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Squaremouth Launches Travel Insurance Products from APRIL Travel Protection

Squaremouth, America's fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, is proud to introduce APRIL Travel Protection as its newest travel insurance provider.

APRIL Travel Protection adds five new travel insurance policies to Squaremouth's growing product list, increasing the total number of available policies to 114. APRIL's policies are designed to enhance a 21st century travel experience with a range of insurance and assistance services, including Stress Less benefits and one touch support from anywhere in the world. APRIL offers concierge and assistance services that help travelers locate doctors and medical facilities, translate paperwork, re-book tickets and even schedule dinner reservations. In most cases, medical and travel-related emergencies can be immediately paid for by APRIL because of its Stress Less benefits approach. This means policyholders can avoid the inconvenience of filing claims and paying bills when they return home. Travelers can access their APRIL insurance and assistance services via Skype, live chat, text, email or phone while away from home.

APRIL's U.S. based call center specialists are equipped to communicate with a global network of contacts in over 100 countries.

"We believe that to successfully provide travelers with superior experience, we need to offer comprehensive and hassle-free travel insurance and assistance that doesn't stop with insuring the things we don't want to happen," says Philip Namiech, CEO of APRIL Travel Protection.


Aetna Names Tim Cocchi As Country Manager For Hong Kong Operations

Aetna (NYSE: AET), a leading global diversified health care solutions company, has named Tim Cocchi, 52, as country manager for its business operations in Hong Kong.

The appointment is effective immediately. In this new position, Cocchi will be responsible for sales and account management for Aetna’s growing business in Hong Kong and Macau and general management guidance for the company’s Hong Kong office.

“We’re pleased that Tim will be leading our dynamic team in Hong Kong, which is an important growth area for Aetna,” said Larry Hartshorn, Aetna International’s interim general manager, Greater China. “With his deep industry knowledge and years of experience in countries around the world, Tim will help us further expand our role as a major provider of individual and group health care benefits plans for expatriates and local nationals.”

Cocchi brings to Aetna more than 30 years’ experience in the employee benefits and insurance industries, both in the United States and internationally. He began his overseas career in Dubai as AIG’s regional head for group medical and managed care business in the Middle East. He later held similar regional roles stationed in Paris, Tokyo and Athens, where he continued to lead profitable growth in AIG’s Accident & Health lines of business. Most recently, Cocchi worked for AIA in a regional role based in Hong Kong. Cocchi received an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in business administration from Western New England College.

Aetna has maintained offices in Hong Kong since 2007 and employs 48 people there. Through a strategic alliance announced earlier this year, Aetna’s medical insurance policies in Hong Kong are underwritten by Starr International, a leading insurance firm licensed by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority.


Holidaymakers Reveal Their Car Hire Concerns

Vehicle hire and travel insurance specialist Questor Insurance highlights research which reveals travellers’ most common car hire concerns, and their motivations for hiring a car on their annual holidays.

With recent figures revealing that soaring temperatures in the UK have meant that a fifth of holidaymakers will be heading to foreign shores this month for the first time this year* autumn could prove to be a busy season for Brits hiring a car abroad. A survey of 5,300 people** offered insight into holidaymakers’ key concerns when hiring a car for their overseas trip, with almost two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed arguing that they were worried about extra charges, while just over half (51%) believed that they would be charged for extra services or products by rental companies.

Some of these concerns are founded as a Mail Online investigation conducted earlier in the year revealed that drivers hiring a car on holiday could be hit with more than £500 in car hire extras***. This included charges attached to anything from hiring a sat nav and putting a child car seat in place to paying for extra insurance.

Commenting Questor Insurance CEO Andrew Lawrence, said: “Heading away on holiday can already present a large expense for both individuals and families, from the cost of hiring a villa to the cost of keeping the little ones entertained while you’re away. “If you are planning to hire a car as part of your trip, taking out car hire excess insurance in advance, means that you can feel safe in the knowledge that the excess charges in your insurance are met to a pre-specified limit. “In addition, you may stand to make savings on the cost of your excess insurance, as buying from a third party provider in advance rather than from the car hire company when picking up the rental vehicle is generally considered to be cheaper.”

