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Bupa CEO Steps Down

Bupa has announced that Stuart Fletcher is stepping down as CEO, with Evelyn Bourke, the Chief Financial Officer, becoming Acting CEO as of 4 April 2016.


Stuart Fletcher was appointed CEO of Bupa in March 2012. Stuart joined Bupa from Diageo where he was President, Diageo International. Previously, he held financial roles at Procter & Gamble and United Glass.

Lord Leitch, Chairman, said, "Stuart has made a very significant contribution to Bupa and leaves the company stronger than ever, having brought the customer and our people even further to the fore, as well as extending Bupa’s global footprint.”

“Under Stuart’s leadership, growth has been good, particularly given challenging market conditions. However, current growth plans do not match our expectations, and so we have agreed that the time is right for him to step down.”

“Evelyn is well placed to take on the Acting CEO role, with a strong track record and extensive experience in financial services, risk and capital management, strategy, and mergers and acquisitions.”

Stuart Fletcher said, "It has been a privilege to have led Bupa’s transformation over the past four years and I am incredibly proud of our achievements. It is the 84,000 colleagues that make Bupa so special, and I express my heartfelt thanks to each of them for the difference they make every day for Bupa’s customers. I know that Bupa will go from strength to strength and I will work to fully support Evelyn during the transition period.”

Evelyn Bourke, Acting CEO said, "It’s an absolute honour to be appointed as the Acting CEO of Bupa. I very much look forward to building on our success for our customers, people and partners."

Evelyn Bourke became CFO of Bupa in September 2012. Evelyn joined from Friends Life where she was Chief Executive Officer of its Heritage division. Previously at Friends Provident, she was the Executive Director responsible for strategy, capital and risk and, before that, Chief Financial Officer. She also served as Finance Director of Standard Life UK.

In due course the Board will conduct an internal and external search process.  


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APRIL Group Health & Personal Protection Division Report 2.4% Increase In Sales For 2015

APRIL Group Health & Personal Protection division reported a 2.4% increase in sales based on reported data, broken down into a 1.7% decrease in brokerage commissions and a 9.3% rise in premiums.

The increase in insurance premiums was driven by the development of individual (seniors and self-employed), group and expatriate Health & Personal Protection portfolios. It also reflects new partnerships in group health insurance portfolios linked to the French National Interbranch Agreement (ANI) and an adjustment to the reinsurance structure.

The decrease in brokerage commissions mainly resulted from the contraction of our individual employee health insurance portfolios in light of the new regulation on compulsory group private health insurance, which became effective on 1 January 2016. This decrease was partly offset by the excellent performance of loan insurance. Individual health insurance for seniors and the self-employed continued to perform well. Group private health insurance sales began later than scheduled, but registered a sharp increase towards the end of the year.

The division posted a current EBIT margin down 2.4 percentage points to 15.3%, due to the decrease in individual health insurance revenues, the investments made in group health insurance (process scale-up, bespoke solutions meeting new regulations and the hiring of new staff in order to maintain quality of service) and intense competition in the health insurance sector throughout the year. The group does not anticipate any changes of these parameters in 2016.

The division posted an EBIT of €73.5m.

Overall Performance

APRIL achieved a satisfactory overall performance in a changing environment. The group consolidated its market positioning by keeping up an aggressive sales strategy: positive sales momentum were recorded in increasingly regulated and competitive markets, impacted in particular by the extension of group private health insurance in France.

“2015 was a year of true commitment and structuring for us. Defining our key growth levers around a strengthened management team has allowed us to make a clear assessment and set priorities for our actions and investments, which will have a major influence on the group in the coming years. Our capacity for innovation and the quality of our policy and claims handling, which are more than ever fully focused on serving our customers, should enable us to mitigate the expected decline in our current EBIT for 2016. We are confident in the strength of our group to renew with profit growth as the markets in which we operate gradually stabilise” commented APRIL Chairman and CEO Bruno Rousset.



Vitality Motivates Members To Get More Active With Apple Watch

Vitality announces an exciting new program to promote physical activity and better health for its members. U.S. Vitality members from Amgen, DaVita HealthCare Partners, and Lockton in addition to John Hancock policyholders, will have the opportunity to earn an Apple Watch simply by being more active.

Supported by powerful early data on the effectiveness of Apple Watch, this brings together the world’s largest scientific incentive‐based activity and health program, Vitality, with Apple's groundbreaking health and fitness companion, Apple Watch.

The program uses Vitality’s unique Active Rewards with Apple Watch to:  

  • help Vitality members be motivated and encouraged to get more active,  
  • achieve their health goals,  
  • earn their Apple Watch, and
  • enable a lower rate on life and/or medical insurance.

