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Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Coverage Claims Top The List Of All Claims Processed

Analysis of India Network Claims data demonstrate that most visitors are getting sick due to one or other pre-existing medical conditions. All members are advised to purchase a plan with pre-existing conditions coverage.

India Network Foundation has been helping thousands of Asian Indian families in the United States with visitor health insurance for more than two decades. During that time, the Foundation's plans progressively covered typical problems often denied by almost all other insurance companies in the world. In the last five years, India Network Foundation has sponsored plans that include coverage for pre-existing health conditions, accidental death benefits, repatriation benefits and medical evacuation benefits as a part of their health insurance coverage.

Pre-existing coverage varies by plan design and by company that offers. It is important to understand the pre-existing before purchasing any plan. India Network Visitor health insurance plans offers the broadest coverage for pre-existing conditions at affordable premiums. Any good pre-existing condition coverage plans cost more than the plans that offer restricted pre-existing conditions coverage or no pre-existing conditions coverage. All claims are paid either under pre-existing coverage or like new problems and accidents under ACE Premier and Network plans. Both Premier and Network plans cover pre-existing conditions on the same way but the difference is in how they settle the claims. Fixed benefit plans are cheaper to purchase but would leave you with a large hospital bill in case of illness or accident.

A recent analysis of India Network Visitor Health Insurance claims data demonstrated that the insurance plans with pre-existing conditions have been extensively helping visiting parents than the plans without such coverage. In the United States, heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes related death certificates among citizens 65 years or older. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failures in 44 percent of all new cases. On top of all, about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form nervous system damage (

Dr. KV Rao, India Network said that the diabetic is so common among elderly that many visiting parents think that it is not a pre-existing condition that needs to be taken care of. As such, they tend purchase cheapest plan available in the market. Only those got sick realize how bad their plan was and it is too late to join a good one like India Network Health Insurance.


New Online Claims Tool For Expats And Business Travelers

SOS International has launched a new online self-service tool for expats and business travelers on This new tool makes it possible for all expatriates and business travelers to file a claim anywhere, anytime at their convenience.

The tool makes sure that all relevant information and documentation is enclosed to the application which entails a more smooth and quick claims handling process to the benefit of both the insurance company and the policy holder.

The development of this tool is part of SOS International’s digital development approach and a response to the demand from the market. Today, policy holders want to be able to service themselves when it suits them and not abide to office opening hours and heavy case handling processes entailing paper work and sending documentation by regular mail.

To access the online solution, follow this link.



MSH INTERNATIONAL has announced the launch of a complete international health insurance solution online for individual expatriates: FIRST EXPAT+

This comprehensive and affordable product offers worldwide coverage for all expatriates - including US citizens - under the age of 71.

“After months of internal consultation, brainstorming and competitive analysis, FIRST EXPAT+ has arrived and it is one of the best in its class,” says Philippe de Dreuzy, President and CEO at MSH INTERNATIONAL (Canada).

“The new MSH portal offers flexible and affordable coverage through a simple and user-friendly process,” comments Fabrice Tuffigo, Marketing & iPMI Sales Director. “Brokers can display FIRST EXPAT+ on their website: clients will be automatically redirected to a customized quotation page with the broker’s reference attached. This way we can track quotes and enrollments generated by each partnered broker.”

The core plan includes Hospital Care covered at 100%, Routine Healthcare (doctors’ visits, prescription drugs, etc.), Legal Assistance and Third-Party Liability. Optional benefits can then be elected in order to enhance the core plan, and a choice of deductibles are available to reduce the insurance premium.

Here are some of FIRST EXPAT+ key features:

  • Comprehensive Coverage – Medical, Dental/Vision, Maternity, Medical Evacuation, Life, Disability and Personal Third-Party Liability;
  • Flexibility – 4 different levels of benefits: Quartz, Pearl, Sapphire, Diamond and 5 geographical coverage zones;
  • Affordability – 5 year age bands up to 65, in and out-of-network reimbursements, 4 different deductibles;
  • Portability – Coverage of emergency care available outside of the subscribed geographical zone up to 60 consecutive days;
  • Modern Technology – Simple language, user-friendly website allowing instant quotation and immediate enrollment online.



Pablo Moreno Appointed Group Executive VP Travel Global Business Line Europ Assistance

Pablo Moreno has been appointed as Group Executive VP Travel Global Business Line since December 1st.