The research also revealed that despite some concerns, travellers also felt that there were numerous advantages to hiring a car on holiday, with 73% arguing that it gave them more freedom on holiday.


Travel Advice Israel And The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar along the border with Lebanon (the ‘Blue Line’). The FCO advise against all travel to Gaza.

There remains a risk of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and Israeli air strikes on Gaza. You should take extra care in areas of Israel close to the border with Gaza. Don’t attempt to enter Gaza by sea, breaching the restrictions imposed by the Israeli navy.

The FCO advise against participating in flotillas or overland convoys to Gaza because of the risks involved.

The Rafah border with Egypt regularly closes with no warning and for long periods of time. At these times it may be impossible to enter or leave Gaza.

The ability of the FCO to provide consular assistance in Gaza is extremely limited.

If you’re in Gaza you should register with the British Information and Services Office (BISO) on arrival, review your security arrangements regularly and make sure you know what to do if you hear a warning siren.

Be extra vigilant and take great care when travelling anywhere in the West Bank, particularly in areas close to refugee camps, in and around Israeli settlements across the West Bank and in the cities of Jenin, Nablus and Hebron.

Demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest can occur at short notice and often turn violent.

Regional developments can have an impact on the local security situation. Monitor local media and avoid all protests. Stay alert in and around the Old City in Jerusalem, especially after Friday prayers and on religious holidays.

Isolated protests and demonstrations can occur both in the Old city and in East Jerusalem. Leave the area immediately if there is evidence of tension or unrest. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations.

On 22 August, 4 rockets were fired towards northern Israel from southern Lebanon. There were no reported injuries.

On 13 August a rocket was intercepted by an Iron Dome anti- missile battery over the southern city of Eilat. No injuries were reported.

Visa and other entry requirements are complex. Make sure you are aware of Israeli immigration policies before you travel.

There is a high threat from terrorism.


Japan Travel Advice and Warnings: Typhoon Wipha Forecast To Bring Hazardous Sea And Weather Conditions To Parts Of Japan From 15 October

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. 140,099 British nationals visited Japan in 2011. Most visits are trouble free.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the exclusion zones around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility identified by the Japanese authorities. Reports on 19 August and 1 September 2013, detail a new leak of around 300 tons of radioactive water at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, which caused Japanese regulators to issue an INES Level 3 rating.

The typhoon season runs from June to December with most activity between July and September. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms. Typhoon Wipha is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of Japan from 15 October. There may be some disruption to transport and other infrastructure in the parts of north-eastern Honshu most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Check with the local authorities or your travel company before you go.

In recent months, the North Korean government has raised tensions through a series of strong public rhetorical statements. The FCO assess that there is no immediate increased risk or danger to those living in or travelling to Japan. However, you should continue to follow this travel advice, where further information will be posted should the situation change.

You should also follow guidance issued by the local authorities.

There is a continuous risk of earthquakes and tsunamis throughout Japan. Latest warnings and advisories are published on the Japan Meteorological Agency website.

There is a low threat from terrorism.


MAPFRE ASSISTANCE Publishes Travel Insurance Observatory

MAPFRE ASSISTANCE publishes Travel Insurance Observatory (TIO), a study based on the health implications of tourists with data obtained from their travel insurance policies sold in the UK.

The report notes that the most common diagnosis related to the fate of the trip during the period of follow-up, refers to gastrointestinal infections (in 51% of cases). The study was presented at the XX General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held last August in Zambia - Zimbabwe. MAPFRE, through its Unit MAPFRE ASSISTANCE, participated in the event, as an affiliate member of this organization.

For the preparation of MAPFRE ASSISTANCE study, in collaboration with its subsidiary InsureandGo UK, analyzed the claims occurred in countries of destination for both tourists and business travelers, taking into account the frequency with which health problems occur, the most common medical diagnoses in these cases and the specific situation of each country.

It takes into account health-related aspects of tourists before the trip (health risks cancellations) during the course of it (where traveler gives direct assistance through call centers and health care providers associated with MAPFRE CARE also benefit from coverage linked to your mobile devices or gadgets in the event of accidental damage), or after the trip (reimbursements for medical expenses incurred by the insured). The report also highlights that North Africa represent 21 percent of medical claims, even when the overnight stays of British residents according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) reach only 3 percent.

