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How to get your remote team insured

“Right now and in the future, every company that works digitally will have a remote aspect.” Andreas Klinger, “The present and future of remote work”
Even before the pandemic hit, the remote workforce had already risen by 91% since 2007. COVID-19 has only acted as a catalyst for this change, with 74% of companies expecting to work remotely in some capacity once the pandemic ends. 
Choosing to work remotely should not mean forfeiting necessary benefits traditionally provided by the companies. With this rise of remote workers comes an increasing responsibility for businesses, both small and large, to provide benefits to this fluid global workforce. A fail-proof way to do this? By offering global health insurance. 

Every decision matters 

Company culture isn’t just about writing down a short mission statement and a few values in your company handbook. It’s about emulating everything that your company stands for while growing your brand identity and its values. It’s about making the company a happy place to (virtually) work at. A company whose team members recommend the best people they know to join the team. Providing health insurance for your team shows that you care about their well-being, their lifestyle and needs.
According to a survey carried out by Fractl, health, dental, and visual insurance are some of the most important benefits that employees expect. Whether your team is working full-time in a traditional office setting, or remotely from a beach in Barbados, they want to know that they’re covered both in case of an emergency and for regular healthcare needs. 
After all, health insurance works both ways. While your team benefits from it directly, there are plenty of indirect benefits for companies currently hiring.

Attract the best talent worldwide

With the culture of remote working well and truly embedded in communities across the world, it’s getting more and more difficult to track down top talent. When you switch to remote, you also open up your team to a world of global talent that you want and need to catch the eye of. Just like you would in the traditional world of hiring, offering a good selection of employee benefits is one way to stand out above the crowd. This will only become more prevalent as companies continue to switch to remote.
With health insurance at the top of the list when it comes to benefits that employees look for, making sure you offer health insurance benefits is a great way of finding, hiring and keeping the best remote talent in your company.

Improve team productivity

Remote work brings an incredible amount of freedom, as well as uncertainty. Remote workers traditionally fall between the cracks of traditional health and safety systems. Solving that problem for your team will result in your employees having more time and energy to concentrate on their work. Simply knowing that their company cares and invests in their well-being boosts morale and is an incredible motivation - not to mention, it should be the bare minimum for companies to offer to their employees, regardless of their physical location.
It can be relatively easy to offer health insurance to a team based in the same location, sharing the same health care restrictions and local jurisdiction. But, what happens when you have a distributed remote team? 
Well, now there’s Remote Health.

What is Remote Health?

“Remote Health is one of the last missing pieces to make    remote work and remote teams viable.”  Pieter Levels, Founder of NomadList.
Remote Health is a comprehensive and unique health insurance plan built specifically for remote teams across the globe. It’s the best solution for remote companies in need of health care for their location-independent and distributed teams.  
Remote Health works in 175+ countries, so your team can work from wherever they want without having to worry about health insurance. Whether you have a team of full-time employees or an army of contractors, Remote Health allows you to manage your health insurance needs from one platform. By gathering the whole company under one plan, remote companies get better prices and benefits: teams of 10+ employees even have medical history disregarded.
We believe that every remote worker worldwide should have essential benefits like health insurance covered. Remote Health is just the start of things to come for remote teams. Because, why stop with insurance? After Remote Health, we’re focusing on remote retirement, disability, life insurance, and more until we have a complete global social safety net for remote workers and nomads everywhere. Here’s our roadmap for this year! If you want to share information about Remote Health with anyone in your team, here's everything they need to know on 1 page!

What other insurance options are there for remote teams?

Without Remote Health, your options are slightly more limited when it comes to offering company-wide health insurance for a remote team. You’re left with a couple of options:

1. Not offering insurance to employees at all

There’s nothing to say that you have to provide your employees with health insurance. After all, it is a decision that businesses make on an individual basis. Deciding not to offer health insurance to your employees can save you some time and hassle now, but you could be missing out on some game-changing advantages. 
Paying for health insurance can be a huge burden for employees, and taking this away will be a great weight off their shoulders. As one of the most sought-after employee benefits, providing health insurance not only can help to harbor a happier and healthier team but can help you stand out in attracting top talent from around the world. As more companies switch to remote first, remote workers will be able to pick and choose companies that offer the best benefits and foster great company culture.
“I think you will look back in a year and it will be pretty obvious which companies took the initiative to do things differently and those that did not.” Darren Murph, “How to transition to remote
The onboarding process is simple and fast: for companies with more than 10 employees, even the medical history is completely disregarded. Your team is free to change their locations on a regular basis while still being covered, just like they would be in their home country.
And yes, we have dental as an add-on (along with maternity, $0 deductible, screenings & vaccinations, etc.)

2. Offering employees a stipend they can use to purchase in their own country

Due to the lack of global health insurance solutions, offering yearly stipends was one of the most common ways remote teams got over this hurdle. They allow employees to buy the appropriate health insurance in their country of residence according to their destination and traveling habits. While this is a simple solution for companies, it can end up being very costly, not to mention a hassle for the employees themselves. If the amount they can spend is fixed, some employees will end up with much better coverage than others, simply based on their place of residence.
Not to mention that, with a truly distributed team of location independent individuals, some of them might choose to be nomadic. Some will have two home bases, or travel full-time. For them, there is no possible solution for health insurance with good coverage. A travel insurance product that’s designed for emergencies was their only choice until now.
This is exactly how our team is at SafetyWing: some are nomads, some are working remotely from their home country, some moved away from their place of birth and chose a country better suited to their needs. We had to find a way to cover our entire team, no matter where they are in the world, or where they are coming from. 

3. Buying from national providers in each specific country 

A third option is to approach each individual employee as a singular case. That is, to buy individual insurance plans from national providers where the employee is residing. This is a great way to make sure your employees have everything covered. However, this can come at a huge monetary and time-wasting cost to the company. Larger companies with hundreds of employees simply may not have the time or resources to look at each person on an individual basis. 
The world of startups and remote companies is known for their high-paced work lifestyle and energy - why waste yours on an outdated system that was never created for you anyway? 
We need simple software-based systems that function globally, and that’s exactly why we built Remote Health.

How can we help?

Let us know what your remote company or team is struggling with! We’ve spent the last year interviewing remote founders and thought leaders in the remote world to find the best solutions and practices for building and scaling companies remotely.  What questions and pain points do you have when it comes to building a remote company? Send an email to jakob@safetywing.com. We’ll find an answer for you from an expert, and maybe feature the topic on a future Building Remotely episode or article.

About the author

Lily Jones

Guest Writer
A Lil Guide to a Long Road
Lily Jones is a freelance travel writer and copywriter currently living in London, UK. Starting with a charity expedition through Mexico and Belize at the age of 16, her love for travel and exploration of different cultures only continued to grow and influence her life and work. She managed to turn her lifelong passion into a full-time job — creating travel content and publishing travel guidebooks while staying on the road and working remotely.