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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.”

TO READ THE COMPLETE ROUND TABLE, THE RISING COST OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UMI Reports That Health Insurance Premium Inflation Shrank In 2014

UMI, one of the UAE's premier medical insurance advisors, has found that the inflation of international private medical insurance premiums fell for the second year in a row in 2014.

An inflation rate of 7.0% in 2014 (a decrease of .3% from rates in 2013) indicates a potential new downward trend in a region that has historically seen high medical cost inflation. UMI believes that there are two main reasons for this downward trend. The first being a comparatively slow recovery from the Global Financial Crisis. While countries in Asia and Europe have bounced back relatively quickly, the UAE seems to have been more negatively affected, with recovery efforts catching up only in the past couple of years, as indicated by general downward trends in the region.

The second reason for this trend is increased competition in the international private medical insurance market in Dubai and the whole UAE. With an ever increasing number of providers launching products in the region aimed at expats, the market has become more competitive with providers keeping inflation as low as possible.

UMI has identified one company in particular which has been largely successful in managing premium inflation - Allianz Worldwide Care (AWC). With an inflation rate of 4.8% in 2014, a full 2.2% lower than Dubai's average inflation rate, the provider has achieved year-on-year decreases three years in a row.

In fact, the five year average for Allianz is 5.9%, which when compared to the same average for Dubai (8.3%) indicates a much lower average inflation rate. This has allowed the company to offer extremely competitive rates to expats in the UAE. UMI believes that it will be crucial for companies operating in the UAE to track premium inflation rates in the coming years, especially with the changing political landscape.

For example, Dubai has mandated that all companies operating in the UAE provide health insurance for their employees by 2016. This will make companies with lower premium inflation much more relevant.

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Air Cargo Ends 2014 On A Positive Note

Full-year air cargo data for 2014 shows 4.5% demand growth compared to 2013 measured by freight tonne kilometers (FTKs). That is a significant acceleration from the 1.4% recorded in 2013 over 2012. Air cargo market expansion gathered momentum as 2014 progressed. The year finished on a positive note, with growth in December accelerating to 4.9%, compared to December 2013. The vast majority of the growth in 2014, however, was in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, which respectively contributed 46% and 29% of the expansion in FTKs. Growth was recorded in all other regions, but was particularly weak in Latin America.

“After several years of stagnation, the air cargo business is growing again. This is largely being driven by the uptick in world trade over the second half of 2014. Recent concerns over the health of the global economy and a corresponding fall in business confidence have not yet impacted air cargo. But it is a downside risk that will need to be watched carefully as we move through 2015,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Performance varied widely by region with the most significant growth being recorded by airlines in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. All regions, with the exception of Latin America, reported a strengthening of demand in December.

Asia-Pacific carriers grew 5.9% in December compared to December 2013, and 5.4% for 2014 as a whole. Volumes have benefitted from increasing import demand in addition to continuing manufacturing strength.

Japanese and Chinese markets were particularly important contributors. Overall in 2014, capacity expanded 5.7% leading to a slight fall in load factor to 55.4%, although this remains the strongest load factor of any region.

North American airlines reported demand growth of 2.8% in December and 2.4% for 2014 as a whole. After a slow, weather-affected start to the year, growth accelerated, driven by import and export demand. Carriers in the region cut back capacity in 2014 by 0.5%, helping to underpin the load factor (35.3%).

European airlines saw FTKs expand 2.3% in December, and by 2.0% in 2014 overall. The Eurozone remains weak and close to recession, with the effects of Russian sanctions also having an impact. Load factors also fell in 2014 as capacity expanded 3.0%.

Middle Eastern carriers enjoyed the strongest growth of any region, expanding 11.3% in December and 11.0% for the year as a whole. Airlines in the region have extended their networks and grown capacity by 11.1% to make the Middle East a hub for freight traffic. In fact they have been responsible for over 37% of the total increase in global freight capacity in 2014.

Latin American airlines reported FTKs falling 4.5% in December. This was the only region to report a decline. The picture for 2014 as a whole was growth of 0.1%.