This analysis is carried out both by region and focus on the 20 countries (out of 130 analyzed) in which there has been a greater number of medical cases related to these destinations. Participation in the XX General Assembly of UNWTO Affiliate membership of this organization, MAPFRE ASSISTANCE about institutions and tourism authorities and helps position the company as a leader in the global tourism industry.

In addition, the continuity of the study allow MAPFRE ASSISTANCE TIO be the spokesperson on travel insurance at the WTO and in front of all media and audiences that follow the information issued by the agency of the United Nations. In the XX General Assembly of UNWTO tourism authorities attended more than 190 countries, among whom were Ministers, Secretaries General, and all the official structure of the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations, and other affiliated companies.

As stated by the Deputy Director General of MAPFRE ASSISTANCE, Gregory R. Santos: "MAPFRE have a specific purpose in regard to our participation in the WTO, and is contributing to the positive experience of tourists in their fate."


Allianz Worldwide Care launches AppointMed

International health insurer Allianz Worldwide Care has announced details of AppointMed, a new appointment booking service that offers UK based members a simple and efficient way of securing an initial appointment with a consultant on a direct billing basis.

This convenient ‘one telephone call’ based service, which does not require a GP referral, has been launched in association with the UK’s largest private hospital group, BMI Healthcare, giving members access to over 6,500 consultants across the UK. To make an appointment, a member simply contacts Allianz Worldwide Care’s Helpline and requests the AppointMed service. A member of the Helpline then transfers the member to BMI Healthcare who ascertains the type of consultant specialty required and provides the member with a list of consultants to choose from.

The member can then arrange the appointment through BMI Healthcare at a date, time, and location convenient for them, and costs are billed directly to Allianz Worldwide Care. The AppointMed appointment booking service is available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays.

Commenting on the new service, Susan Landers, Head of Marketing and Client Management at Allianz Worldwide Care said: “We are continually looking for ways to make life easier for our members. AppointMed achieves this by providing fast and easy access to BMI Healthcare’s extensive network of consultants on a direct settlement basis”.

Scott Feldman, International Director at BMI Healthcare added “We are delighted to be working with Allianz Worldwide Care in launching this convenient and rapid access service for international patients. As the largest private hospital group in the UK, we can offer appointments with over 6,500 consultants across 69 hospitals and treatment centres, in just one call and often at short notice. This service further underlines our commitment to service excellence by seamlessly connecting those seeking world class care with the right specialists, anywhere in the UK.”

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Travel Advice Mongolia

Over 7,120 British nationals visited Mongolia in the period January to June 2012. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Mongolia takes border security very seriously and foreign nationals are not routinely permitted access to border areas. The authorities can regard zones of up to 100km inside the border as a border area.

If you wish to travel in these areas, you must get permission from the State Frontier Guard Authority. Only a few specified land border crossings are open to foreigners.

Due to recent outbreaks of various livestock diseases the following ‘soums’ (villages) in the west of Mongolia have been quarantined: Sagsai, Ulaanhus and Tsengel (Bayan-Ulgii); Tsengel (Arkhangai); Bayanlig (Bayankhonogor); and Ulgii (Uvs).

Travel to and from these villages has been stopped. The Russia and China border crossings remain open. If you plan to travel in or around these areas, check local advice before leaving.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

Avoid going out on foot alone at night.

Foreigners stand out and can be targeted for attack because of their comparative wealth.

Mongolia Medical, Travel, Health Insurance for Expatriates, Business Travel and Leisure Travelers/Tourists

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Mongolia.

Top tips for Travel to Mongolia

Seeking medical, health, travel or expatriate insurance for travel or relocation to Mongolia?

You can find a wide range of medical, travel, expatriate and health insurance companies that may be able to provide insurance plans and cover, for group and individual healthcare, when travelling to Mongolia, in the iPMI Magazine Mongolia Travel, Medical, Expatriate and Health Insurance company guide, click here.


