Southern Cross Travel Insurance announces Working Overseas cover for Australians looking to live and work abroad

22 May 2023 by Laura Sedgwick

Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has today announced the launch of its new Working Overseas insurance cover in Australia, acknowledging the needs of travellers who head away to work (and play), whether it’s for their ‘OE’ or working as digital nomads.

“The gap year is as much a part of young Australians’ lives as barbecues and beaches – it has become a rite of passage, so the past couple of years have been a pretty frustrating time for many Aussies as borders remained closed,” says Jo McCauley, CEO at Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

The insurance policy is now available to Australians who intend to live and work abroad, and automatically covers office-based work and some types of manual work, with benefits tailored towards longer experiences of living and working overseas such as optical treatment, emergency dental treatment, mental health care, rehabilitation and occupational therapy, and maternity care.

Other benefits include cover for holidays away from travellers’ main destination (depending on the holiday destination, customers may incur an additional premium) and automatic cover for skiing and snowboarding, travelling by cruise or riding mopeds.

Each Working Overseas policy can be purchased for a duration of up to 12 months cover and, if required, travellers can buy subsequent 12-month policies, as long as their total cover is no longer than 60 months.

And while Australia does have reciprocal rights with the UK for travellers to access the NHS, there are a range of services that are not publicly funded. As neither reciprocal agreement provides full coverage, travellers should hold comprehensive travel insurance, including health insurance.

McCauley says: “There is most certainly demand which is evidenced by our Future of Travel 2023 research. This showed 73% of Gen Z and 70% of Millennials would consider living and working overseas for a period of time to extend a trip or holiday.”

However, she says while it’s understandable many Aussies are keen to get overseas again, it’s critical to have the correct protection in place so this potentially life-changing experience doesn’t end up being a disaster.

“It’s important Australians heading overseas to work consider protecting themselves with travel insurance,” McCauley says. “When you’re living somewhere for a long period of time, the likelihood of needing medical assistance is increased and it’s important not to assume you can access the local health system for free - this isn’t always the case and, in some instances, it can lead to expensive medical bills.”

Southern Cross’ Working Overseas travel insurance policy has been available in New Zealand for several years and records show several customers on working holidays in the US, Canada and the UK have had to make claims for tens of thousands of dollars after requiring medical treatment there.

Three of the most expensive claims paid out by SCTI pre-Covid to New Zealanders with a Working Overseas policy covered medical treatment in the US ($206,000 AUD) and Canada ($48,000 AUD, $47,000 AUD). As travel is now returning to normal, SCTI has been able to help customers with an injury in Thailand at $29,000 AUD, a case in the USA at $14,000 AUD and another in Canada for $9,500 AUD.

The intention of SCTI’s Working Overseas cover is to protect those travelling overseas to temporarily live and work. McCauley notes this is quite different from SCTI’s award-winning International Comprehensive policy which has been designed for leisure but does also include some cover for work purposes.

“If you’re travelling overseas for a holiday and doing some work overseas or attending a business conference while you’re there, you may find that either our International Comprehensive or Medical Only policy will offer you the level of cover you need”, she says.