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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

Jumia And AXA Partner To Provide Insurance Products And Services To African Customers

Africa Internet Group (“AIG”), a leading e-commerce group in Africa, and AXA, a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, announced a partnership whereby AXA will become the exclusive provider of insurance products and services through Jumia and other AIG online and mobile platforms in Africa.

Going forward, AXA’s African insurance companies plan to propose custom-made insurance products to Jumia and AIG’s e-commerce client base through its ecosystem of marketplaces and classifieds services. As part of the partnership, AXA will also become a shareholder of AIG, along with MTN, Rocket Internet and Millicom. AXA and Jumia view Africa as a fast developing market for financial services and insurance products, benefitting from strong fundamentals such as low penetration rates, rise in middle class, urbanization as well as the youth of its population.

“Internet is creating unparalleled opportunities for consumers and businesses in Africa to connect and do business in a new way. We continue to be very excited about the growth prospects of Jumia and this new partnership will enable us to capture them,” said Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, founders and co-CEOs of Jumia and AIG. “We expect Africa’s e-commerce and online businesses to develop rapidly as a result of the strong growth of the middle class coupled with the increasing mobile phone and internet penetration. With Rocket Internet’s extensive background in online business models, MTN as leading mobile carrier with its broad African presence, and now the partnership with AXA in insurance products and services, we are in a great position to continue to innovate and connect businesses to the fast growing consumer demand.”

"This transaction confirms AXA's long-term commitment towards the African markets and represents another step in our development on the continent. Africa is home to some of the most dynamic and promising insurance markets in the world and our partnership with Africa Internet Group will enable us to accelerate materially our development by having access to their rich customer base and to their state-of-the-art e-commerce technology. Going forward, we aim to enable African consumers to better access insurance solutions to create sustainable financial well-being throughout their lives and those of their dependants", added Denis Duverne, Deputy CEO of AXA.

As a result of the transaction, AXA will invest Euro 75 million and own approximately 8% of the capital of AIG. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the closing of the previous investment round, and is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2016 The additional capital contributed by AXA will further strengthen the balance sheet and support AIG’s continued growth. Jumia, AIG’s main subsidiary, is currently present in 11 African markets and grew its transaction volume (GMV) by 265% during first 9 months of 2015 to reach Euro 206 million. Jumia is part of broader ecosystem of services providing opportunities for local African businesses to do business with the fast-growing African consumers and middle class. Other services include Kaymu, a leading online shopping community, as well as leading marketplaces in food delivery (Hellofood), travel (Jovago) and leading classifieds in real estate (Lamudi), jobs (Everjobs) and cars (Carmudi).

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AXA Completes Acquisition Of A 7% Stake In Africa Re

AXA has announced that it has completed the acquisition of a 7.15% stake in African Reinsurance Corporation (“Africa Re”), the leading reinsurance company in Africa1 , for a total consideration of USD 61 million (or Euro 54 million2 ).

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 157,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 59 countries. In 2014, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 92.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.1 billion. AXA had Euro 1,277 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2014. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA).

AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY. The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD. It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

1 Source: Africa Re Information Memorandum, based on 2013 gross written premiums. 2 EUR 1 = USD 1.13.

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Ebola Website For International SOS Members Goes Live

International SOS has launched a dedicated Ebola website in response to the developing outbreak in West Africa.

iPMI Magazine reported the ebola virus outbreak as it happened, click here to read more.

The site is being regularly updated with disease information, actualité en français (news in french), country-specific updates, travel advice and educational materials for members to download. The first outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa seems to be spreading, with cases confirmed initially in Guinea and now Liberia. Governments and NGOs are working hard to control the outbreak and there have been some border closures.

Doug Quarry, Group Medical Director for Medical Information and Analysis at International SOS said, “The situation continues to deteriorate. This means that more international resources will be required to contain it. In addition, the outbreak may be coming closer to a number of mining operations in the affected areas. Operators at these sites must be ready to train staff on how to avoid the disease. They should also be prepared if some staff ask to be evacuated from the area.”