Latin American volumes have been affected by economic slowdown across the region, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. Capacity grew by 0.3% in 2014. African carriers expanded FTKs by 12.2% in December and 6.7% for the year as a whole. Although major economies Nigeria and South Africa underperformed during parts of 2014, regional trade activity held-up, supporting demand for air transport of goods. Capacity rose just 0.9% for the year as a whole, helping to strengthen the load factor.

Cargo innovation in Shanghai

“Despite the improving growth trend, big challenges remain. Yields declined for the third straight year in 2014, with no immediate prospect of improvement. Cargo revenues remained basically unchanged at $62 billion, some $5 billion below their 2011 peak. To move forward, the industry is focusing on providing a stronger value proposition to meet evolving customer needs. That’s what is driving efforts such as cutting shipping times, ensuring high-quality handling of temperature-sensitive goods, or benchmarking quality to improve customer transparency. It’s all about delivering value as a supply chain with a strong vision of the future,” said Tyler.

This focus on value is delivering change. For example, in 2014 electronic air waybill penetration reached 22% and airlines are targeting 45% penetration by the end of 2015. An initiative to encourage further industry innovations will take center stage at the World Cargo Symposium in Shanghai on March 10-12 with the launch of the Air Cargo Innovation Awards.

“If you have a stake in air cargo, the World Cargo Symposium is the place to be in March as we lay the foundations to energize the sector, recapture market share and grow revenues,” said Tyler.

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Natural Catastrophe Insurance Losses Hit Five-Year Low In 2014

Impact Forecasting has launched its Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during 2014.

The report reveals that 258 separate global natural disasters occurred in 2014, compared to a ten-year average of 260 events, causing a combined total insured loss of USD39 billion – 38 percent below the ten-year average of USD63 billion, and the lowest annual insured loss total since 2009. The two costliest insured loss events of the year were both a result of severe thunderstorms, in June (Europe: USD3.0 billion) and in May (United States: USD2.9 billion). Meanwhile, global economic losses from natural catastrophes in 2014 stood at USD132 billion – 37 percent below the ten-year average of USD211 billion. The September flood event in northern India and Pakistan resulted in the largest economic loss of the year, causing an estimated USD18 billion in damage and representing the fifth consecutive year that Pakistan has registered a billion-dollar flood event.

Stephen Mildenhall, Chief Executive Officer of Aon Analytics, said: "Global insured property catastrophes accounted for 8.6 percent of global property premium in 2014, compared to a ten-year average of 13.9 percent. The secular increase in catastrophe losses since 1980, which is broadly in-line with global GDP, continues to be an engine of growth for the insurance industry. With its abundant capital and sophisticated risk management tools, the industry is better positioned than ever to deliver on its core mission of providing critical risk transfer products that enable growth and development all around the world."

The top three perils – flood, tropical cyclone, and severe weather – accounted for a 72 percent of all economic losses during the 12 months under review, while the deadliest event of 2014 was a multi-month stretch of flash flooding and landslides that killed an estimated 2,600 people in Afghanistan.

Steve Bowen, Associate Director and Meteorologist at Impact Forecasting, said: "Despite 27 individual billion-dollar natural disasters in 2014, overall economic losses were below average for a second consecutive year. The most significant losses were found in Asia, where the region sustained 57 percent of the overall economic loss and each of the top five costliest events. However, the United States incurred 53 percent of the global insured loss total and accounted for six of the top ten costliest insured losses of the year. The severe thunderstorm peril was the most expensive for public and private insurers as hail and damaging straight-line wind events caused multi-billion-dollar losses in the U.S. and Europe. Historically the costliest peril, tropical cyclone losses were again below normal globally on an economic and insured loss basis following another year without a major landfalling U.S. hurricane."

Despite 75 percent of 2014 natural disaster losses occurring outside of the United States, the territory accounted for 53 percent of global insured losses, driven by its relatively high insurance penetration. The top ten insured loss events of 2014 comprised five severe weather outbreaks (four in the U.S.), two winter weather events (Japan and the U.S.), Hurricane Odile (Mexico), flooding (United Kingdom), and drought (U.S.).

