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iPMI Magazine Has Moved

iPMI Magazine successfully rebranded to iPMI Global in 2023 and has moved to a new home on the internet. To visit the brand new international private medical insurance business intelligence platform, please go to www.ipmiglobal.com

ALC Health Renews Advertising Deal With International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Until 2016

International Private Medical Insurance Magazine is proud to announce that ALC Health, a leading provider of international medical insurance, has renewed its advertising agreement to run all the way until January 2016.

One of the original supporters of International Private Medical Insurance Magazine, à la carte healthcare (ALC Health) is an award winning international medical insurer who for over 10 years has been protecting the health of private clients, companies and organisations across the globe. The company continues to grow and develop on a philosophy of ensuring that every policyholder whether as a private individual or a member of a corporate group is assured of the highest level of personal service and support.

 

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Pacific Prime Finds Problems With Hong Kong Government Proposal For A Voluntary Health Policy

Pacific Prime were recently asked to comment on the proposal from the Hong Kong Government that lays out a new 50 billion Hong Kong dollar scheme to help residents with the cost of health insurance in the city.

The scheme has been designed to sufficiently cover private hospital care in a general ward, as well as cover costs for room and board, doctor's visits and prescribed diagnostic tests. The scheme further guarantees renewals and pre-existing conditions cover. Accessibility to and continuity of coverage, quality of protection, and enhanced transparency and certainty are all part of a basic requirement standard that insurance companies would have to follow.

A three-month consultation was launched in mid-December to review the proposed Voluntary Health Insurance scheme that intends to structure premiums of HK$3,600 that will cover treatment, tests, and non-surgical cancer treatment for policyholders at private hospitals. Pacific Prime has stated that the proposal sounds like a positive idea, but one that is ultimately unfeasible, requiring mandatory participation which compares to another form of taxation.

Pacific Prime take the point of view that due to the scheme being a voluntary one, there is a danger of anti-selection, being attractive mostly to those already with pre-existing conditions. The insurance broker also warns of the risk of currently healthy people only choosing to join the scheme only after they fall sick.

They also warn that Insurers would be wary of government subsidies affecting premiums, without much confidence that they would completely cover the additional risk. If premiums are regulated, insurers could be paying out amounts that are very high.

Pacific Prime later tackled the question of how the private health insurance system in Hong Kong would be affected, and how much room for innovation there might be. They respond by asserting that as the medical insurance market in Hong Kong is one of the best in Asia, the range of products available are highly competitive already. They have shown some concern that the voluntary scheme could actually detract from the current state of the market.

The overall regard Pacific Prime have for the proposed policy is in its failure as a solution. Any implementation seen after the consultation will likely see adjustments with the initial proposal, with some aspects toned down. The real problem Pacific Prime states, is less one of insurance but more one of treatment. The lack of price disclosure of treatment and transparency quality and outcomes means treatment costs are not being controlled.

“If the government wants to lower the cost of healthcare it needs to create a competitive and transparent environment for treatment.”

Pacific Prime will continue to monitor the proposed scheme, keeping an eye on which details are changed and how the government handles the difficulties of implementation.

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Pacific Prime Reports Increasing Demand for Expat Health Insurance in Hong Kong

As the expat health insurance market in Hong Kong has experienced recent growth, Pacific Prime examines the reasons contributing to this and what it means for insurers.

The market for expat health insurance in Hong Kong is growing at a considerable rate as opportunities for expatriates to work in Asia remain on the rise. Pacific Prime HK analysed data from a 2013 consensus which revealed that 0.6% of the estimated 50 million expatriates from around the world reside in Hong Kong, translating to 301,000 expats out of a population of 7.1 million people. This is an even more substantial figure when compared to the data from 2009 which estimated the expat population to be 252,000, revealing an increase of 4.6%. These figures place Hong Kong as 7th in the world for expatriate population percentage and with estimates for 2017 revealing a further population increase of 7%, it is likely that Hong Kong will maintain its position as a popular destination for worldwide expatriates.

Hong Kong also ranks as the 10th most expensive location to live as an expatriate in the Asia Pacific region, according to a Cost of Living survey performed by ECA International. Furthermore, as Hong Kong’s financial industry continues to grow and develop, the majority of Hong Kong’s expatriates are brought to the city as corporate transferees, resulting in a steady growth in Hong Kong’s overall wealth. The cost of healthcare in the city has naturally followed suit and Hong Kong now ranks as having the most expensive private healthcare system, second only to the United States. It is no surprise then, that insurance brokers are targeting the expat health insurance market and that the international private medical insurance sector is experiencing a great deal of attention in Hong Kong, as well as other popular expat destinations in Asia.

As many expatriates working here will travel frequently due to work, or return to their home countries on a regular basis, brokers appear to be focusing on transferable health insurance plans, whereby cover will not end upon moving to a different destination, as well as other benefits that would appeal to expats, such as emergency evacuation. As Hong Kong continues to attract global talent, the conditions are more than suitable for the growing expat health insurance market and Pacific Prime expects to see more plans tailored to expatriates continue to be made available in future.