“Apple Watch will motivate and reward Vitality members to get active,” said Alan Pollard, CEO of The Vitality Group.  “Apple Watch ties seamlessly into the overall goals and mission of Vitality to foster health improvement and help people lead healthier lives."

Vitality Active Rewards is designed to work seamlessly with Apple Watch. Vitality members will be able to fully fund their Apple Watch by meeting monthly Vitality Active Rewards targets  that are achievable over 24 months.

"Vitality shares our conviction that being active has a powerful impact on people’s lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer. "We are thrilled that Apple Watch will be helping Vitality members live a healthier day by being more active.”

Emerging data shows effectiveness of program

17,000 participants are already using Apple Watch in South Africa through Discovery, Vitality’s parent company. Early data from South Africa shows:

  • Vitality members using Apple Watch are more physically active than Vitality participants using any other fitness devices.  
  • Vitality members of every age, with varying prior levels of activity, smoking status and chronic illness, engaging in the program have all increased physical activity:
  • Vitality members using Apple Watch increased their average weekly physical activity by 96% after joining Vitality Active Rewards.

Amgen, one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, DaVita HealthCare Partners, a leading independent medical group in America and leading global provider of kidney care, and Lockton, the world’s largest privately owned, independent insurance  brokerage firm, are among the pioneering employers making this program available in North America for their employees. This program will also be available to consumers later this year through the John Hancock Vitality program – a life insurance solution that rewards people for living healthy. When it is launched, all existing John Hancock Vitality members and new customers, will have the opportunity to enter into the Apple Watch program.   

“Amgen is committed to the health and well‐being of its staff members,” said Stuart Tross, senior vice president, Human Resource, Amgen.

“The enhancement of Vitality Active Rewards with Apple Watch means our employees will reap even greater benefits of making healthy choices.”

“We are proud to be the first company in the U.S. to link life insurance with personalized health technology.  And with Apple Watch, our policyholders can automatically monitor their progress toward living longer, healthier lives,” said Michael Doughty, president, John Hancock Insurance. “John Hancock is changing the conversation around life insurance, making life insurance relevant for new generations of consumers.”


WHO Outlines Ways To Prevent And Mitigate Childhood Hearing Loss World Hearing Day 2016

World Hearing Day is an annual advocacy event held on 3 March. It aims to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care across the world. The theme for World Hearing Day 2016 is Childhood hearing loss.

Nearly 32 million children across the world live with disabling hearing loss. A new WHO report, "Childhood hearing loss: act now, here’s how", suggests that 60% of this can be prevented. It also highlights that if hearing loss is detected early enough, and if children receive the care they need, they can reach their full potential.

“A child who struggles to hear may also struggle to learn to speak, underachieve at school and end up socially isolated,” says Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. “But this doesn’t have to happen. We have a range of tools to help prevent, detect and treat childhood hearing loss.”

Most childhood hearing loss can be prevented

There are many causes of childhood hearing loss. It is estimated that 40% is attributable to genetic causes; 31% to infections such as measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis; and 17% to complications at birth, including prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal jaundice. In addition, an estimated 4% results from expectant mothers and new-borns unknowingly using medicines that are harmful to hearing.

To prevent childhood hearing loss, immunizing children against diseases and regulating certain medicines and noise levels are vital.

Mitigating the impact of hearing loss

Early identification of those children with hearing loss helps to trigger the needed interventions, such as the provision of hearing devices and other communication therapies.

Hearing screening programmes for infants, and pre-school and school-based children, alongside hearing care training for health professionals, can dramatically improve the lives of children. Such programmes ensure that those in need of specialized care receive the interventions they need to be able to communicate, receive education and gain employment later in life.

Raising public awareness about ear and hearing care is another key strategy for reducing hearing loss and associated stigma around the use of hearing devices. Strengthening organizations of people with hearing loss and their families can contribute greatly to this effort.

The WHO report includes case studies from Cambodia, Canada, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom, Viet Nam and the United States which showcase the impact that programmes in these and other countries are having on the lives of children across the world. In settings where public health interventions, such as immunization programmes, are functioning optimally, much of childhood hearing loss is avoided. In others, early detection and treatment are key.

WHO collates data and information on hearing loss to demonstrate its prevalence, causes and impact as well as opportunities for prevention and management; assists countries to develop and implement strategies for hearing care that are integrated into the primary health-care system; and provides technical resources and guidance for planning, implementation and human resource development.


UN Secretary-General Appoints High-Level Commission On Health Employment And Economic Growth

By 2030, global demand for health care is projected to create more than 40 million new employment opportunities, mostly in upper-middle and high-income countries.

