Insurance 101 for Expats

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Jack Levy answers questions from the audience after his presentation about insurance in Thailand.
Jack Levy answers questions from the audience after his presentation about insurance in Thailand.

It was all about insurance at the weekly PCEC meeting July 29. Jack Levy, M.A. (Hons) M.L.I.A., originally from Scotland is the Managing Director of Macallan (he said he named it thus after his favorite whiskey) Insurance Broker Co., Ltd. He had labeled his topic as: This idiot’s guide to insurance in Thailand. Jack gave a generally light-hearted look at insurance over his last 28 years in Thailand as an insurance agent and broker, with a sprinkling of true stories, happy and not so happy endings, and lots of personal experiences thrown in for good measure.

Jack has been involved in insurance since 1981 when he joined the industry in his home country. In 1990 when the industry laws changed, making it almost impossible to make a living as an agent, he moved to Pattaya and has been here ever since. He says he loves it here being evidenced by his 5 Thai wives (not all at once). He said this makes him the longest serving expat insurance person in the city.

He has gathered up an unrivalled amount of local knowledge about Thai and international insurance procedures along the way. His experience is second to none. Testament to this is the large number of clients who have trusted him with their insurance business for many years.

Jack started the talk with a mini disclaimer of his own. Talking without any overhead visual aids and reading from a book of notes, he said this was necessitated by the fact that he sometimes has short term memory loss; the result of a brain tumor in 2015 when the expected outcome was only 2 months to live. Needless to say, he overcame that hurdle.

Although the bulk of his talk centered on Auto/bike insurance he did touch briefly on health and home as well. Jack gave the usual list of road insurance requirements explaining the difference between each level as well as the mandatory insurance required by the government. He specifically pointed out that in Thailand, the insurance goes with the vehicle, not the driver. Thus, the vehicle remains insured so long as the driver is properly licensed. Further, unlike many countries, if you have vehicle insurance in Thailand, it does not cover you when you drive a different vehicle. The highlights of his comments on vehicle insurance came with 3 very strong experience coated warnings.

First, put your insurance policy or at least a copy of it in your car. You won’t know who to call without it. Second, if you get into an accident don’t do anything but call the number in your policy. Don’t argue with the policeman or any others involved in the accident. Wait for your agent to come and let him handle the whole thing at the scene. While waiting take many pictures and if you can, get the name and contact information of any witnesses (or if possible, take a photo of their ID card). And thirdly, don’t drink and drive, as it is not worth the consequences. If at the accident, even if you think it was 100% the fault of the other driver, be willing to take an offer by the officers at the scene to assess the blame at 50/50. That is equal to a no blame clause insurance wise in Thailand, with each person’s insurance covering the repair costs to their own vehicle.

PCEC member Judith Edmonds reminds members to bring their membership card to the next meeting since it will be the first one of the coming month. This means there will be a drawing for a free breakfast and reminding everyone you must show a current membership card to participate.
PCEC member Judith Edmonds reminds members to bring their membership card to the next meeting since it will be the first one of the coming month. This means there will be a drawing for a free breakfast and reminding everyone you must show a current membership card to participate.

Health insurance is needed in Thailand because most private hospitals will require cash before commencing treatment (other than stabilizing the patient). Many will ask the patient to pay up front or at least offer a credit card to guarantee service. If you have insurance coverage in Thailand, they will want to check your card to see what the limits of your policy are and will contact your insurance company to verify coverage and that the insurance will pay. In this respect, Jack mentioned that his reputation among the hospitals is such that they will accept his “word” that a person has insurance and the treatment is covered.

People without insurance are often charged less than those with, which is one factor contributing to higher and higher insurance costs. Although a broker does not have the responsibility to do so, if you need help with a claim, a good one will always try and help you in times of dispute.

Long time Pattaya Insurance Broker Jack Levy advises the PCEC about insurance in Thailand along with some do’s and don’ts. With a little “tongue in cheek”, he referred to his talk as the “Idiots Guide to Insurance in Thailand.”
Long time Pattaya Insurance Broker Jack Levy advises the PCEC about insurance in Thailand along with some do’s and don’ts. With a little “tongue in cheek”, he referred to his talk as the “Idiots Guide to Insurance in Thailand.”

Insure your house for the replacement value of the house remembering that the price paid for the property included the land which can’t burn and needn’t be insured. He cited as an example, a 10 million baht property might be insured for about 7.5 million.

The session ended with some specific questions and a promise that Jack would hang around awhile to answer questions. Jack is also a dedicated supporter of the Care for Kids and Royal British Legion Thailand charities. He is currently married to Jintana with two children, Shoshanah and Macallan.

MC Roy Albiston presents the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation to Jack Levy for his presentation on the basics of obtaining and need for insurance coverage in Thailand; health, vehicle, and home.
MC Roy Albiston presents the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation to Jack Levy for his presentation on the basics of obtaining and need for insurance coverage in Thailand; health, vehicle, and home.

The meeting concluded with MC Roy Albiston bringing everyone up to date on upcoming events which was then followed by the Open Forum where members and guests can ask questions or make comments about Expat living in Thailand and their activities or to subscribe to their weekly newsletter, visit www.pcec.club.