He is member of Sales Board, Travel Steer Co & ExCom and reports directly to Pierre Brigadeau.
Pablo joined Europ Assistance Spain in 2005 as the Head of Commercial and Marketing. He previously had an experience in Corporate Banking at Banco de Sabadell Spain before becoming the Head of Client Management at American Express Spain.
Pablo Moreno has a Bachelor in Economics (Complutense University).

Punter Southall Health & Protection Launches Post Hospital Service

Following the launch of its Med24 GP app in October 2015, Punter Southall Health & Protection, one of the largest health and protection advisers in the UK, has continued its innovative approach to healthcare and protection benefits with the launch of a unique Post Hospital Discharge product.

Available to all employers wishing to extend their health and wellness benefits at a minimal cost per member, it bridges the gap between discharge from hospital and full recovery.

The Post Hospital Service has been designed to look after employees when they come out of hospital after a stay of 48 hours or longer. The stay can be for any reason (except pregnancy), whether planned or emergency, and includes NHS or private care and so is relevant to the whole work force, not just those in a corporate health scheme.

To create the service Punter Southall Health & Protection has teamed up with Red Arc Personal Nurse Advisers and Collinson Group to offer seamless, medical, emotional and practical support for employees when they come out of hospital.

As well as unlimited nurse adviser support, the service provides help at home by high quality, Care Quality Commission (CQC) accredited, domiciliary care providers. This practical help is tailored to each person’s needs and can include a variety of services such as personal care, domestic duties, collecting prescriptions and arranging transport to appointments.

Commenting on the new service Jan Lawson, Executive Director of Punter Southall Health & Protection said, “Being medically well enough to leave hospital is not the same as being better. Extra support after returning home is often necessary, but rarely provided. Everyone is different and this product combines practical help, emotional support and a personalised “Get well, Stay Well plan” for an unlimited period.”

Adds Lawrence Watts, Business Development Director, Insurance & Assistance, Collinson Group, ‘We are delighted to be working with Punter Southall Health & Protection as it continues to broaden the offer of innovative Health and Protection products and services to its employers and their members.  We look forward to working alongside Punter Southall Health and Protection by providing first class assistance in the form of practical help through our accredited domiciliary care network at a time when it is needed most.’

By helping to support full recovery, the service will benefit employees and their families as well as the sponsoring employer, who will be seen as a caring employer, while assisting members to return to work more quickly and having less chance of relapse or future illness.


Middle East Experience A Stepping Stone To Career Success But Expatriate Professionals Fall Short In Language And Cross Cultural Training

  • Over 70% of respondents said medical preparedness is important when preparing for expatriate assignments;

  • Only a quarter (25%) of respondents in the region said they received language training prior to their deployment, while a third (34%) said they had undergone cross-cultural training;

  • Repatriation support also a weak spot where MENA-based professionals are concerned.

International work experience is increasingly seen as essential to long-term career development, according to a global study of expatriates commissioned by Cigna Global Health Benefits® (NYSE: CI) and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), including nearly 500 expats in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

But more needs to be done to help foreign nationals adjust to the language, culture and customs of their new host country. The 2015 Global Mobility Trends Survey interviewed more than 2,700 expatriates working in 156 countries to better understand how they and their families experience overseas assignments. The majority of respondents were male (81%), middle-aged, have a family and are employed by US companies.

The overwhelming majority of MENA-based respondents (84%) said they believed an international assignment was essential for their career progression, and just over half (51%) said they were willing to accept another international posting in the future.

Globally, professionals are increasingly working abroad out of choice rather than necessity, according to the survey. The number of expats who have served five or more international assignments has also increased markedly, from 18% in 2013 to 25%.

MENA-based expats are even more mobile, with nearly a third (32%) saying they have accepted five or more overseas postings.

“As a long-standing health services partner of the expatriate community, Cigna closely monitors changing attitudes toward working overseas and the requirements of today’s globally mobile business professionals,” said Howard Gough, MENA Chief Executive Officer of Cigna Global Health Benefits and CEO for Cigna’s Global Individual Private Medical Insurance (IPMI).

“Working abroad is increasingly seen as an investment in one’s career development, and employers need to adapt to meet the expectations of quality talent accordingly. Personalized services and proactive communication at each stage of the assignment lifecycle clearly contribute to the success of overseas postings, according to our research,” he added.

When asked if the compensation and benefits offered by their employer were attractive, more than half of MENA-based expats agreed (54%) and a third (33%) strongly agreed. However, financial compensation isn’t the only incentive. The adequacy of one’s healthcare plan, financial support for schooling and leave entitlements were also rated ‘very important.’ Quality of life, housing, security and the environment were also seen as ‘very important’ factors.

