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Elderly Healthcare In Asia Pacific Will Cost US$20 Trillion Over The Next 15 Years

Elderly healthcare in the Asia Pacific region will cost more than US$20 trillion between 2015 and 2030, according to a new report released today by Marsh & McLennan Companies.

The APRC’s report, Advancing into the Golden Years — Cost of Healthcare for Asia Pacific’s Elderly, forecasts a steep rise in elderly healthcare costs and calls for urgent action from governments, insurers, healthcare providers, corporates, and citizens.

Commenting on the findings of the center’s first report, Wolfram Hedrich, Executive Director, APRC said, “The Asia Pacific region is ageing at a faster rate than any other region in the world. Key stakeholders, including governments, insurers, and individuals, are not fully prepared from a financing, infrastructure, and workforce perspective for the escalating costs of caring for more than 200 million additional elderly citizens in the region.”

Pressing need for action on healthcare for the elderly in Asia Pacific

Although Asia Pacific is a diverse region, by 2030 it is anticipated that there will be a 71 percent increase in the number of elderly people aged 65 and above, compared to a 55 percent increase in North America and a 31 percent increase in Europe during the same timeframe.

Annual elderly healthcare expenditure is expected to reach US$2.5 trillion by 2030 in Asia Pacific, five times more than what it cost in 2015. Cumulatively, between 2015 and 2030, elderly healthcare is forecast to cost US$20 trillion, representing half of all healthcare expenditure in the region during that period.

The region will also face a shortage of an estimated 18.2 million professional long-term caregivers by 2030. Significant investment in both infrastructure and human capital will be required to meet the demand.

The report conveys a pressing need for action, and highlights global best practices and innovative approaches to elderly healthcare — such as the need for radical changes to public policy and healthcare business models — to which key stakeholders in Asia Pacific should pay particular attention.


Air Freight Growth Slowed To 2.2% In 2015

Global air freight markets showing cargo volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) expanded 2.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. This was a slower pace of growth than the 5.0% growth recorded in 2014. The weakness reflects sluggish trade growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

After a strong start, air freight volumes began a decline that continued through 2015, until some improvements to world trade drove a modest pick-up late in the year. Cargo in Asia-Pacific, accounting for around 39% traffic, expanded by a moderate 2.3%. The key markets of Europe and North America, which between them comprise around 43% of total cargo traffic, were basically flat in 2015. Latin America suffered a steep decline (-6.0%) while the Middle East grew strongly, up 11.3%. Africa also saw modest growth of 1.2%. The freight load factor (FLF) was at times the lowest for some years, falling to an average 44.1% compared to 45.7% in 2014, driven down by weak demand and capacity expansion.

“2015 was another very difficult year for air cargo. Growth has slowed and revenue is falling. In 2011 air cargo revenue peaked at $67 billion. In 2016 we are not expecting revenue to exceed $51 billion. Efficiency gains are critical as the sector adjusts to shortening global supply chains and evermore competitive market conditions. We have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion. The industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernize processes and improve the value proposition. The faster the industry can make that happen, the better,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The industry’s key challenges will be discussed in detail at the World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Berlin, 15-17 March. The world’s largest gathering of air cargo professionals, the 10th WCS will bring together 1,000 delegates under the theme of ‘The Value of Air Cargo’ to debate solutions for strengthening air cargo and the vital service it performs for the world economy.  
Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014FTK GrowthAFTK GrowthFLF
International 0.7% 6.6% 47.4
Domestic 1.4% 6.2% 30.8
Total Market 0.8% 6.5% 43.9
YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2014FPK GrowthAFTK GrowthFLF
International 2.5% 6.4% 47.6
Domestic 0.1% 4.6% 29.6
Total Market 2.2% 6.1% 44.1

Regional Analysis in Detail

The global freight growth rate in December was 0.8% compared to December 2014. Within that range there were considerable regional fluctuations. 

African airlines FTKs declined by 8.4% in December although for 2015 as a whole the region grew by 1.2%. The FLF in 2015 was 29.7%, the lowest of any region. The underperformance of the Nigerian and South African economies was a challenge throughout the year, but trade growth to and from the region was sufficient to drive a modest expansion in FTKs.

Asia-Pacific carriers were basically flat in December, expanding just 0.1%. For the whole of 2015, the region grew 2.3%. The FLF for 2015 was 53.9%, the highest of any region. Cargo expansion in the region has been hampered by a shift in Chinese economic policy to favour domestic consumption. A mid-year fall of 8% in trade to/from emerging Asia also led to declines but this appears to have bottomed out, with a rebound in the second half of the year.

European airlines grew by 1.2% in December but the performance for 2015 in total was a fall of 0.1% compared to 2014. The FLF in 2015 was 44.9%. Economic conditions in the Eurozone have been subdued, leading to suppressed demand for air freight, but imports have improved in recent months.