No global territories sustained aggregate insured losses above their ten-year averages during the year. The Americas (non-U.S.) and Asia Pacific (APAC) were closest to their insured averages; while the United States, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) were well below normal.

Notable events over the 12 months included major flooding in India, Pakistan, China, and Southeast Europe; billion-dollar convective thunderstorm events in the United States, France, and Germany; winter storms in Japan and the United States; and widespread drought in the United States and Brazil. A total of 13 tropical cyclones (Category 1+) made landfall globally in 2014 – slightly below the 1980-2013 average of 16.

Ten of the landfalls occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, including six in Asia. As at December 31, 2014, the U.S. had not witnessed a major hurricane landfall for a record nine consecutive years. Meanwhile, 2014 was the warmest year since global land and ocean temperature records began in 1880.

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Planning a Move Abroad to Work in 2015? Don't Forget Your Healthcare, Advises MediCare International

It's that time of the year when planning for the New Year may well include planning a move abroad for those who are lucky enough to be able to build a career outside of the UK. According to MigrationWatch, in…

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Globality Health Partners With UAE’s Leading Health Insurer Daman

By partnering with the National Health Insurance Company - Daman, Globality Health is extending its full international health insurance offering, including 24/7 emergency medical assistance and medical evacuation and repatriation services, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The partnership with Daman allows Globality Health`s clients to gain access to the largest medical provider network in the U.A.E.

A range of tailor-made corporate products have been designed to meet the local regulatory requirements including those of HAAD (Health Authority of Abu Dhabi) and DHA (Dubai Health Authority). These products are a part of the global CoGenio product family and provide employers with the peace of mind in knowing that their employees are supported by two major experts in health insurance, both in MENA and globally.

OMINT: The 1st Pre-paid Health Insurance Company With Certified Quality

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AGIS Turkey Restructures: Eurocross Turkey Is Born

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As of May 1st 2014 AGIS Turkey becomes Eurocross Turkey, the new go-to brand name in Turkish assistance, for international insurance and assistance companies.

Capitalising on over 12 years of industry experience, Eurocross Turkey delivers a truly European approach to healthcare: free from hidden costs, commissions and kick-backs. Providing TPA and assistance services around the clock, 365 days a year.

Allianz Worldwide Care Launches Maritime Labour Convention Compliant Healthcare Plan For Seafarers 

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While created by the International Labour Organisation in 2001, to be enforced, the MLC had to be ratified by at least 30 member states. This was achieved on August 20th 2012, with the Convention officially coming into force exactly one year later. Currently, 56 countries have ratified the convention, which does not apply to fishing vessels, war ships or traditional build ships.

ALC Health Reports A 38% Growth In Global Medical Insurance

International private medical insurance provider ALC Health (à la carte healthcare) today reported a 38% growth on gross written premiums for 2013 over the previous 12 month period.

Andrew Apps, Director at ALC Health comments, "Over the past four years we have seen steady growth across our business and with 2013 once again proving to be another record year for the company. Our customer focused boutique approach and competitive pricing structure has enabled our members to choose the cover they want at an affordable price whilst enjoying the very highest level of personal service and support that has become the hallmark of ALC Health’s success. The past year also saw the successful launch of two new core plans - Prima Platinum and Prima Concept – adding further to our existing suite of global medical insurance plans created for the expatriate and global citizen. 2013 was another exciting year for ALC Health and we are looking forward to pushing forward the boundaries even further in 2014."

Cigna Individual Health Plans Go Multilingual

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This coincides with the combining of forces between Cigna Global Health Options and Cigna expatplus, bringing the strength of a single individual proposition for expatriate healthcare to the broker market.

BUPA And Blue Cross Blue Shield To Create Largest Healthcare Provider Network In The World

Bupa, has today announced a strategic global partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield system (BCBS), to create the largest global healthcare provider network, including 11,500 hospitals and 750,000 medical professionals in 190 countries. BCBS is the largest US-based health insurance group, comprising a federation of 37 Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, which combine to form the largest provider network in the US (over 96 per cent of US hospitals).

The partnership will combine BCBS’s US network, their existing international network (accessed through their International Private Medical Insurance product, GeoBlue), and Bupa’s non-US international hospital network. Bupa and BCBS will also develop new international health insurance products, which will be available to customers and employers worldwide for coverage in 2015.