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IMG Europe Appoints James Dwyer as Sales Director

IMG Europe Ltd is pleased to announce that James Dwyer has joined the company on November 3, 2014 as sales director. Dwyer will be responsible for driving sales and marketing strategy, new business development, and management of key accounts.

Dwyer brings over 12 years of experience in international medical insurance sales and account management, and holds an IF7 insurance certification. In his previous role with Globality Health, Dwyer was responsible for key accounts and business development in Asia and Europe.

"James came to us through strong recommendations from industry leaders, and will be an excellent addition to the IMG Europe team. He brings substantial industry experience and leadership to our UK office," said Vice President of International Sales, Amanda Winkle. "We are working to more seamlessly integrate our US and UK sales teams, and I think bringing James onboard will help facilitate that integration. And his experience in the Asian market will be invaluable."

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Globality Health Introduces New CEO

Munich Health, the health segment of Munich Re, has appointed Roman Beilhack as new CEO for Globality Health. The appointment is the next step in a comprehensive development program for Globality Health, the international health insurer with a special focus on expatriates within Munich Re.

Beilhack will lead the program whose major objectives are to safeguard Globality Health's future operational excellence and to provide superior service towards clients, sales and cooperation partners. By investing in the right people and state of the art IT developments the necessary platform will be created to provide reliable solutions in cross border international insurance business.

Wolfgang Diels, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Globality Health says, "I am delighted to welcome Roman Beilhack aboard of Globality Health. With him we have a highly competent manager who has solid background in strategy, business development, sales and marketing from the global marketplace who will safeguard our far-sighted investments.

The recently appointed new CEO of Munich Health and member of the board of management at Munich Re, Doris Höpke, adds, "Moreover, he has tremendous commercial and strategic insight and understanding and a global mindset that will be of great benefit for Globality Health in the future."

Roman Beilhack has been with Munich Re since 1998.

 

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Huichih Ko Joins Willis Asia As Chairman

Willis Group Holdings plc, has appointed Huichih Ko as Chairman of Willis Asia. Mr. Ko will play a leading role in defining Willis Asia's strategic direction and driving client engagement and growth across the region. He starts his new role today and will initially be based in the Singapore HQ of Willis Asia, which employs around 890 associates in 36 offices.

He joins from Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), where he served as MMC Country Corporate Officer for Taiwan. He has over 30 years' industry experience and has held a number of senior posts at Marsh, including Deputy Chairman, Greater China Region; and Managing Director and Chairman, Marsh Taiwan.

Tim Wright, CEO of Willis International, said, "Willis is going from strength to strength in Asia, and the addition of such a senior talent will be a further boost to our capabilities and ambitions. Huichih is a very experienced and respected industry leader who is well known across the region. He will play a vital role in growing and connecting our business both in Asia and globally."

Adam Garrard, CEO of Willis Asia, said, "I have known Huichih for many years and he has worked with an impressive and diverse range of clients. We are delighted to have attracted Huichih to Willis and his appointment is a visible endorsement of our values and strategy. Huichih will partner with me and the rest of the Willis Asia team to assist us in driving the strategy and growth plans in the region. I can think of no one more qualified for this role. He is one of the best insurance practitioners in Asia."

Huichih Ko said, "I am deeply impressed by Willis's vision and commitment to invest across Asia in order to tap into some exciting, high-potential markets. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to work with the many talents in Willis to develop innovative solutions for clients and markets. Asian insurance markets have come a long way - many are mature and ready to diversify their books - and I look forward to helping our global clients explore that new capacity."

Ko started his insurance brokerage career in New York with Fred S James in 1981. He was assigned to Taiwan in 1983 and subsequently became President of James International Taiwan. Between 1987 and 1998 he served as CEO of Sedgwick Taiwan. Following the acquisition of Sedgwick by Marsh, Ko was appointed as Regional Director North Asia, Marsh Resolution.

In 2000 he became Managing Director and chairman of Marsh Taiwan and in 2010 he was promoted to Deputy Chairman, Marsh Greater China Region.

In 2013 he was appointed as MMC Country Corporate Officer for Taiwan. Ko holds a bachelor's degree in Shipping Management and a Master of Science in Transportation.

He has also taught marine insurance and shipping management courses in universities in Taiwan.

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Air Freight Markets Show Strong Increase In Air Cargo July 2014

Data for global air freight markets shows a strong increase in air cargo in July. Compared to July 2013, freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) rose 5.8%. This is an acceleration in growth from June when cargo demand grew at less than half that rate (2.4%). The strong growth mirrors positive developments in some key regional economies.

After a slowdown at the start of the year, global business confidence and trade are showing signs of improvement again, especially in Asia-Pacific. Global air cargo volumes have now surpassed their previous July peak, in 2010, and look set to continue to increase. European air freight, however, grew just 1.8%. This reflects the effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis (including the impact of mounting economic sanctions), which is adding to economic weakness in the Eurozone.