Access to healthcare through insurance that pays for services directly was also seen as a top priority by MENA expats. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the region said they were satisfied with their ability to access healthcare in this way, compared with a global average of just over half (56%).

According to MENA-based respondents, employers generally perform well when helping staff move to the region. More than 70% said their employer provided medical preparedness, around 66% said they received general relocation services and 61% said there was active communication with host location management and staff.

Commenting on expatriation in the Middle East, Nagib M. Bahous, Executive Director of Damana, a multiline insurance company that has allied with Cigna to form a regional administration company, said, “Far from being the ‘hardship’ posting it once was, the Middle East, and in particular the commercial hub of the UAE, is a highly desirable location for expats seeking a new career challenge. Wins like the Expo 2020 for the UAE have further improved the country’s reputation as a growth market increasing employment and bringing talent into the market. 

However, employers were less likely to disclose information on language and cross cultural training. Only a quarter (25%) of professionals in the region who responded said they had received language training prior to their deployment, while a third (34%) said they had undergone cross-cultural training.

“This is an obvious gap for employers seeking to ease the transition for foreign nationals into the Middle East work environment where sensitivity to local customs and traditions can have a profound impact on business relationships,” added Gough. “Helping expats appreciate the region’s various cultural nuances also adds to the overall experience of working abroad.”

Repatriation support is also a relative weak spot for employers, according to the results. Only a third of those surveyed said their employer was ‘good’ at meeting the needs of staff upon their return from an assignment, while a tenth (11%) said they were ‘very good.’

Noting a dramatic shift to online communications in recent years, MENA-based respondents still feel the quality of employer communications could be improved. More than 40% said their company did a ‘good job’ communicating with its globally mobile employees, but only 18% described the dialogue as ‘very good.’ A fifth said communications needed to be more frequent and more personal.


Insurance Companies And Products As We Know Them Today Will Have To Evolve

That's according to Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway, who took an executive seat on a recent iPMI Magazine round table business forum.

Although global risks have changed dramatically, medical inflation and the cost of employee benefits continues to cause concern. In the most recent iPMI Magazine Round Table Business Forum we spoke with leading C-Level executives from the world of International Private Medical Insurance about the rising cost of healthcare and medical inflation.

An AON report report shows that in 2015, medical costs are expected to increase by 10.15 percent before plan design changes and vendor negotiations—6 percentage points higher than the average inflation rate. In 2014, the global average medical trend was 10.34 percent. While the global average medical trend is expected to decline, three regions--Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America--are projected to see an uptick in rates for 2015.

Talking to the IPMI round table group about the Aon Hewitt report Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway told us, “I think that the data is pertinent and probably correct. Healthcare is a commodity that providers will control and deliver as they want, especially in the private sector with IPMI coverage. Hospitals and physicians have the upper hand in the delivery and pricing, thus the need for integrated services. As I heard a physician administrator in a hospital say once, during some insurance pricing negotiation, “this is our price and if you do not like it, I would like to see you admit and deliver the medical care the member needs." As long as the relationship of providers and insurance is antagonistic, a solution will not be able to achieved. More and more hospitals and physicians will develop and deliver health plans via their medical facilities and I predict that the multi-hospital system will develop internationally as it has happened in the USA or as we see with Hospiten and the like.

Insurance companies and products as we know them today will have to evolve.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY added, “Competition between iPMI insurers is intensifying and will continue to do so as new entrants dip their toe into the market and dream of taking a slice of the ever expanding market. Price cutting particularly amongst the employer-sponsored plans is inevitable as the larger players jockey for position and greater market share, all of which is good for the employer in the short term at least. As the saying goes, there is always someone out there who will take the risk. But there has to come a point where underwriters have to make a return on their investment. At this point premiums have to rise and with the relationship between insurers and medical service providers becoming all the more strained as medical treatment fees increase, that day is not too far away. This makes the job of the adviser /broker all the more important."

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH said,Employers are operating in an environment where they need to provide high levels of healthcare for their employees, sometimes due to statutory requirements and other times due to the natural tendency of employers to look after the well being of their workforce. Employers are typically under pressure to keep their operating costs low and when they review their budgets during their annual business planning cycles they will aim to minimise the cost of employee benefits. Due to these cost pressures, there may be situations where employers will downgrade the insurance coverage so that they can afford a plan rather than removing the plan altogether. Globality seeks to find solutions for their clients in these situations.

The global average inflation rate is interesting for comparing one year to the next. However, when it comes to employer-sponsored plans then the specific features of those plans should be considered. This means considering the locations of the insured members, the benefit levels, the treatment providers and network access. Referring to a single global average can be misleading for many employers.”