Latin American carriers continued the weak performance of recent months, declining by 6.2% in December and by 6.0% for 2015 as a whole. This was the weakest performance of any region. The average FLF for 2015 was 38.3%. Economic and political conditions in Brazil have worsened, and regional trade activity has been volatile.

Middle Eastern carriers grew 4.0% in December and for 2015 in total the region expanded 11.3% compared to 2014. The FLF was 42.8% for 2015. The region enjoyed a strong year as network expansion into emerging markets was supported by economic growth in local economies. Political instability and the fall in the oil price may impact on some economies in the region but growth as a whole remains robust enough to support further expansion in 2016.

North American airlines saw FTKs expand 1.4% in December compared to December 2014. For the year as a whole, North America grew just 0.1%. The 2015 FLF was 34.3%. Growth in 2015 faded after a strong start that was flattered by the West Coast ports strike. Recently there have been mixed signals from economic data, indicating an uncertain outlook for air freight in the coming months.

Philippines Travel Warning: Typhoon Melor (Nona)

Typhoon Melor (Nona) forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the country from 14 December 2015.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year. Most typhoons occur from June to December. There may be flooding and landslides. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Typhoon Melor (Nona) is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the country, in particular northern Visayas and southern Luzon, from 14 December.

Around 133,665 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2014. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to the Philippines.


A.M. Best Upgrades Ratings Of Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance Limited

A.M. Best has upgraded the financial strength rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating to “a” from “a-” of Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance Limited (Blue Cross) (Hong Kong). The outlook for both ratings has been revised to stable from positive.

The upgrade reflects Blue Cross’ continued favorable operating performance over the past five years. The company has maintained its strong risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR) in fiscal year 2014 and strong business profile as one of the leading insurers in the accident and health insurance market in Hong Kong, in particular the group and individual medical products. The ratings also recognize Blue Cross’ efforts and strategy to further improve its diversity in product mix and distribution channels.

Blue Cross’ capitalization, as measured on a risk-adjusted and local solvency basis, is considered to be strong and is expected to provide continued support to the company’s ongoing business operation and development. Statutory solvency ratio has remained well above 300% over the past years.

The company has continued its strong operating results since 2014, mainly driven by the stable and favorable claims experience in the company’s core accident and health business, as well as the consistently improving trend in expense controls. In terms of investment performance, Blue Cross benefited from a stable stream of interest and dividend income over the past five years, which has helped the company partially absorb the volatility in net realized and unrealized gains or losses and the investment revaluation reserve.



Aligning Cigna Global iPMI And Employer Businesses In Singapore

Cigna has announced the appointment of Lena Tsia as Country Manager for Cigna Singapore. Reporting to Patrick Graham, CEO, Asia-Pacific, Lena takes the lead in aligning the Cigna Individual (Global IPMI) and Employer businesses (Global Health Benefits) more closely in Singapore.

As described by Graham, "The realignment in Singapore and Asia Pacific will see us move to a "One Cigna" approach, offering our full suite of Group and Individual products and services on a coordinated approach. It will enable us to continue to leverage our global strengths, while at the same time focusing on relevant local solutions for brokers, clients, partners and customers."

In her new role, Lena will have P&L accountability for all the Singapore business, interface with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and manage all the Singapore operations across both Global Health Benefits and Global IPMI.

Lena Tsia joins Cigna from Prudential Assurance Company Singapore where she was the Senior Vice President & Head of Group Business Department responsible for the repositioning of Prudential's group business to meet the distribution demands. Under her oversight, the business has grown exponentially in terms of number of accounts, revenue and profitability. The distribution channel has diversified to include PACS tied agency, brokers and strategic alliances. She has also successfully re-engineered the operations to enhance the value chain.

She has over 27 years of experience in the industry and has held various roles with AIA, Great Eastern Life and Prudential. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Actuarial Sciences & Statistics from the University of Calgary, Canada and is former Associate of the Society of Actuaries.

Arjan Toor, Managing Director, Global IPMI, comments, "We're excited by the experience and track record Lena brings to the role. Lena is a well-known face in the Singaporean insurance market, and has built a reputation as a highly effective leader and strong supporter of broker and partner relationships from her time at AIA, and latterly Prudential Insurance."




India Travel Warning: Flood Warnings For Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam And West Bengal

A flood warning has been issued to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and West Bengal due to the possibility of heavy rainfall in the foothills of the Himalayas over the next few days. The rainfall will also lead to swelling of rivers Kosi, Gandak and Ghaghara, tributaries of Ganga and all tributaries of Brahmaputra.

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Indian Meteorological Department and follow the advice of local authorities and your travel company.

Over 800,000 British nationals visit India every year.

