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Introducing the William Russell Association

When we live and work abroad, we seek out a new community for ourselves. We may look for people of our own nationality, or like-minded expats who are also living and working abroad. So, what if expat insurance worked in the same way? What if you purchased your insurance policies through a community of like-minded people, and not just as an individual? 

That’s how the William Russell Association works. When you purchase an insurance plan from William Russell Europe SRL, you enrol as a member of an independent, not-for-profit, and free-to-join community of expats, international citizens, remote workers, and frequent travellers. That community is called the William Russell Association for Health, Financial Protection & Well-Being.

The Association concerns most members purchasing an insurance plan from William Russell, but not all. If you’re resident in the UK, and you’re purchasing a health insurance plan, you won’t become a member of the Association.

What is an association?

Simply put, an association is a group of people who come together to achieve a common purpose. That purpose can be anything. Sports players might band together to form a local sports association, or a team of volunteers might set up a charitable association for a volunteering project.

Associations are closer in spirit to professional bodies, guilds or trade unions than they are to private or public companies. And that’s an important point because the William Russell Association is both not-for-profit and free-to-join. It exists purely for the benefit of its members, unlike commercial enterprises, which principally exist for the benefit of their owners and shareholders.

Why does William Russell have an association and do I have to enrol?

The founding members of the William Russell Asociation are two providers of health and protection insurance:

  1. William Russell Ltd in the UK; and
  2. William Russel Europe SRL in Belgium.

William Russell Europe SRL is a fully-owned subsidiary of William Russell Ltd. Now, not all insurance providers have set up an association for their customers. So, why has William Russell founded one?

Our founding members have been planning an association for our customers for a couple of years. They believe it’ll give a better insurance experience, and it’s easy to see why when you consider the customers for whom they provide insurance.

William Russell arranges insurance for expat families and individuals, international citizens, remote workers, frequent travellers, start-up companies, global businesses, governmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations. The insurance they arrange includes cover for private healthcare, accidents, death, and income protection. Customers include almost all nationalities and live in over 160 countries around the world.

As William Russell’s customers have such diverse needs, an independent, not-for-profit members’ association is an excellent way to represent their interests and add value to their customer experience.

We mentioned earlier that the founding members had been planning the William Russell Association for a couple of years. Now, it’s no secret that Brexit has completely changed the way that companies in the UK and the European Union operate. The way Brexit panned out led the founding members to launch the association sooner than expected. But enrolling members into the association now helps move more quickly along the journey to become more inclusive and to build an insurance experience with members at its heart.

How does the William Russell Association work?

When someone buys an insurance policy, the’re buying cover from an insurance company for a defined risk, subject to terms and conditions. While that sounds relatively straightforward, there are a few different ways of arranging insurance cover.

You can buy your insurance policy directly from an insurance company. Surprisingly, this way of arranging insurance cover is quite uncommon. A third party usually acts as an intermediary between the insurance company and you. This third party can be an insurance provider that the insurance company has tasked with administering your policy. Or perhaps you’ve purchased your insurance policy with the help of a broker or independent financial advisor.

It’s not uncommon to purchase an insurance policy with the help of a broker from an insurance provider that’s working on behalf of an insurance company. That’s four different parties in what seemed like a simple transaction!

Arranging insurance cover under an association’s policy works a little differently. It’s best to think of an association as a virtual customer holding an umbrella. The virtual customer holds the policy with the insurance company, and the umbrella provides cover for the individual members who enrol in the association.

Being a member of an association doesn’t change the way you use your plan. You can claim the benefits in exactly the same way as if you’d bought the policy directly from the insurance company. It’s just a different way of arranging insurance cover.

The William Russell Association has taken out insurance policies arranged by one of its founding members, William Russell Europe SRL, and underwritten by an authorised insurer in the European Union. Currently, the insurance policies are underwritten by AWP Health and Life SA, an insurer in the Allianz group.

When you purchase insurance from William Russell Europe SRL, you’ll enrol as a member in the William Russell Association. Membership means that your insurance cover derives from the William Russell Association’s policy with the insurance company.

So, what perks do I get as a member of the William Russell Association?

Membership of the William Russell Association can improve customers’ bargaining power. Instead of separate individuals negotiating with an insurance company, the association organising its members into a collective voice. Together, customers can exert greater influence on the terms of their cover from the insurance company.

The William Russell Association always acts in its members’ interests and, as part of a larger community, your membership can help you get more competitive insurance premiums, higher quality insurance products, and better outcomes.

The William Russell Association creates a platform for giving you a better insurance experience. We’re working on a roadmap of benefits and services for your benefit over the coming months and years.

How much does membership cost?

Nothing. The founding members cover all the costs of running the William Russell Association. You’re automatically entitled to free membership once you have paid the premium for your insurance plan.

How do I join the William Russell Association?

When you purchase a plan from William Russell Europe SRL, you will be automatically enrolled int the William Russell Association. You won’t need to do anything different.

Is the William Russell Association the insurer of my plan?

No. The insurer of your plan is AWP Health & Life SA, an insurance company in the Allianz group of companies. The Allianz group is one of the largest and most robust financial services groups in the world. It has insurer financial strength ratings of ‘AA’ with Standard & Poor’s, ‘Aa3’ with Moody’s, and ‘A+’ with A.M. Best.

The William Russell Association is the policyholder of the master insurance policies issued by AWP Health & Life SA. Earlier, we suggested that it’s best to think of the William Russell Association as a virtual customer. When you enrol in the William Russell Association, your insurance cover derives from the policies the Association holds with AWP Health & Life SA.

If I’m not the policyholder, then how do I make a claim?

Membership of the William Russell Association entitles you to the same rights as other policyholders of insurance policies. You can claim the benefits of your insurance plan just as you would for any other insurance plan. William Russell Europe SRL handles your claims and you can find full information about how to make a claim on our website and in the plan agreement.

The William Russell Association and Brands explained
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What is the relationship between William Russell Europe SRL and the William Russell Association?

They are two different organisations.

When you purchase an insurance plan, you enrol as a member of the William Russell Association. Your insurance cover derives from the policies the William Russell Association holds with the insurance company.

William Russell Europe SRL is the company that’s responsible for enrolling arranging the association’s master policies. They also arrange for you to be enrolled into the William Russell Association and provide you with an excellent experience while you remain a member. William Russell Europe SRL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Russell Ltd.

What are the William Russell Association’s contact details?

The registered address of the William Russell Association for Health, Financial Protection & Well-Being is Place Marcel Broodthaers 8, B-1060 Saint-Gilles, Brussels. You can contact the association directly by sending an email to association@william-russell.com.

Important documents