Conversely, low- and lower-middle-income countries are facing a potential deficit of 18 million health workers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This will be exacerbated by the increasing trend of international migration of health workers. This mismatch poses a threat to the stability of health systems and global health security.

In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to explore steps to meet the global shortfall of trained health workers, within the context of achieving Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO welcomes the United Nations Secretary-General’s appointment of a High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, and looks forward to coordinating the Commission’s work together with the International Labour Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Commission will be chaired jointly by President Francois Hollande of France and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, with WHO, ILO and OECD acting as co-vice chairs. It will start its work later this month and deliver its recommendations to the Secretary-General in September 2016.


nib Health Insurance Premium Changes Lowest In 4 Years

The growing cost of health care combined with an increase in the frequency of people seeking treatment has seen nib's claims expense increase 7.2% to $1.3 billion for calendar year 2015. This resulted in nib paying 86 cents for every $1 collected in premiums on claims.

In an effort to keep pace with rising health care costs and to continue to provide benefits customers expect, nib will be increasing health insurance premiums by an average of 5.55%.

The changes are effective from 1 April 2016.

nib's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mark Fitzgibbon, said health insurance affordability and value for money remain a heavy focus.

"We continue to see year-on-year increases in benefits paid. On one hand this is positive, as customers are receiving value from their health insurance for needed treatment. On the other though, it places upward pressure on premiums," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he expects health insurance affordability to be one of the Federal Government’s key areas of focus following the recent PHI Review.

"Minister Ley has already targeted the prosthetic pricing system as an opportunity to improve PHI affordability. Current pricing arrangements are an unfair cost burden on consumers, which if changed, could save $800 million per annum," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"Our desire to tackle rampant cost variation in treatment and help people make better choices explains our investment in Whitecoat, a website that allows people to search and compare healthcare professionals and make more informed decisions. Already Whitecoat has more than 30,000 registered providers and 200,000 patient reviews and is growing quickly," Mr Fitzgibbon added.


IHH Healthcare Posts 74% Jump In Q4 Net Profit On Exceptional Gains

IHH Healthcare Berhad, the world's second-largest listed private healthcare provider based on market capitalisation, on Thursday posted a 74 per cent jump in net profit for the fourth quarter of 2015 to RM415.8 million (S$138.3 million), as a result of exceptional gains.

These gains include revaluation gain of RM49.2 million on investment properties, investment tax allowance granted of RM93.1 million and exchange gain on non-Turkish Lira denominated loans of RM121.3 million. Excluding the exceptional items, profit after tax and minority interests (Patmi) for the quarter was down 11 per cent year on year to RM214.6 million.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec 31, 2015, grew 18 per cent to RM2.3 billion, driven by sustained organic growth at existing hospitals and ramp up of its newer hospitals. These include the Acibadem Atakent Hospital and Acibadem Taksim Hospital in Turkey, as well as Pantai Hospital Manjung, Gleneagles Medini Hospital and Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital in Malaysia.

The consolidation of newly acquired Continental and Global Hospitals in India also contributed RM44.4 million to the group's Q4 revenue. For the full year, net profit went up 24 per cent to RM933.9 million, while revenue grew 15 per cent to RM8.5 billion. Excluding exceptional gains, Patmi in 2015 grew 15 per cent year on year to RM899.2 million.

The group has declared a first and final dividend of 3 sen per share for the full year. As at end December 2015, the group has RM2 billion in cash and cash equivalents. Net gearing increased to a still-healthy and manageable 0.19 times from 0.08 times as end December 2014, on planned capital expenditure and allocation of cash into money market funds and fixed deposit.

"IHH expects to face continued headwinds from the slowing economies and fluctuation of regional currencies in the countries it operates in. However, we are confident that the robust demand for quality private healthcare services in the region, especially in India and China, continues to present growth opportunities for IHH," the group said.


Bupa Chief Legal Officer Announces Plan To Retire

Bupa announced the intention of Chief Legal Officer Paul Newton to retire at the end of the year, after 29 years of service. 

Paul joined Bupa as a legal adviser in 1987. He became Bupa’s General Counsel in 2005 and joined the Bupa Executive Team in 2013.  

Stuart Fletcher CEO Bupa paid tribute to Paul’s contribution and commitment to the organisation.  

"Whilst I'm personally very sorry to be losing Paul from the company and the Bupa Executive Team I fully understand and respect his decision to retire following 29 years of outstanding service. 