The dedicated website is available for International SOS members and can be accessed at the following address: www.internationalsos.com/ebola

Members are encouraged to contact one of the 27 International SOS Assistance Centres for advice before, during or after travel to any of the affected countries.

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Kenya Travel Warning Advice News: Grenade Attack Nightclub, Diani, Mombasa 2 Jan 2014

2 January 2014 and a number of people were injured in a grenade attack on a nightclub in Diani, near Mombasa.

You should take care in public places where people gather, and exercise a heightened level of vigilance.

Monitor local and international media and keep up to date with this travel advice by subscribing to email alerts.

185,967 British nationals visited Kenya in 2012. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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South Sudan Travel Warning: British Nationals Wishing To Leave Strongly Urged To Do So Now

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Juba, Jonglei State, and within 40km of South Sudan’s northern border with Sudan. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of South Sudan.

A UK aircraft is en route to Juba to evacuate British nationals who wish to leave from Juba airport on Thursday 19 December. If you’re a British national and you wish to leave Juba you should contact the FCO as soon as possible on +44 207 008 1500 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The FCO will protect your privacy and process the personal information you provide in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. Some commercial flights have resumed to Juba airport. You may have difficulty leaving in the event of a further deterioration in security.

Routes in and out may be blocked, the airport closed or inaccessible, and flights suspended at short notice. Those who wish to leave are strongly urged to do so now.

The FCO has temporarily withdrawn some staff and dependants from the British Embassy, Juba. Current ability to provide consular assistance is limited by security constraints and reduced staffing of the Embassy. It will be difficult for the British government to provide consular assistance in the event of a further deterioration in the security situation.

There are reports of fighting in other parts of South Sudan. Ability to provide assistance outside Juba is severely limited. If you’re concerned about your safety, you should contact the FCO on +44 207 008 1500 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you choose to remain in South Sudan you should remain alert to the local security situation, monitor the media and stay in a safe location.

A curfew is in place in Juba and some other towns between 6pm and 6am.

Make sure you have comprehensive contingency plans including a stock of essential supplies and up-to-date travel documents and visas.  Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Sudan.

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ADP’s Air Wing Department Rescues an Emirati Family after a Traffic Accident in Swaihan

Abu Dhabi Police’s Air Wing Department rescued a local family with an air ambulance after a traffic accident took place in the Swaihan area. A mother and her two children were transported to Tawam Hospital.

The medical team that accompanied the air ambulance provided medical care and helped in transporting the family to the hospital. The Operation Room received a tip about a traffic accident in the Swaihan area that had caused injuries. The air ambulance immediately took off to reach the specified location. The medical team found the mother and her two children. The victims had sustained some injuries. Abu Dhabi Police’s Air Wing Department was involved in a number of other missions this week.

They transported three injured people to hospitals. In their first mission, they transported a local patient after his situation deteriorated at Al Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi. They took him to Rashid Hospital in Dubai. The medical team took all necessary procedures to ensure the stability of the patient’s situation.

In their second mission, Abu Dhabi Police’s Air Wing Department took an Indian man, whose situation deteriorated at Al Hurair Clinic, to Tawam Hospital in Al Ain after receiving a tip from the operation room.

The air ambulance that was in Al Ain took off to the clinic and transported the man. Necessary medical procedures were taken to ensure safe transport of the patient. On its third mission, the air ambulance transported a patient from Dalma Hospital in the Western Region “Al Gharbia” to Al Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, due to the patient’s deteriorating situation.

For more ground and air ambulance medical transportation news, including company and provider information, log on to iPMI Magazine and head for the Ground and Air Ambulance company and providers services directory.

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Expatriates Want More from Their Employers

A new survey from Cigna (NYSE:CI) and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) shows areas of dissatisfaction among the globally mobile workforce that may jeopardize employees’ successful completion of assignments outside their home countries and diminish their employers’ return on investment in them.

