So you’ve finally picked the right maid candidate, and settled everything from their visa to accomodation for them. However, if you think you’ve already fulfilled your obligations as a responsible employer, think again.
According to government statistics from 2016, there are around 350,000 maids in Hong Kong, which makes up approximately 3% of the local population. It is stipulated under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance that health insurance is required for domestic helpers to protect them against the costs of injuries, accidents or illnesses during their employment.
Given the huge domestic helper workforce in Hong Kong, and the subsequent business opportunities for insurers, there are a myriad of maid insurance plans on the market. Amid cut-throat competition you may be enticed to purchase the cheapest option you can find. However, cost should not be the only concern.
In this week’s Kwiksure blog post, we are going to highlight the key aspects you should take into account when securing maid insurance - namely premium, coverage, waiting period, exclusions, and reimbursement process.
There are three factors that affect the amount of an insurance policy’s premium. The first one is duration. Most companies only provide one and/or two-year terms on their policies, so try to plan how long you will employ your helper for.
The second factor is age. Most insurers only accept maids aged 18-60. Usually the younger a helper is, the less likely she will be to fall sick and, thus, the lower the premium is. Those over 60 may not be covered, subject to underwriting approval and loading.
The third factor is whether the helper is a local or a foreigner. Comprehensive plans, which cover more and cost more, are only applicable to overseas domestic helpers in most cases.
There are basically two types of insurance plans: basic plans and comprehensive plans. The former only protects the employer’s liability against a helper’s expenses related to disease or injury. The latter is provided by most Hong Kong insurers as part of an umbrella solution, and offers a much wider range of benefits. While the scope of coverage vary among different policies, below are some of the most common benefits a comprehensive plan will cover:
This benefit protects your legal liability as an employer under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance and Common Law.
Medical and health
This includes hospitalization and surgical expenses, outpatient expenses (a bonesetter fee may even be included), and dental expenses incurred by your domestic helper. These benefits protect your helper against the medical expenses up to the limit specified in the policy.
This is a protection from third party liability caused by your helpers whether its accidental physical injury to others or accidental damage and loss to others’ property.
This covers loss of service resulting from the confinement of your domestic helper within a hospital for a specific period of time (usually at least one day) for surgery or treatment.
This protects the domestic helper against injury and death during her rest days.
Other than transporting bodily remains home if your domestic helper passes away, it also covers costs if she suffers a serious sickness or injury and becomes medically unable to work.
Replacement Helper Expenses
This covers the re-hiring expenses for a new helper, such as airfare and agency fees, following the repatriation of your original helper.
It protects you from the financial loss resulting from fraud or dishonesty of your domestic helper, such as unauthorized international telephone calls. Some policies may even include the replacement and installation costs of door and gate locks should your helper leave your employ under bad or unknown terms.
This covers financial loans given from you to your maid which cannot be repaid due to the death of your domestic helper, or their being medically unfit to continue employment.
There also other not so common types of benefits.
Family member abuse medical benefits
This offers extra benefits on medical expenses for your family members, and protects them against any injury or sickness caused by a malicious act on the part of your helper.
Hiring allowance for a domestic helper’s maternity
This compensates an allowance for hiring another helper in case the original domestic helper becomes pregnant and is on maternity leave.
Critical illness medical benefits
This protects your maid against the medical expenses of a number of critical illnesses.
Some common exclusions on maid insurance policies include:
Suicide or intentional self injury
Acts committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Strike, riot, or civil commotion
Injury due to war, nuclear weapons, radioactivity, or terrorism (for example, 43 Indonesian maids in HK were allegedly linked with ISIS in 2017)
Acts violating the law
Pre-existing medical conditions
Most maid insurance policies have a waiting period of about two weeks from the effective date of the policy, during which no medical benefits shall be payable. Yet there are also some policies which use no waiting period as a selling point.
There are two ways of making insurance claims. The first one is patient reimbursement, which involves paying for treatment up front, and then submitting relevant documentation to your insurer afterwards. This is a traditional method, but is more time-consuming. The second is direct billing, in which insurance companies will simply pay medical bills directly to hospitals or clinics. This saves a lot of effort for policyholders, as they need not submit claim forms or other documents.
How can Kwiksure help you?
Given the vast amount of maid insurance options on the market, it can be a tiring task picking the best policy by yourself. As such, it is best to seek professional advice from an established broker like Kwiksure to get all your questions answered straight away. Contact us today to get free quotes and plan comparisons.