The preferred approach for companies with a major presence outside of the UK is to purchase a Master Controlled Program, sometimes combined with a non-admitted element to the program. A Master Controlled Program extends coverage for the worldwide exposures of a multinational company. A master policy is issued to the parent company and governs the cover provided to facilities in all countries where the parent company has business operations. These are commonly referred to as “global programs” since they combine a global ‘Master Policy’ with locally admitted policies placed in the individual foreign locations. The Master Policy will also provide Difference in Conditions/Difference in Limits (‘DIC/DIL’) coverage over and above the local policies.
From a management perspective, the goal is to work with a qualified, financially strong insurer well versed in the subject matter and an established player in the sector. The required services include:
- Seamless, consistent worldwide limits and coverage
- Maintain specific standard local coverage requirements
- Compliance with local tax and regulatory authorities
- Flexibility and administrative efficiency
- Centralised premium and claims reporting
In order to execute a global program, the selected global insurer issues a master policy that serves as an “umbrella” over the local placements and provides excess and difference-in-conditions cover sitting above the local policies; coordinates the issuance of local underlying policies through its overseas offices or via the network of partners where the organisation has major local operations; and coordinates invoicing, premium payment, loss control and local claims servicing with the local broker representative and local insured. Not all overseas operations would warrant local placement of insurance for global risks (property and liability). The “Rule of thumb” on good practice for admittance of local policies is where property values exceed £500,000. Mexico, China, Brazil, India and Japan require by law, local polices, and again where values are meaningful, local policies, admitted, are required.
Communication is the key to establishing and monitoring a successful global program. Cultures and time zone issues, make the communication between offices difficult at times. One way to avoid communication pitfalls is to establish protocols such as having a main office as the point of contact.