  • Expats lack awareness of many employer benefits and services;
  • 78% access medical care while on assignment;
  • Expat trends: older, on shorter assignments, leaving family behind;
  • Experience of expats in the U.S. can be as tough as in BRIC countries;
  • Needs vary by country; highest satisfaction in Australia, Europe Expats seek understanding of the expat experience from HR.

In the century since Ernest Hemingway and others romanticized expatriate life in Paris, the globally mobile population has grown dramatically along with increased global business. Family stress, cultural differences, increased workloads and burn-out can undermine up to one third of all global expatriate assignments, despite a significant investment by multinational companies estimated at three to five times an employee’s salary. The NFTC and Cigna's Global Health Benefits business sponsored a new independent study of expatriates to gain insights into their perceptions and experiences and to track trends since Cigna and the NFTC conducted a similar study in 2001 – all with the goal of helping employers better understand and satisfy the needs of their globally mobile workforce.

“While many industry surveys illustrate the job employers feel they’ve been doing to prepare and support their corporate expats, little has been heard from the expats themselves in the last decade. This survey allows us to examine disconnects between employees and employers – and sheds light on how to better support the globally mobile workforce, and in turn, the companies who appreciate their valued assets around the world,” said Sheldon Kenton, Senior Vice President, Global Employer Sales, Cigna.

According to this survey, in most cases, employers are providing the resources rated as most important by expats, including general relocation services (80 percent), settling in services (63 percent) and medical preparedness (65 percent). However, there are many unmet expectations among the expats surveyed:

59 percent of expats said they were unaware of their employer’s repatriation assistance and didn’t know whether their employer would track what happens to them after they return home. This low awareness score can be translated into dissatisfaction, as expats perceive lack of employer interest in them after their assignment concludes.

Mobile technology was not a key factor in these expats’ communication needs, with 70 percent saying they relied on their laptops to access information and only 10 percent saying they preferred to use a smartphone.

78 percent of expats or their family members have accessed medical care while on assignment. Expats under age 34 were considerably less informed about the specifics of their health insurance plans. For example, their uncertainty about claim handling was four times higher than the average of other age segments, and their lack of knowledge about where to access health care services was triple that of other segments.

The survey also indicated that having a family greatly influences an expat’s health care behaviors. Those on assignment with spouses or partners and children were most likely to access care, with percentages as high as 91 percent in these segments compared to single expats (64 percent) and expats without children (67 percent.) Expats with spouses, partners and children back in their home country were most likely to seek routine treatment in their home country rather than locally where they were assigned. For example, only 41 percent of expats without family had accessed care locally while 83 percent of expats with spouses or family with them accessed care locally.

Bill Sheridan, Vice President International Human Resources, National Foreign Trade Council stated, “It’s imperative for employers to ensure that their most valued resource – their human capital – is equipped with all of the information necessary to ensure a successful expatriate assignment. Valuable employer-sponsored programs and services made available to expats scarcely yield their intended benefit when they aren’t effectively communicated.”

Trends from 2001 to 2013

When compared to expats in the Cigna-NFTC 2001 survey, today’s expat is older, on shorter assignments, and is leaving his or her spouse and family back home more often. In 2001, expats aged 25 to 34 made up 35 percent of the survey, down to 17 percent in 2013. In 2001, eight percent of expats with a spouse or partner were traveling without their spouse or partner on their assignments, while in 2013, that number nearly tripled to 23 percent. In 2001, 18 percent of expats with children did not have their children with them on assignment, and in 2013 that number almost doubled to 34 percent.

The trend toward shorter assignments has doubled since the 2001 survey, with 13 percent expected to be on assignment a year or less in 2013, compared with six percent in 2001. Today, 37 percent expect to be on assignment two to three years. Expats in the 2013 survey were seasoned professionals, with 44 percent having one to three assignments already and 50 percent of respondents saying they’re likely to take additional assignments in the future.