Today’s announcement follows Bupa’s purchase of a 49 per cent stake in Highway to Health, Inc (HTH) in December 2013. A HTH subsidiary sells and administers GeoBlue, the BCBS international health insurance product. A group of BCBS companies own the remaining 51 per cent of HTH.

New Medical Insurance Plan Provides More Kenyans With Affordable Health Insurance

British American Investments (BRITAM), Changamka Micro Insurance and Safaricom Limited has announced a new micro insurance health insurance plan for low income earners in Kenya. Allowing more Kenyans to access medical insurance, the plan, dubbed Linda Jamii will offer in and out patient, dental, optical, maternity and a hospitalisation income replacement benefit.

Cigna TTK Health Insurance Launches ProHealth

Cigna TTK Health Insurance today announced the launch of a health insurance product “ProHealth” with an add-on Critical Illness option.

Announcing the launch, Mr. Sandeep Patel, CEO and Managing Director, CignaTTK Health Insurance Company Limited said “We strongly believe that different consumers have different requirements, hence we have developed ProHealth to be flexible to consumer’s unique needs. The product has four variants and multiple customization options to cater to all consumer segments. Also at Cigna TTK our focus is on Health & Wellness, hence we have introduced unique benefits such as healthy rewards and health maintenance benefits to encourage consumers to stay healthy. In addition our Healthy life service solution ProLife, provides consumers with online programs to live a healthier lifestyle.”

 

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International Tourism 2014 Set To Hit New Record High: 1.1 Billion International Tourists

International tourism is set to hit a new record by the end of 2014 with over 1.1 billion international tourists travelling the world in one single year. During the first ten months of 2014, the number of international tourists grew by 5%, rising above expectations.

Between January and October 2014, the volume of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 978 million, 45 million more than in the same period of 2013. With an increase of 4.7%, international tourism continues to grow well above the long-term trend projected by UNWTO for the period 2010-2020 (+3.8%), and is set to end the year at over 1.1 billion. By region, the strongest growth was registered in the Americas (+8%), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+5%) and Europe (+4%). By subregion, North America (+9%) and South Asia (+8%) were the star performers, as well as Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North-East Asia and Northern Europe (all +7%).

“In view of this trend, international tourism is set to end 2014 with record numbers”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “These are remarkable results considering that different parts of the world continue to face significant geopolitical and health challenges, while the global economic recovery remains rather fragile and uneven”, he added. “More importantly, we see a growing political commitment to the tourism sector in many countries. This is encouraging, not in the least because tourism is one of the sectors that is best able to deliver on employment at a moment when job creation need to be a priority to all”, he added.

The Americas: the best results of the last decade

The Americas (+8%) led growth during the first ten months of 2014, rebounding significantly on last year's subdued results. This is the region’s best performance since 2004, when international tourism also rebounded strongly, following the 2003 SARS outbreak. All subregions – North America, the Caribbean, Central America and South America –doubled the growth rates of 2013, with particularly positive results in North America in view of the extraordinary performance of Mexico and the United States.

International arrivals in Asia and the Pacific increased by 5% (through October), consolidating the region’s growth trend of recent years. The best results came from South Asia (+8%), led by India (+7%), and from North-East Asia (+7%) where major destinations such as Japan and the Republic of Korea registered double-digit growth.

Arrivals in Oceania grew by 6% owing mostly to the increase of arrivals in Australia and New Zealand. In South-East Asia (+2%), growth slowed down compared to 2012 and 2013 as a result of the decline in arrivals registered in Thailand.

Europe, the most visited region in the world, posted a 4% increase in international tourist arrivals through October, with strong results in Northern Europe and in Southern Mediterranean Europe (both +7%), where established destinations such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Malta recorded robust growth.

International tourism grew at a more modest pace in Western Europe (+2%) and was stagnant in Central and Eastern Europe (0%), in stark contrast with the last three years, during which arrivals grew at an average of 8% a year.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East are estimated to be up by 4% (in the first ten months of 2014), rebounding on the declines registered since 2011. All destinations in the region with data available report positive growth, with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia all substantially improving their performance as compared to 2013.

