Formed in France in 1974, MSH INTERNATIONAL (MSH) initially set out to provide support to employees of large businesses by delivering specialized group insurance solutions. From 1998 onwards, MSH INTERNATIONAL also began to offer health insurance solutions to individuals living outside of their country of origin. Since then, they have been growing organically as well as through acquisitions. In 2006, MSH Canada bought Norfolk Mobility benefits.
Today, MSH INTERNATIONAL is a leading provider of global health insurance solutions, with more than 330,000 insured participants’ worldwide. Their IT system is centred in Paris, offering services 24/7 through four international centers while reimbursing medical claims in 150 currencies. MSH’s regional center for Canada is located in Calgary, AB with satellite offices in Toronto and Houston. They mainly work for the brokerage community who seek distinctive and adaptable insurance solutions.
“MSH INTERNATIONAL’s business model is quite unique in the insurance sector”, says Philippe de Dreuzy, President and CEO. “We are not an insurance company per se, we do not take risk; we are not a pure insurance brokerage firm either. Rather, we design, build, and administer healthcare plans for employees working abroad by putting together multiple insurance components and managing their back office.” This approach provides their clients with the best of both worlds by providing one solution for their employees globally.
Offering Comprehensive Services Worldwide
Having a single partner covering all health insurance needs provides significant advantages in terms of flexibility and plan sustainability. MSH’s comprehensive service covers consulting, administration and management of employee benefit plans to help their clients choose the best option, one that is tailored to their specific situation.
“Covering employees around the world is quite a complex endeavour”, says de Dreuzy. ‘We offer speedy solutions to cover emergencies and provide access to the best hospitals in the world. We are also a Third Party Administrator with underwriting capabilities, meaning that we can provide not only medical insurance, but also Life and Disability insurance which medical evacuation and wellness programs.”
MSH offers their clients a number of valuable additional services available all on-line. “Our cutting edge technology allows our clients to manage their policies more effectively by accessing their personalized page,” says de Dreuzy. “They can monitor their reimbursements and geo-locate the nearest medical provider by accessing one of the largest international medical networks with +980,000 healthcare professionals worldwide. Further, they can receive medical advice through our customer service center operating 24/7.”
Technology as a Value Proposition
Over the last couple of years, MSH has identified two clear trends in preferences within the insurance market: transparency and technology. It is with this knowledge that they have built their current vision and strategy.
“For many insurance players, obtaining valuable data and controlling medical premiums is not a simple or straightforward task,” says de Dreuzy. “In many parts of the world and especially in the United States, the international insurance industry remains opaque, frustrating employers of all sizes and concentrations. Data is usually presented at the macro level, and only becomes available only when medical policy is about to be finalized. But when policy renewals are only months away, it is too late for HR managers to react. They do not have time to correct plan anomalies or study the methods with which companies can mitigate medical costs for the upcoming year.”
There is an increasing demand for technology, both from MSH’s corporate clients and their insured members. Data management software, online communication tools and mobile apps have become major components of modern business because of technology. “In the present time any company looking to provide service excellence must bring technology to its value proposition,” says de Dreuzy. “This is why we have decided to emphasize on transparency and technology in our products and services offering.”
With this in mind, The Group has developed ‘MSH Aviator’, an online business intelligence tool that highlights employee benefits programs’ utilization. “Thanks to this online platform, our clients now have a clear overview and better control of their benefits plan,” says de Dreuzy. “Providing healthcare around the world is an expensive proposition and our clients need to have the best tool in order to improve cost-containment without compromising on the welfare of employees.”
Driven by New Products and Services
The past year has been filled with new partnerships for MSH. They have strengthened their position internationally by acquiring new markets. MSH INTERNATIONAL’s global network of healthcare providers has grown with new partnerships and their important networks, including Medisys Corporate Health, Canada’s leader in preventive healthcare, and Centric Health, Canada’s number one independent healthcare services provider.
“We’ve extended our offer with new products and services to improve our client retention and stay ahead of our competitors,” says de Dreuzy. “We’ve also signed exclusive partnerships with major insurance brokers, including Alptis Assurances and Equance to strengthen our share in the growing French market of expatriates with +3% of expatriate employees per year.” Asia is another growing market for the international health insurance industry, which led MSH INTERNATIONAL to acquire the broker Expat Insurance Pts Ltd. in Singapore.
“Last year’s growth was driven by new products and services, such as First Expat+, a comprehensive, tailor-made solution for individual expatriates, and MSH Aviator, our online business intelligence tool for insurance plans administrators,” says de Dreuzy.
Through customizable dashboards, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and predictive analytics, MSH Aviator helps their clients to get a better understanding of their plan and to be proactive on the management of their employee benefits and accessing their plan.“Predictive analytics is the key feature of this tool, allowing plan administrators to properly estimate the total amount of claims that they will incur in the future,” says de Dreuzy. “. In a word, MSH Aviator gives our clients full control and a clear vision over the current and future trends of employee benefits program.”
Going global presents many challenges, therefore, flexibility and innovation are MSH’s primary goals. “Providing seamless services to our clients require us to be as approachable as possible wherever the client is contacting us from,” says de Dreuzy. “We often identify communication problems because insured clients want to be taken care of without having to deal with all the usual bureaucracy that comes with insurance. Using the latest technologies allows us to be much more informative, rapid and interactive in our approach.”
MSH is proud to have more than 30 different nationalities in their Calgary office. This alleviates language and cultural barriers when their clients call them for help. “Our business model has grown increasingly complex,” says de Dreuzy. “Compliance remains the main subject as local regulations create confusion and are always subject to interpretation. If medical troubles occur while you are overseas, you want to make sure that your insurance company can provide the medical care that you need, 24/7.”
As a part of the healthcare sector, MSH INTERNATIONAL is dedicated to helping the communities improve mental and physical health. Every year, a team of MSH employee runs for Darkness into Light, a fundraising event organized by the Pieta House, which offer help and counselling to people with mental illnesses.
Employees of MSH INTERNATIONAL Canada like to give back to their communities as well and each member of staff donates $5 per month to a common fundraising, which is decided at the end of each year by their Social Committee.
“This summer MSH INTERNATIONAL was also a sponsor of the Canadian athlete Laval St Germain, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean rowing solo more than 4,500 kilometres from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Brest, France,” says de Dreuzy. “Thanks to sponsors and donations, he raised over $57,000 for the Alberta Cancer foundation.”
Anticipating Business Needs on a Global Level
“We are closely watching the presidential election in the United States,” says de Dreuzy. “Whoever becomes the new President will definitely change our political and economic landscape. This comments also applies to the insurance sector as the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare has created many opportunities but also challenges for the expatriate world.”
Technology and transparency are MSH INTERNATIONAL’s goals. “We wish to deliver the service excellence expected by our clients and partners,” says de Dreuzy. “It is in this direction that we will lead our next innovations. Among them, we are developing a new solution for individual expatriates which will widen our range of products on the individual side. We are also about to launch a new online platform that will help our partnered brokers, key actors in our distribution channel, to manage their business with us.”