Before you travel to India, take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance and read the India specific health information and advice published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre. Be sure to speak with a professional insurance intermediary and check the coverage and small print. If you are taking the time to travel, you need to protect yourself and family financially if your holiday goes wrong. 

An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive. Your credit card accident cover, home insurance or private health cover is not always sufficient. If travelling within the European Economic Areas you will need an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as well as medical and travel insurance.


Improving Safety And Optimizing Airspace Capacity In China

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on China to continue strengthening safety and to optimize its airspace capacity further to reduce flight delays.

“It is clear that China is fully dedicated to supporting its overall development with a strong air transport industry. The efforts of the CAAC to implement the State Safety Plan, upgrade systems, open new routes, develop new airports, reduce delays and much more are greatly appreciated by airlines. By 2034, China will be the world’s largest passenger market, with one in five passengers travelling to, from or within China. Adopting global best practices to improve safety and optimize airspace capacity will support the successful development of Chinese aviation,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. Tyler was speaking at the Beijing International Forum on Civil Aviation Safety.

Improving Safety

“China has an exemplary safety record. There have been no jet hull losses in Mainland China since August 2010. The combined efforts of the Chinese aviation industry, including government, airlines, airports, air traffic control, and many others have built a first class safety record for China,” said Tyler.

Tyler also highlighted two opportunities to enhance China’s safety regime with (1) audits for airlines not qualified for IOSA and (2) greater attention to the shipping of lithium batteries:

  • In Greater China, there are 25 airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry. IATA just launched the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) which caters to operators that are not eligible for an IOSA audit, either because they operate aircraft below the maximum take-off weight of 5,700 kg, or operate a business model that does not conform to IOSA standards, such as private charters. “I encourage the Chinese industry to take advantage of this opportunity to introduce global standards to those airlines not covered by ISOA,” said Tyler.
  • Tyler also expressed concern on the safe carriage of lithium batteries. “China is a major production center for lithium batteries. Ensuring the safe carriage of this cargo is a major concern for the Chinese air transport industry. Because of the complex supply chains involved, it is crucial that all stakeholders are aligned,” said Tyler. To support the growth of awareness and knowledge-sharing on this issue in China, IATA has released the new Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines in Chinese. This document is designed to guide shippers and manufacturers step by step through the shipping process.

Optimizing China’s Airspace

Nearly 70,000 flights operate to, from or within Mainland China every week, about 10% of the global total. “China should be congratulated for managing such a large number of flights. It is a major accomplishment, especially given the complex mix of civil and military concerns involved as well as the phenomenal rate of growth. While there is no question that these flights are being handled with safety as a top priority, flight delays are still a major issue for airlines and their passengers,” said Tyler.

Tyler highlighted five priority areas where further improvements in airspace capacity can be pursued.

  • Use existing airspace more efficiently by allowing international flights to use domestic air routes. The ideal situation would be to eliminate distinctions between international and domestic operations, or at least to have all current domestic routes open for international operations.
  • Reduce restrictions on entry/exit points and simplify procedures for re-routing requests. This will allow airlines to make the best use of meteorological conditions, such as wind, to fly more efficiently.
  • Introduce air traffic flow management. This will improve predictability for flights.
  • Maximize the full potential of civil-military cooperation through flexible use of airspace by civil aircraft when it is not being used by the military. More advance notice and alternative routings when military exercises require route closures will also help airlines manage the situation more effectively for their passengers.
  • Maximize the potential to be gained in interoperability from the investments made to introduce performance based navigation (PBN) in China. The potential for PBN to allow for route-restructuring and more direct routes has not yet materialized.

“Much progress has been made to improve the efficiency of China’s air traffic management. I appreciate the tremendous challenge just to keep pace with annual growth of 8% or greater. The impressive achievements to date give us confidence that even more improvements are possible,” said Tyler.


Insurance pooling networks could ease high benefits cost for large Asian multinationals

The use of insurance pooling networks to finance employee benefits is a concept that is still in its infancy in Asia Pacific. However, new research conducted by Towers Watson (NASDAQ: TW), a leading global professional services company, found there may be significant savings to be gained from the use of these financing solutions — global companies that operate multinational pooling arrangements were found to generate annual average returns of 6.1% of paid premiums.

Towers Watson’s 2014 Multinational Pooling and Benefit Captives survey analysed 753 multinational pooling reports from 151 international companies containing US$2.4 billion of premiums. It found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of multinational pools returned positive dividends. The research also revealed top-performing multinational pools produced a significant proportion of the returns with over a quarter (28%) producing dividend returns in excess of 10%.

Multinational pooling combines a company’s group insurance contracts for employee benefits in different countries under one financing arrangement to create savings through economies of scale. Sources of these economies of scale include risk reduction and administrative efficiencies.