Africa’s international tourist numbers grew by 3% (through October) with North Africa consolidating its recovery (+2%). Subsaharan Africa’s arrivals were up by 3% despite the challenges of the Ebola Disease Outbreak in a few West African countries.

Data for Africa and the Middle East, nonetheless, should be read with caution as it is based on limited and volatile data for these regions.

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Statement From The Travel And Transport Task Force On Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak In West Africa

Leading international organizations and associations from the transport, trade and tourism sector stand firmly with the World Health Organization (WHO) against general bans on travel and trade, as well as restrictions that include general quarantine of travellers from Ebola-affected countries.

WHO does not recommend general bans on travel or trade

The Travel and Transport Task Force, established in August 2014, calls for international cooperation of governments and the transport sector in following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola, convened by WHO. WHO does not recommend general bans on travel or trade, or general quarantine of travellers arriving from Ebola-affected countries, as measures to contain the outbreak. Such measures can create a false impression of control and may have a detrimental impact on the number of health care workers volunteering to assist Ebola control or prevention efforts in the affected countries. Such measures may also adversely reduce essential trade, including supplies of food, fuel and medical equipment to the affected countries, contributing to their humanitarian and economic hardship.

Exit screening for Ebola

Current exit screening of all persons departing affected countries through international airports, seaports and major land crossings is recommended by WHO and can reduce the numbers of people with symptoms from travelling from the countries with high levels of Ebola transmission. While screening upon entry into non-affected countries may provide an opportunity to further increase public awareness about Ebola, such screening also can require significant resources including staff, facilities and systems to care for ill travellers who might be suspected of having Ebola.

Preparedness for non-affected countries

The best protective measures for non-affected countries are adequate levels of preparedness, including heightened surveillance to detect and diagnose cases early and well prepared staff and operational planning to ensure that suspect cases of Ebola are managed safely and in ways to minimize further spread. Communication campaigns should be conducted to inform travellers, airlines, shipping crews, staff working at points of entry, and health workers everywhere about the symptoms of Ebola virus disease and what to do if a person has symptoms. Data on the efficiency of exit screening should be made available.

Advice to travellers

People who have travelled to 1 of the 3 West African countries currently affected by Ebola virus disease (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) should take the following precautions for 21 days after returning:

  • stay within reach of a good quality health care facility
  • be aware of the symptoms of infection (sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, and sometimes bleeding)
  • immediately report a fever of 38° C or higher to their local medical emergency service (ideally by phone) and mention their travel history.

Note

Early treatment improves the chance of recovery. To catch Ebola requires direct contact with the body fluid of an Ebola-infected person. Asymptomatic individuals are not infectious, even if they are incubating the disease.

Attending international meetings

The IHR Emergency Committee agreed that there should not be a general ban on participation of people from countries with transmission of Ebola from attending international meetings and events. The decision of participation must be made on a case by case basis by the host country. This country may request additional health monitoring of participants.

The Travel and Transport Task Force, which includes WHO, is working together to:

  • develop guidance on exit screening recommendations for affected countries
  • provide a set of considerations and steps for planning entry screening at point of entry for countries that wish to introduce this as part of their preparedness plan
  • inform the aviation and maritime sectors on procedures for caring safely for travellers who are suspected to be infected with Ebola on board an aircraft or ship, or at arrival points
  • provide information on Ebola to travellers arriving at or leaving airports, ports or other transit points
  • develop protocols for the passenger shipping sector
  • collect data and work with authorities to reduce restrictions to port arrivals and ship and aeroplane movements.

The Task Force is concerned about reports of denial of medical care for ill seafarers on board ships that had previously called at ports in the Ebola-affected region.

About the Travel and Transport Task Force

Members of the Travel and Transport Task Force include the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Airports Council International (ACI), International Air Transport Association (IATA), World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The Task Force was set up in August 2014 to support the global efforts to contain the spread of Ebola virus disease and provide a coordinated international response for the travel, trade and tourism sector.