MSO is a new IAG Assistance Partner in South Africa

Since January 2012, International Assistance Group has set the course for a new strategy: forge partnerships with quality providers. Meant to help its 49 partners grow organically, offering true quality and health-focused outcomes, IAG constantly develops, recruits and trains a comprehensive global network of quality assistance experts and accredited provider partners.

Today, International Assistance Group is happy to inform you that a 14th Partnership has been signed since January. MSO (Medical Services Organisation) has been approved as a new IAG Assistance Partner after a strict selection process. MSO, located in South Africa, is operational for medical cases in Republic of South Africa as well as in sub-Saharan countries.

Glenn Staples, Business Dev Director is happy to present MSO: "MSO International provides healthcare risk management services to the African and South African market with over 1 million contracted lives from private healthcare and insurance companies. MSO's strategy of providing a comprehensive managed care solution across Africa provides healthcare funders with significant and unique advantages that improve their competitive position. Since 2008, MSO has expanded its operations to include a dedicated international division with over 50 staff to manage claims, cases and admissions for international clients with members in Africa. With its head office based in Johannesburg, South Africa and access to more than 6,000 contracted providers across the African continent, MSO International provides the optimal healthcare solution for Africa".


A New Successful Partnership Signed With D&G Cars, Which Becomes An Assistance Partner In The UK.

In January 2012 International Assistance Group launched a new Partnership Program dedicated to major assistance companies as well as medical or roadside service providers. To develop this comprehensive global network, International Assistance Group recruits and trains quality assistance experts and accredited provider partners.

With a footprint reaching 180 countries, International Assistance Group provides a wide range of medical, travel, roadside and technical assistance services, via a unique global alliance of Core Partners and Assistance Partners and Preferred Providers. The primary objective of this network is to help its Partners grow organically, offering true quality and health-focused outcomes. International Assistance Group is happy to announce a new successful partnership signed with D&G Cars, which becomes an Assistance Partner in the UK. This specialized company supplies Roadside assistance services in UK and Southern Ireland.

Since 2011 D&G Cars had been cooperating with the International Assistance Group as Correspondent in the UK, and decided in 2012 to join formally the International Assistance Group partnership program.

Mike Kenny, Business Development Manager, presents his company: "D&G Cars was established over 25 years ago by our Managing Director, Dennis Harding. During this period it has evolved into what it is today, one of the leading vehicle recovery operators within Great Britain and Europe. Our core business is vehicle recovery, movement and storage. From our Recovery Control Centre based at Upminster, Essex, we provide assistance 24 hours per day. We have fully trained call centre staff on site and operate a fleet of vehicles to service our contractual agreements with major motoring organizations, police forces and government bodies. Our control centre also handles calls for nationwide assistance for a number of major companies such as Hoyer Group, Scania and MAN. Once the call is logged we then organize assistance either ourselves or through our network of contractors. Some breakdowns and recoveries, such as petrol tankers, require very specialist expertise. To this extent a number of our drivers are ADR certified. ADR is The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). We are also proud to have our own, fully Petroleum regulated bay, which is one of only a few in the UK. Aircraft ground movements are taken care of through our subsidiary company D&G Aviation, this again requires careful planning and expertise. For a vast number of years we have provided Motorsport Recovery to our local, world famous racing circuit Brands Hatch. We provide vehicles and staff throughout the racing season come rain or shine. In more recent years our reputation has spread and we now also provide assistance further a field at Silverstone and we have even worked as far Abu Dhabi."

Employing a multilingual team, D&G Cars is the core recovery and assistance contractor for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. There is staff based on the main Olympic site 24/7 plus they have vehicles and staff sited all over London.

About International Assistance Group 

International Assistance Group is a limited incorporated company in Paris (France) regulated under the French law and owned by its Partners. This worldwide commercial alliance of independent companies spanning all the links in the assistance value chain was formed in 1992 by five European companies with the aim of helping each other offer quality assistance to cases.

The group's success has attracted accredited companies from every continent and it now boasts 50 partners and a turnover of over €678 million. More than 6,800 employees take care of 77 million end users. Last year, International Assistance Group® handled over 3.9 million cases and 30,000 repatriations, through 54 continuously attended medical call centres.

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