Darren Manning is the Founder and Managing Director of Global Albatross. He is a specialist of the international health insurance brokerage for global expatriates. Darren has over 15 years’ experience in the international insurance industry. Some of it was achieved working in Asia’s largest international health insurance brokerage. He saw a gap in the market for truly unbiased and honest advice, supporting and advocating for globally mobile clients. Darren decided to combine his expertise and insight of the international market and start a broking firm. In a short time, Global Albatross managed to establish its role in the international insurance market and win multiple Insurance Industry Awards. Global Albatross first partnered with SaveSavvi.com in March, 2021. Find out more about Global Albatross and Darren’s career below!
You were already working in the insurance market when you decided to start Global Albatross. Why did you make this decision? How was the whole transition to running your own business?
I made the decision because I wanted to establish an agency that put customers at the heart of everything we do. While I had loved my time with a highly successful brokerage in Asia, I’d seen a revolving door of clients. There was a dominant focus on business development and driving money through the door. Clients were shifted from person to person along a process queue. There was no 1 particular person taking full responsibility for how a client’s policy functioned, or being available for answering benefit questions, or advocating for a client at claim time or during an emergency situation. I felt that the industry lacked a broker that provided hands-on management of a policy and focused on customer service, where client advocacy reigns supreme.
It was initially a nerve-wracking but exciting transition. It’s clear that Global Albatross has found its place in the market. Expats assign us to manage their plans because they know that we’ll support them rather than just pass along a declined claim from an insurer. We have a 98% success rate of overturning declined claims, because we are across all aspects of a client’s situation. Because we take the time to find cover that is responsive, of maximum benefit and within budget, claims are more likely to be paid out because the policy delivers what it was designed for. We are all about building client knowledge as well, in order they are aware of exactly what is covered under a policy.
What are the biggest challenges you had to overcome working in the insurance industry?
I think for us it’s been cutting through the low-value threshold that some customers attribute to the industry. Lifting the service standards within the industry and setting a benchmark for what people should expect from a quality broker is important to us. Educating clients on the benefits of using a broker has been tough as well. A lot of expats know the benefit of using a broker for their medical insurance needs, but there are others who have had poor service from the industry and believe all brokers work at the same level, or are sales focused first and foremost. There are definitely brokerages that exhibit bad behaviour and poor service practices within the industry. There are also some honest and hardworking professionals, unbiased in their approach to finding the right cover to suit their clients’ situations and who work in their client’s best interests.
The industry has a lot of good people in it. But for us, it’s about operating ethically and with integrity, and delivering high quality service, every time. So, one of our biggest challenges you could say, is educating customers on the benefits of using a broker and of finding the right international medical insurance policy that will respond to their particular situation and needs now, as well as their future plans, especially for those who might be considering starting a family. There are a myriad of policies available, and all with some standard benefits, but many are designed to function quite differently. For us, we feel privileged to be in a position to respond to the various, and differing needs of clients and assist them in identifying a suitable policy relative to their needs, and building their knowledge.
Find out which are the best 5 countries for expats in 2021 on our blog!
What are the unique benefits of choosing Global Albatross?
Our service offering has been recognized at independent global awards as unmatched in the industry. Global Albatross has won best international medical insurance intermediary, three of the last four years. One of the first things an expat will notice is that they are not shifted from person to person according to the different processes and functions involved with managing a policy. One adviser personally manages their policy in its entirety, from the initial email or phone contact, to quotes, policy inception and implementation, claims handling and administration to emergency situation support. Shunting often occurs at the larger broking firms, which leads to a disjointed approach and the expat ultimately misses out on accessing important and relevant benefits from their policy.
Our level of service is particularly valuable when an expat needs to make a claim as we know the details and clauses of the policy, the medical history of the expat and what was disclosed to the insurer at the time of applying, as well as any previously settled claims. This means we immediately know when claims decisions are inaccurate or unfair, and push to overturn claims decisions, which we consistently achieve. Whether it be managing the refund of prepaid medical treatment or advocating for an expat during an emergency, we ensure all entitlements available in a policy are delivered.
Also, we are different to other brokers in that we operate beyond standard business hours. We know that injuries, illnesses and medical emergencies do not simply schedule themselves to occur during office hours. Likewise, at renewal, the same adviser proactively undertakes policy reviews, ensuring an updated needs analysis, because we know that a lot can change within a year. Any number of scenarios can occur, such as a change in employment or location, the family finances might have deteriorated, a new member may have arrived. So, blindly sending out renewal documents is not in our DNA. It is important that policies are benchmarked against the market to determine whether benefits and premiums are beneficial and remain competitive.
You have a specific section on your website for pilots and cabin crew. Can you tell us about that and how you can support members of that industry?
Pilots and crew face risks that are unique to their occupation and require specifically branded options for occupation-related risks, such as DVT, contaminated air and the like. Because of the health requirements that pilots’ and crew are subject to by their employers and regulatory authorities, they are generally considered to be at low risk of health issues, because they need to remain healthy and fit-to-fly. Insurers are therefore keen to offer plans that are tailored and flexible, and with a choice of benefits relevant to air crew.
We have plans that continue to cover pilots, crew, and their families, even if they choose to leave the industry, ensuring cover for ongoing medical conditions without the need for a change in policy or a requirement for further underwriting, which would usually occur when an employee leaves an employer-funded policy. Our air crew clients and their respective families receive the same award-winning service 24/7, that we deliver to all our customers.
What are your business goals for the next 12 months and would you consider expansion post-Covid?
We have just set the wheels in motion for further expansion, having just opened another office in Australia, so the next 12 months for us is embedding changes we’ve recently undertaken and concentrating on delivering our unique and personalised service to clients without compromising our commitment to them. We are focussed on enhancing our global reach in a compliant, sustainable and honest way.