Rajesh Daswani, senior consultant at Towers Watson in Asia Pacific, said: “With operational cost reduction and synergies still very much at the top of the corporate agenda, multinational pooling is an increasingly popular way for companies to use their global spending power to achieve savings, and at the same time, spread the risk of their employee benefit plans across multiple geographies and business areas.

“This signifies an untapped opportunity for Asian multinationals, especially those in expansion mode. Leveraging an organization’s size in financing its employee benefits can reap considerable cost savings with little downside risk.”

The research also uncovered the wide discrepancy in performance between different countries, with profitability levels for Indonesia and the Czech Republic hitting 36% and 33% of premium, respectively. In Asia Pacific, Japan and Malaysia also figure in the top 10 most profitable countries globally as shown in the table below. Only six countries around the world failed to produce positive average returns from multinational pools with Hungary (-36%) producing the worst results, along with Australia (-15%), Canada (-11%), Singapore (-9%) and China (-1%).

“The country results provide powerful insights for organizations that want to actively manage their pools and determine what insured risks to allocate into the pool to maximise financial returns. This is true globally but also regionally, with three markets in Asia Pacific included in the top 10 most profitable countries. Of the six unprofitable countries in the world, three countries are in Asia Pacific,” said Daswani.

Top 10 profitable countries - pooled business

“Almost all countries produce surpluses overall, but what is very interesting is that the average life-only contract result is 23% while the average for medical is -8%. This suggests companies need to consider very carefully whether to pool stand-alone medical contracts, or absorb potential losses from medical contracts should they occur. If they choose to pool, they will need to consider a number of factors including past claims experience; current local country medical cost inflation; proposed premium levels; and the existing diversity of risks and premium within the pool,” said Daswani.


Welcome To iPolicy Magazine: For International Expatriate Medical Health And Travel Insurance Brokers Agents And Intermediaries

Welcome To The 1st Issue Of iPMI Magazines Medical Health Travel and Expatriate Insurance Broker And Intermediary Report, iPOLICY.


Rounding up the last quarter's most important International Medical and Health Insurance Plan and Product News, iPOLICY is the essential digital report designed specifically for International Health Insurance Brokers and Intermediaries.

Read iPolicy by iPMIM now, click here.

Welcome To The 2nd Issue Of iPMI Magazines Medical Insurance Broker And Intermediary Report, iPOLICY.


Rounding up the last quarter's most important International Medical and Health Insurance Plan and Product News, iPOLICY is the essential digital report designed specifically for International Health Insurance Brokers and Intermediaries.

Read iPolicy Issue 2 by iPMIM now, click here.

Welcome To The 3rd Issue Of iPMI Magazines Medical Insurance Broker And Intermediary Report, iPOLICY.


Rounding up the last quarter's most important International Medical and Health Insurance Plan and Product News, iPOLICY is the essential digital report designed specifically for International Health Insurance Brokers and Intermediaries.

Read iPolicy Issue 3 by iPMIM now, click here.

For more International Private Medical Insurance Magazine medical insurance, health insurance, medical assistance, expatriate healthcare insurance and risk-protection news go to


Pacific Prime Singapore Announce Medical Insurance Partnership With AXA

Pacific Prime Singapore is now offering AXA’s wide range of products after a new partnership with the industry leader.

Pacific Prime Singapore has confirmed that the insurance intermediary is now able to offer AXA’s wide range of products. The partnership is reportedly focusing on local and regional medical insurance in Singapore, alongside countries in the Southeast Asia region.

Pacific Prime, through AXA, are offering a new range insurance solutions in Singapore, including Home insurance, Motor insurance, Business insurance as well as Travel insurance. They can also now offer Direct-Billing with over 300 Doctors and all major hospitals in the city, and have recently launched an E-portal designed to facilitate the insurance process with regards to claims services for local clients.

Products now within reach include the ‘International Exclusive’ Policy, featuring cover for pre-existing conditions at no extra cost, and ‘SmartCare Optimum’ as well as ‘SmartCare Executive’ plans which are more tailored for the local market in Singapore. A simplified corporate insurance plan, ‘SME Made Easy’, is a flexible solution for small companies that enables Pacific Prime to provide easy access to hospitalisation, out-patient treatment, and dental cover. ‘Major Medical’ and ‘Personal Accident’ are additional options on these SME plans aswell.

The Singapore branch of the international insurance agent is thrilled to be working with an industry leader that retains over 160,000 employees worldwide serving customers in 56 countries, AXA has been InterBrand’s number one global insurance brand for the past 5 years, and ranked at Number 1 in Health insurance in 2013.

Pacific Prime is looking to strengthen this partnership with AXA into 2015, aiming at providing more positive developments on health insurance plans and a direct-settlement network for out-patient consultations in Singapore.

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