the medical care attached to travel insurance policies is strictly for emergencies and will only go so far as ensuring that the insured is well enough to get home, at which point the insurance will no longer cover medical conditions and local health insurance may not provide for ongoing care for a condition that occurred outside of Singapore. However, with an international health insurance policy, a person need not wait for an emergency to arise before they can get medical coverage. Even out-patient procedures can be arranged and covered while travelling.

Secondly, travel insurance is also referred to as short term insurance for a reason. These plans often have a limit of up to six months or less when it comes to how long the policy can last, and will need a specific account of where you will be and when before they the policy will be issued. Then, if the insured finds themselves needing care outside of this specific criteria, they will not be covered. The advantage of international health insurance is that the policy need not be purchased on a ‘per-trip’ basis, and ongoing coverage can be maintained that allows for continuous coverage for chronic conditions or ailments that would be deemed pre-existing conditions otherwise.

There are advantages to securing travel insurance, though. Chief among these is that travel insurance provides coverage for lost or damaged property, delayed travel, unused accommodations and other items that are outside the scope of the average medical insurance plan.

Consider your liability

Liability insurance for businesses is something that many Singapore employees abroad may take for granted. This type of insurance plan protects businesses and their employees from costs related to litigation that could result through damaged or destroyed property, lost income, negligence or any other number of problems that would be considered a loss for a third party. By taking care of court costs and money for said losses, liability insurance protects businesses from litigation, allowing them to stay in business. This results in continued employment for staff, as well as adds an umbrella over them that can lessen the chance of a third party going after them personally for damages.

Here, again, we run into an issue where insurance policies may have a geographic restriction. Meaning that if damages to a third party occur in Singapore, liability insurance will cover it, but you have to be diligent in examining your current policy to ensure that damages occurring outside of Singapore are covered as well. When you start doing business internationally, there is no end to the list of things that can go wrong, and even small errors can lead to major business disruptions, no matter how careful you or your employees are.

Know your new locales

Perhaps your business has expanded to the point that you are ready to open offices in other countries. Just a word of warning here: Make sure you take the time to learn about the specific medical insurance requirements of any place you are considering expanding into. Some countries, like Singapore and many European countries, will provide those living in the country with public healthcare (although, note that expats sometimes are not eligible for these benefits, and employees frequently desire to have access to private facilities). Other countries will not have any publicly subsidized healthcare, and an insurance policy will be needed to address costs. Still other countries will require residents to purchase private medical insurance, and there are usually certain levels of care that need to be met with such policies.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are helpful people out there, like the knowledgeable and experienced agents at Pacific Prime Singapore, that can familiarize you with just about any country. As a licensed insurance broker in Singapore with multiple offices throughout Asia and the Middle East, and experience providing insurance in countries worldwide, we are uniquely positioned to not only provide you with answers to all of your questions, but also to source insurance policies that are ideal for your needs and budget. Contact us today for a free quote!