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Eight out of ten people think that moving abroad was the best decision they ever made.

The findings come following a survey of BUPA International members from around the world on their views on being an expatriate.

Paula Covey, head of marketing for BUPA International, said: “These findings, which come a year after BUPA International almost doubled in size, are in line with the growth we are seeing as more people choose to make another country their home.

BUPA International bought IHI in Denmark and AMEDEX in Miami in 2005, opening up new markets all over the world, particularly in Latin America.

“Since then our membership has grown by around 10 percent, helped by IHI and AMEDEX’s local knowledge and experience. Both companies have a strong presence in Latin America, a market we have been very keen to develop.

“One of the biggest assets we have gained is IHI’s in-house emergency service, staffed 24-hours by a fully qualified team of doctors, many of whom are trained in traditional, aviation and emergency medicine and speak several languages. Based in Copenhagen, members can phone the team from anywhere in the world and receive on the spot medical advice.

She added: “Looking ahead, China, India and Russia are important markets for us. As the economies in these countries strengthen, Western businesses are basing themselves there, opening up new markets for expat health insurance. Similarly, a lot of labour is being imported into the Middle East, and new laws, such as those in Saudi Arabia, mean expats must be insured.”

The world’s largest and oldest expatriate health insurer, BUPA International sells expatriate and travel insurance to more than 8 million people in over 190 countries.

More than a third of the BUPA Group’s business now comes from its international operations in countries including Spain, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

From 7 December 2006

Panama Kevin