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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, 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 or Hong Kong, 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 for 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?

Not all insurance providers have an association for their customers. So, why does William Russell have one?

We’ve been planning an association for our customers for a couple of years. We think it will give a better insurance experience, and it’s easy to see why when you consider the customers for whom we provide insurance.

We arrange 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 we arrange includes cover for private healthcare, accidents, death, and income protection. Our customers include almost all nationalities and live in over 160 countries around the world.

When our customers have such diverse needs, we think that an independent, not-for-profit members’ association is the best way to represent their interests. When you’re a member of the William Russell Association, we think we can give you better service at better value for you.

We mentioned earlier that we’ve 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 that Brexit is panning out means that we’ve launched the association sooner than expected. From 1st January 2021, we can only arrange insurance cover for customers if they enrol in the William Russell Association. But enrolling you now helps us faster along our 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, they are 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 through an association 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 on 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.

So, when you purchase insurance from William Russell, you 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 means it’s not just you on one side and the insurance company on the other. Instead, it’s you together with a whole community of expats, and the insurance company. Think of it like the European Union. Alone, a single member state has limited bargaining power with other countries. But with the combined strength of the European Union, the member states have far superior bargaining powers.

As a member, the William Russell Association always acts in your interests. So, your membership can help you get fairer insurance premiums, higher quality insurance products, and better outcomes when you’re dealing with the insurance company.

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. We 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, we’ll enrol you automatically. 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 a regular policyholder of an insurance policy. You can make claims on the benefits of your insurance plan just as you would for any other insurance plan.

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 you into the William Russell Association and providing you with an excellent experience while you remain a member. William Russell Europe SRL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Russell Ltd, a privately-owned company registered in the UK and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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.