One of the most common questions we hear within the IPMI industry is: how will the cost of international private medical insurance rise in the next 5 years?

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH told us, “Costs are expected to continue to rise at levels above general price inflation. There are continual advances in medical science with new treatments and medicines being developed all the time. It is normal that insured members will demand the best treatments and services available, particularly for expatriates. In order for insurers to offer these new treatments then there will inevitably be premium increases.

However, insurers should not use this as an excuse to increase premiums beyond what is necessary. As can be seen recently, Globality is holding 2016 rates at 2015 levels for many categories of its business."

ARJAN TOOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CIGNA GLOBAL IPMI added, “Medical inflation is driven by unit cost, i.e. the price of each service; and utilization, that is how many and what type of services are used. As the world’s health care standards continue to rise and the range of treatment facilities and breadth of treatment options available continues to increase, it is without doubt that both unit cost and utilisation will also continue to increase.

It’s our job as the insurer to understand these risks and continually evolve our proposition to protect our customers from the impacts of medical inflation as far as possible. We’re continually working on initiatives to help minimize the impact of inflationary volatilities including investments in expanding our medical network and claims teams globally, meaning we can counteract medical inflation spikes to a certain extent as we build long-term relationships with hospital groups. It’s a lot about experience as well - it’s imperative that our claims advisors know the expected cost of a hip operation in Singapore, for example, and can ask the right questions to ensure the costs are appropriate.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to say exactly how premium costs will rise over a 5 year period, but our focus will continue to be on driving forward our mission of helping the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY commented, “If I had a crystal ball, it would be easy to answer this; however, the reality is that no one really knows to what extent iPMI premiums are going to rise over the next few years. What is certain is that premiums will continue to increase due to the rising cost of medical treatment along with the ever popular demand for private medical treatment.

That said, increased competition amongst the iPMI providers has, to some degree, helped to keep premiums palatable for most policyholders (putting to one side the notion that nobody likes to see their premiums increase), with average year on year increases running between 5-10% depending upon where a person is living and working. How long this will continue is anyone’s guess, but the market is hotting up with yet more new provider entrants trying their hand.”

GRISELLE CHERNYS, CEO, WELLAWAY added, “The cost of international private medical insurance will rise dramatically and this will be driven by the development and demand for new treatments, pharmaceuticals and technology. Longevity is also playing a role in the inflation and utilization of medical services which creates more demand and demand will drive costs.”

















New Sentencing Guidelines Introduced For Corporate Manslaughter, Health And Safety And Food Safety

New sentencing guidelines have been published aiming to ensure a consistent, fair and proportionate approach to sentencing organisations or individuals convicted of corporate manslaughter, health and safety and food safety and hygiene offences.

Offences that come under the guidelines are very varied and could include a building firm that causes the death of an employee by not providing the proper equipment for working at height, a restaurant that causes an outbreak of e. coli poisoning through unsafe food preparation, a manufacturer that causes injury to a new worker by not providing training for operating machinery or a gas fitter whose sub-standard work leads to the risk of an explosion in someone’s home.

The publication of the guidelines ensures that for the first time, there will be comprehensive sentencing guidelines covering the most commonly sentenced health and safety offences and food safety offences in England and Wales. Until now, there has been limited guidance for judges and magistrates in dealing with what can be complex and serious offences that do not come before the courts as frequently as some other criminal offences.

The introduction of the guidelines means that in some cases, offenders will receive higher penalties, particularly large organisations committing serious offences – such as when an organisation is convicted of deliberately breaking the law and creating a high risk of death or serious injury. It is not anticipated that there will be higher fines across the board, or that they will be significantly higher in the majority of cases to those currently imposed.

The increase in penalties for serious offending has been introduced because in the past, some offenders did not receive fines that properly reflected the crimes they committed. The Council wants fines for these offences to be fair and proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the means of offenders.

In order to achieve this, the guidelines set out sentencing ranges that reflect the very different levels of risk of harm that can result from these offences.

Corporate manslaughter always involves at least one death, but health and safety offences can vary hugely; they may pose the risk of minor harm or lead to multiple fatalities. Food offences are also wide-ranging. They could involve poor hygiene or preparation standards in a restaurant kitchen that put customers at risk of illness or that cause fatal food poisoning.

The sentencing ranges also take into account how culpable the offender was. This could range from minor failings in procedures to deliberately dangerous acts.