In the 2001 survey, five percent of expats were from Asia, a number that has grown to 13 percent in the 2013 survey. In 2001, 63 percent of expats were from North America, down to 49 percent in 2013. Other major trends in expat assignments include the shift from Europe, where 43 percent of expats surveyed were assigned in 2001 versus 22 percent in 2013, and in Middle East/North Africa/Greater Arabia, where six percent were assigned in 2001 compared with 23 percent today.

Customization of Assignment Packages by Country Is Critical

Where expats are assigned makes a significant difference in their experiences and perceptions. Satisfaction with their employers’ efforts was lowest from expatriates on assignment in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, and South America and highest in Australia and Europe. Survey respondents noted the following priorities by their location:

  • Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa: Medical preparedness tops the list
  • North and South America: Consultation regarding financial and tax consequences ranks much higher in importance in these regions
  • Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Assistance with schools is more critical
  • Asia and Middle East: Cross-cultural training ranks slightly higher

Experience versus expectations also brings variation:

  • Central America and Middle East: These regions had the highest percentage of unmet expectations in relation to the quality of life—this dissatisfaction was more than double other regions
  • Australia and Europe: Highest satisfaction in quality of life category
  • Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa: Highest amount of dissatisfaction related to impact on the family
  • North America: While overall 13 percent of respondents reported unmet expectations regarding their assignment benefits package, nearly double (21 percent) reported dissatisfaction in the United States and Canada

“Survey results suggest many employers may be providing expatriates with services that adequately address the wider population, but not those on assignment in lesser developed countries,” said Sheridan. “Enhanced understanding, awareness and flexibility are necessary when considering the complexity of global assignments. Customization is key, as a one-size-fits-all approach to developing packages for expatriates simply cannot provide a pathway to success in every geography.”

U.S. Can Be as Difficult as BRIC countries

Industry surveys of employers indicate they believe the most difficult countries for expat assignments include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Results from the Cigna-NFTC expatriate study confirm some difficulties in these regions, but also point out other key areas:

  • Middle East: High degree of dissatisfaction, higher importance ratings regarding several components (including services provided by employers, such as cultural training and health benefits)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: In addition to South Africa, there are a number of other countries in the lower half of Africa where medical preparedness is a great concern and the need for school assistance is more critical
  • North America: The complexities of a number of issues (ease of finding a doctor, language issues, knowledge of the health care system, understanding of financial and tax consequences) have led to much lower satisfaction scores than other regions—especially in the United States—which remains the most frequent country for expatriate assignments.

“Greater recognition of the challenges of being on assignment in the United States is vital. Navigating a complex health system, as well as developing an understanding of the financial and tax consequences of working in the U.S., all present considerable challenges to U.S.-bound expats. My personal experience as an expat has further driven home the crucial need for better preparation, guidance and support,” Kenton said.

The NFTC believes that these candid insights from corporate expats can prove valuable to all companies with globally mobile employees. “An enhanced understanding of how expats feel about their experiences should cause companies to give greater consideration to the many factors that influence the success of global assignments when designing packages,” Sheridan said.

Expats Need Understanding from HR

When asked open-ended questions regarding their experiences, expats frequently cited human resource-related issues.

“Given the integral role human resource professionals play in designing programs for expatriates, an enhanced awareness of the typical challenges and potential barriers to success for expatriates while they’re on assignment is critical. The survey results indicate companies could benefit from elevating this group’s understanding of the unique needs and concerns of this population, either through consultancy or hiring HR professionals with actual expatriate assignment experience,” Sheridan said.