“Overall, July saw growth accelerate. That’s good news and it reflects the continued strengthening of business confidence at a global level. But the air cargo industry is moving at two speeds with a sharp divide in regional performance. European carriers reported anemic growth of just 1.8% while all other regions reported solid gains of 5% or more on the previous year. In particular, the 7.1% growth reported by airlines in Asia-Pacific is encouraging as it demonstrates a recovery in trade and a positive response to China’s economic stimulus measures,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Asia-Pacific airlines showed their strongest rise in air cargo volumes since the start of 2013, increasing 7.1% compared to a year ago. The fortunes of the region’s carriers are tied to the strength of major economies such as China, Japan and South Korea, which are expanding again after a slowdown at the start of the year. Capacity grew 4.0%.

European carriers saw little improvement in cargo demand, expanding FTKs just 1.8% compared to a year ago. The weakness of major economies such as France and Italy, along with the effect of EU sanctions on Russia, has dampened demand. Capacity expanded 4.4%.

North American airlines grew their FTKs by 5.2%. After weakness in the first quarter, trade volumes have rebounded and business growth trends look positive for the months ahead. Capacity fell 1.3%.

Middle Eastern freight markets expanded 9.4%. This strong performance came despite the impact of Ramadan. Airlines in the region are capturing growth opportunities by opening routes to fast-developing economies such as Mexico and Uganda. Capacity rose 7.8%.

Latin American carriers grew FTKs by 7.6% year-on-year. This encouraging performance could be the start of a pick-up in activity following months of weakness, particularly in Brazil. Capacity contracted 0.6%.

African carriers’ FTKs grew 11.3%. However, African freight volumes remain highly volatile, and given the slowdown in South Africa this year, it is too early to say that prolonged growth acceleration is underway. Capacity grew 4.5%.

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Aviva Appoints Andrew Brem As Chief Digital Officer

Aviva announces the appointment of Andrew Brem as Chief Digital Officer (“CDO”), reporting to Mark Wilson, Aviva’s Chief Executive Officer.

In this new role, Andrew will drive Aviva’s group-wide digital transformation which will have a significant impact on Aviva’s customer interactions, including: product innovation and development through data analytics, customer insights and risk management direct distribution, interactive communication and claims handling marketing and branding across social media and the mobile internet.

Andrew has held significant e-commerce and digital leadership roles. From 2012 to 2014, Andrew was Managing Director, Commercial & Product Development at British Gas. In this role he created a new brand, Hive, which focuses on the benefits of ‘connected homes’ and which has already become the market leader with 40% of customers using its new remote heating control system every day. Prior to British Gas, Andrew held various leadership roles at Carphone Warehouse including Managing Director, Multichannel eCommerce & Services, and senior positions at ASDA and McKinsey.

Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “Andrew is an exciting addition to the leadership team and will ensure Aviva delivers its ‘digital first’ strategy. The insurance industry punches below its weight when it comes to digital propositions that customers are looking for. Coming from outside the insurance industry, Andrew will bring a fresh perspective. I am confident he will drive Aviva’s digital transformation.”

Andrew Brem commented, “I am thrilled to be joining Aviva – a strong brand committed to becoming a truly digital insurer. We’ve all seen how technology has changed the way we live our lives; from buying groceries online to controlling our heating from anywhere with an app. Now is the time to bring the digital revolution to insurance; transforming the way people can buy and use our products every day.”

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Argentina Travel Advice: Trade Union Strikes 28 August Expected To Affect Some Public Transport And Public Services

A number of trade unions in Argentina have indicated they will strike on Thursday 28 August. Strikes are expected to affect some public transport and public services. Some roads may be blocked.

National and international flights are likely to be affected. You are advised to check with your airline if you have flights booked for 28 August. You are advised to stay away from any area where a large number of people are congregating during this time, and to monitor local media and follow the guidance of local authorities.

Most visits to Argentina are trouble-free, but you should keep a close eye on your personal belongings in public places.

There have been occasional Falklands-related protests against British interests in Argentina. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations.

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travel to some parts of the country. 

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

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Israel Travel Advice: US And Some European Airlines To Suspend Flights To Ben Gurion Airport For 24 hours

UK FCO advise against all travel to Gaza. The British Information and Services Office in Gaza is closed until further notice.

The FCO can no longer offer any consular assistance in Gaza.

The FCO arranged an assisted departure of British nationals and their dependants from Gaza on 13 July and a further assisted departure took place on 20 July.

The FCO can’t guarantee that there will be further opportunities for assisted departure from Gaza.

On 22 July the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instructed US carriers to suspend flights to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours. Lufthansa, KLM, Air France and EasyJet have also cancelled flights to Tel Aviv for Tuesday 23 July.

Take out comprehensive travel AND medical insurance before you travel to Israel.

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