While prison sentences are available for individuals convicted of very serious offences, most offences are committed by organisations and therefore fines are the only sentence that can be given.

The guidelines use the turnover of the offender to identify the starting point of the fine. Turnover is used as this is a clear indicator that can be easily assessed.

However, turnover is never the only factor taken into account. The guidelines require the court to “step back”, review and adjust the initial fine if necessary. It must take into account any additional relevant financial information, such as the profit margin of the organisation, the potential impact on employees, or potential impact on the organisation’s ability to improve conditions or make restitution to victims. This means sentences will always be tailored to the offender’s specific circumstances. Fines may move up or down or outside the ranges entirely as a result of these additional mandatory steps.

Legislation requires that any fine imposed must reflect the seriousness of the offence and take into account the financial circumstances of the offender. All factors being equal, a similar level of fine given to a large, wealthy corporation on the one hand and a sole trader with a modest turnover on the other would be unfair, just as the same speeding fine given to a premiership footballer and someone on an average income would not achieve the same level of punishment or deterrence.

The UK’s record on worker fatalities is good, but where such offences are committed, the Council believes fines should be available which reflect the seriousness of the offence. As well as causing fatalities, health and safety offences may risk or cause a wide spectrum of injury and illness, including a life-changing disability or health condition for victims.

While addressing remedial action with offenders is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive rather than the courts, the guideline does provide for remedial orders to be made by the court in addition to or instead of punishment in cases where they may be appropriate. The guideline also includes a range of mitigating factors which allow for voluntary positive action to remedy a failure on the part of offenders to be reflected in sentences.

Sentencing Council member Michael Caplan QC said, “These guidelines will introduce a consistent approach to sentencing, ensuring fair and proportionate sentences for those who cause death or injury to their employees and the public or put them at risk. These offences can have very serious consequences and it is important that sentences reflect these.”

Rod Ainsworth, Director of Regulatory and Legal Strategy at the FSA said, “We welcome these guidelines. They will ensure that there is consistency in sentencing for food safety and food hygiene offences across the country. They will also ensure that offenders are sentenced fairly and proportionately in the interests of consumers.”

Following their publication today, the guidelines will come into force in courts on 1 February 2016.


Aetna International Appoints Executive Director, Distribution For Europe

  • Marco Bannerman moves to Dubai to lead sales in the Middle East

 Aetna International has announced the new appointment of Damian Lenihan as executive director, UK distribution.

Damian, who is currently sales and marketing director for dental support business DBG (UK) Limited, will join Aetna in mid-October.  Throughout his career Damian has held a number of senior leader and board member positions, including for Bupa UK and Bupa Care Homes.  In his new role, he will be responsible for leading and developing Aetna’s European sales and account management team.

Damian will take over from Marco Bannerman who has accepted a two year assignment in Dubai.  From mid-November Bannerman will become executive director, distribution MEA region, with responsibility for all sales across the region.

David Healy, Aetna’s general manager for Europe says, “We are delighted to have someone of Damian’s background joining the business.  He has the right mix of market exposure and strategic development experience to make a real impact on our future direction. Marco is as an accomplished and proven sales leader and we are delighted that he is developing his career and business management skills further within our MEA Region.  These senior appointments strengthen our presence in important strategic markets.”


Now Health International Launches New Mobile App

Now Health International has announced details of their new mobile app for customers.  Available today for both iPhone initially and Android to follow, the app has many useful functions including the ability to find a medical provider within the Now Health cashless network and submit a reimbursement claim in just a few simple touches.

The app will allow customers to search for their nearest medical provider from the network list using either their exact location or by typing a location or name of medical facility.  It can be used for in-patient and out-patient treatment and will provide a list of the top 100 providers that are closest to the location of the customer.  A few more taps on the screen will also enable the customer to see the provider location on a map, make a call to book an appointment and add it into their calendars!

If a customer doesn’t have access to the cashless network, they can use the new app to submit a reimbursement claim.  To make it familiar, it is in the same format as the current claim form.  Plus, once the customer has made a claim, and wishes to submit another, any previous information will have been saved to make the claiming process even quicker and simpler.

Now Health’s Marketing and Ecommerce Director, Alison Massey says, “We are really excited to offer this new mobile app as part of our proposition.  Customers want fast access to our cashless network of medical providers and when they’ve paid for treatment, to claim back their expenses.  We already process our customer’s claims in five working days or less and the addition of the app will make submitting claims much less time-consuming.  We will continue to update and add to the app over time, which will include offering the functions in Simplified Chinese in the near future.”

To download the iPhone app, click here.

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