About Ebola virus disease

The risk of transmission of Ebola virus disease during travel is low. Unlike infections such as influenza or tuberculosis, Ebola is not spread by breathing air (and the airborne particles it contains) from an infected person. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, all unlikely exposures for the average traveller.

People are only infectious after they have started to have symptoms, which include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash and, in some cases, bleeding. If a person, including a traveller, may have been exposed to the Ebola virus, he/she should seek medical attention at the first sign of illness. Early treatment improves chance of survival.

 

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Global Reinsurer Capital Reaches New Peak Of USD570 Billion At June 30, 2014

Aon Benfield launches the latest edition of its Aon Benfield Aggregate (ABA) report, which analyzes the financial results of the world's leading reinsurers in the first half of 2014.

Aon Benfield Analytics estimates that global reinsurer capital reached a record level of USD570 billion at June 30, 2014, an increase of 6% (USD30 billion) relative to December 31, 2013.

This calculation is a broad measure of capital available for insurers to trade risk with and includes both traditional and non-traditional forms of reinsurance capital. The firm's latest study found that capital reported by the ABA group of 31 leading reinsurers increased by 4% (USD14 billion) to USD351 billion (62% of global reinsurer capital), driven primarily by USD18.6 billion of net income and USD9.4 billion of unrealized capital gains. The main offset was USD14.3 billion of dividends and share buybacks.

Further key findings relating to the 29 publicly-listed holding companies in the ABA* include:

  • Gross property and casualty (P&C) premiums rose by 4% to USD109 billion, with growth split evenly between insurance and reinsurance business.
  • The combined ratio rose by 0.4 percentage points to 90.3%, with P&C underwriting profit unchanged at USD7.9 billion.
  • Catastrophe losses declined relative to the prior year and were well below the long-term average.
  • Support from the favorable development of prior year reserves declined by 5% to USD2.8 billion.
  • Return on equity stood at 12.2% in the first half of 2014, the highest level since 2009.
  • Net catastrophe exposures are reducing as risk transfer to the capital markets increases via sidecars, insurance-linked securities and more cost effective retrocession cover.

Mike Van Slooten, Head of Aon Benfield's International Market Analysis team, said, "The influx of alternative capital is lowering risk transfer costs for both insurers and reinsurers, creating a win-win situation that should drive market expansion in the medium-term. Aon Benfield has made major advances in its analysis of reinsurers' financial performance in recent years, in response to growing insurer demand for strategic insight into longer-term industry trends. We are closely monitoring developments in what is a very dynamic environment. As such, peer studies such as the ABA report, which assess comparative performance on a timely basis, are becoming increasingly relevant."

* ABA reports are produced on a half-yearly basis and cover the reported results of 31 major reinsurers worldwide, with the aim of identifying the latest trends in the P&C reinsurance marketplace. The study comprises 29 publicly-listed holding companies ('the listed ABA') and two US-domiciled subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, namely National Indemnity Company (NICO) and General Reinsurance Corporation (Gen Re). NICO entered into a significant intra-group reinsurance transaction with GEICO Group effective January 1, 2014, which has had a material impact on its reported results. To provide a more meaningful picture of the sector's underlying performance, many of the charts and ratios now focus on the listed ABA.

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Marsh Canada Acquires Kocisko Insurance Brokers Inc.

Marsh Canada, a subsidiary of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management, announced today the acquisition of Kocisko Insurance Brokers Inc., a full-service commercial insurance brokerage based in Montreal, Quebec.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Kocisko focuses on providing commercial insurance and risk management solutions to construction and surety operations throughout the province of Quebec. The Kocisko team will join Marsh Canada’s National Construction and Surety Practice, and will be based in Marsh’s Montreal location.

“I’m delighted to welcome Terry Kocisko and his talented and experienced team of construction and surety specialists to Marsh,” said Alan Garner, president & CEO, Marsh Canada Limited. “This addition enables us to offer greater resources and a broader platform to serve the needs of construction clients in Quebec.”

“Becoming a part of Marsh Canada Limited is a terrific evolution for Kocisko,” said Terry Kocisko, CEO of Kocisko. “Our clients will benefit from the tremendous service and broader array of capabilities and resources that Marsh has to offer.”

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