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Entrepreneur of the month: Marc Meldrum of Expat Insurance

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My business provides independent advice on private medical insurance (plus a whole range of other insurances) for expatriates in Hong Kong. We work with our clients face-to-face to select suitable medical insurance products by comparing the options available and discussing the coverage offered. We do not charge for our initial advice and we provide recommendations without obligation. This personal service is not limited to the initial contact and is provided for the renewals and, if requested, when there are complicated claims.

I set up Expat Insurance in response to a growing demand in Hong Kong’s expatriate community for coverage and protection that meets the unique needs of the globally mobile. We now have clients scattered all across the world.

To succeed in business, you need to love the work. It is not a matter of wanting to make money. It’s also vital to remember how the business began. I treat a new client with the same enthusiasm I had for my first client.

To start up my business, I spoke to everybody I knew to see if anyone needed help with medical insurance. Fortunately, my first clients must have been pleased with my advice because they referred me to others and gradually the work began to spiral upwards.

The greatest challenge I face is rising premiums in the medical insurance world – these are constantly increasing due to the cost of care. We like to offer cost-saving solutions to these scenarios on an ongoing basis, whether that be a transfer to a different insurer or an adjustment to your current plan.

My greatest achievement is being able to run and manage a large business, and to feel we’re doing something worthwhile. It’s always a pleasure to see that maternity benefits have been paid and that we have helped parents at such a happy time. There are also those times when someone has been diagnosed with a critical illness and the insurance we have arranged removes the financial worries. I suppose we see the benefits of our work at the best and worst of times.

My plan for the future is to continue what we’re doing, but with more consulting staff. While the insurance world  is progressing to online advice and guidance, I firmly believe the personal touch is necessary for a subject such as medical insurance. I, for one, wouldn’t want to buy something online which I don’t clearly understand.

When hiring staff, I always look for four key attributes – approachability, confidence, an outgoing personality and a happy smile. When someone is considering medical insurance, there is much to consider, and it requires patience and empathy to help with these decisions. Product knowledge can be taught, but the ability to help people is an innate virtue. I suppose being a parent would be an advantage too, in that we have our own stories to tell about maternity costs and perhaps medical issues with families.

My personal motto is ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ I am in the medical insurance world after all…

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