"Paul has built our Legal function into an externally recognised world-class team. I value his counsel, experience and contribution immensely.  He has been a true champion of Bupa’s values and purpose and has played a key role in the development of many long-term careers at Bupa. His deep commitment to growing others has enabled us to set a standard for leadership across the global Legal function that few organisations can match.   The appointment of Penny as Paul's successor is evidence of the effective talent management framework we have established."

Penny Dudley, currently Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Bupa Global Market Unit, will succeed Paul and be appointed Chief Legal Officer from 1 April 2016.  She will also join the Executive Team from the same date.  

Penny joined Bupa in 2010 as a Head of Legal for Bupa's international health insurance business and has held a number of roles within the organisation before being appointed Legal Director for Bupa Global in May 2013.  

Paul will remain a member of the Bupa Executive Team ahead of his retirement and will work closely with Penny during the transition period, acting as Bupa’s General Counsel and leading a number of specific significant business projects.


Carter Review Says Hospitals Must Standardise Procedures

Implementing the recommendations will help end variations in quality of care and finances that cost the NHS billions, Lord Carter has advised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in his final report. The executive summary is available and the full report will be published shortly. His review found unwarranted variation in running costs, sickness absence, infection rates and prices paid for supplies and services.

As part of the review, a ‘model hospital’ has been developed which will advise NHS trusts on the most efficient allocation of resources and allows hospitals to measure performance against other trusts.

Following the model hospital examples could save hospitals £5 billion a year by 2020 to 2021 and put an end to the variations the review uncovered across the NHS, including:

  • average running costs for a hospital (£ per square metre) vary from £105 at one trust to as high as £970 for another
  • infection rates for hip and knee replacements vary from 0.5 to 4%
  • prices paid by different hospitals for hip replacements range from £788 to £1,590
  • the use of floor space - one trust uses 12% for non-clinical purposes and another uses as much as 69%
  • sickness absence rates differ from 3.1% to 5%

As well as reviewing hospitals across England, Lord Carter’s review looked at healthcare systems abroad, including in the US, Germany, Australia, Italy and France where hospitals have a greater focus on efficiency because they have established the clear link it has with patient care.

Lord Carter said, "My experience of the NHS and hospitals internationally is that high quality patient care and sound financial management go hand in hand. To improve the quality of care hospitals must grasp resources more effectively, especially staff, which account for more than 60 pence of every pound hospitals spend. Giving hospitals the tools and support to better manage resources will make it easier for boards to follow the example of the best trusts and mean every patient can receive the same world class care and taxpayers will also receive a fairer return on their significant investment in the NHS."

Acute NHS trusts spend £55.6 billion every year, £33.9 billion of which goes on staffing. Lord Carter estimates a 1% improvement in staff productivity will save the NHS £280 million a year, which equates to hospitals using new working methods that would save every member of staff 5 minutes on an 8 hour shift.

Other areas covered by the report include:

  • staffing: the review calls for an improvement in the way the NHS deploys its staff, ending the use of outdated and inefficient paper rosters
  • procurement: as part of the review, from April 2016, trusts will publish their receipts on a monthly basis for the top 100 items bought by the NHS such as bandages, needles and rubber gloves
  • use of floor space: trusts’ unused floor space should not exceed 2.5%, and floor space used for non-clinical purposes should not exceed 35%
  • administration costs: these should not exceed 7% by 2018 and 6% by 2020
  • delayed transfers of care: Lord Carter has called for action to be taken on the ‘major problem’ of delayed transfers of care, which affects hospitals and trusts’ earning and spending capacity
  • working with neighbouring hospitals: Lord Carter advises trusts to work closely with their neighbouring hospitals, sharing services and resources to improve efficiency and reduce costs

Lord Carter was asked to carry out the review by Jeremy Hunt as part of his aim to make the NHS the safest and most efficient healthcare system in the world. The efficiency expert has spent the last 18 months visiting hospitals across the country and reviewing productivity to ensure the NHS gets the best value from its £102 billion annual budget and help the NHS to implement a 7-day service.

Jeremy Hunt said, "I want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, capable of providing the same world class care every day of the week, powered by a culture of transparency and learning. This groundbreaking review will help hospitals care for patients, making sure every penny possible is spent on frontline patient care and bureaucracy is slashed so doctors and nurses can concentrate on caring. I’m grateful to Lord Carter, his team and those trusts involved in identifying the recommendations and urge all trusts to implement them immediately."

Lord Carter will continue to engage with and support trusts to achieve the efficiency improvements they can make over the coming months. NHS Improvement (NHSI) will lead the implementation of the recommendations and Lord Carter will become a non-executive director of the regulator in April. Lord Carter has also called for trusts to have closer support and management from NHSI, both locally and nationally, to ensure the review is fully implemented across all trusts.

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