Expatriates volunteered a list of specific concerns:

  • Lack of understanding – expatriates state many HR personnel have likely never experienced living internationally; therefore, they may have low awareness of the type of challenges expatriates face
  • Relocation – expatriates cite a lack of clear information regarding this process
  • Real estate market differences – HR representatives may not know about these differences
  • Responsiveness – expatriates in various industries point out delays in response time
  • Slower and or confusing processes, such as work permits
  • Mobility and Relocation Policy limitations
  • Cost of travel

“Like most studies comparing and contrasting viewpoints of employers and their employees, there exists a gap that, if understood and addressed, can guide employers to make impactful decisions to better design and communicate assignment packages that more adeptly address the needs of their employees abroad and increase their satisfaction,” Kenton said.

About the Survey

Similar to the 2001 study, the “Expatriate Trends Study 2013” was conducted though a web survey instrument. No self-identifying information was captured, keeping all individual responses anonymous and confidential. This chosen method of anonymity encourages more candid feedback from respondents. Data Collection occurred by The Marketing Audit over eight weeks from August 2 to September 30, 2013 with a sample sizes of 1,511 in 140 countries and a confidence rate of 95 percent, with margin of error at +/- 2.3 percent. Respondents were recruited through multiple channels, which included member companies of NFTC and their expatriate populations, clients of Cigna Global Health Benefits, and other channels.

The inaugural study, which took place in 2001, explored the views of both international employers and their expatriate employees—before, during, and after international assignments. Throughout this report, references to the overall findings from the 2001 study explain how the climate for expats has evolved over the past decade. The 2001 study surveyed 143 human resources executives (representing the employer perspective) and 453 expatriates on assignment in more than 70 countries around the world.

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Kenyan Tragedy A Wake Up Call For Expatriates With No Health Insurance

Think of a growing economy in Africa, and Kenya is bound to be high on the list. Kenyan national statistics show GDP growth of over 5% in the first quarter of 2013 and 4.3 per cent in the second quarter which put many mature Western economies to shame.

Democratic, growing and stable, the capital Nairobi is home to many regional corporate offices and has thriving European and US expatriate, student and NGO communities. Many come for the lifestyle too, which has long been recognised as relaxed and very attractive. Recently, several large Western-style malls have sprung up offering families the chance of a day out shopping, eating or going to the cinema. The Malls are busiest on Saturday mornings when local shopper numbers are boosted by large numbers of expatriates who call the Kenyan capital home.

However, Kenya has long displayed huge disparities in wealth, leading to an ever present threat of robberies, car-jackings, and home invasions. Homes are hidden behind high walls, often topped with razor wire. Home alarm systems and lockable safe rooms are essential in many houses rented to foreigners. Restaurants popular with expats are hidden from the street outside. Kenya too is a front line State in many other ways – with an army active in Somalia, Operation Linda Nchi ("Protect the country") is the codename for a co-ordinated military operation between the Somalian military, the Kenyan military and the Ethiopian military that began on 16 October 2011, when troops from Kenya crossed the border into the conflict zones of southern Somalia.

The soldiers were in pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants that are alleged to have kidnapped several foreign tourists and aid workers inside Kenya. Kenya is no stranger to terrorist attacks either. In 1998, Al Qaeda’s first major international strike was the twin bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing more than 200 people including 12 Americans.

Four years later, jihadists trained in Somalia tried to down an Israeli jet with a rocket-propelled grenade, and they crashed a truck full of explosives into a Kenyan hotel on the Indian Ocean, leaving 13 people dead. Against this background, or perhaps because of it, the country remains a popular destination for working expatriates and NGOs.

The recent tragedy of the Westgate shopping Mall illustrates brutally the importance of expatriates in the community. Of the estimated 67 dead, around six are known to be British, with a similar number of UK citizens still missing. With a heightened country risk profile, life insurers such as Friends Provident International have withdrawn life insurance for expatriates living and working there, so where does this leave those needing protection, for example in the area of international private medical insurance?

When countries are experiencing civil unrest or perhaps in the immediate aftermath of a major conflict, many expatriate health insurers will classify such situations as having a ”passive war risk” and, as a result, will limit cover available. For foreign workers of all nationalities, this presents significant problems and can act to deter workers from moving to such places to carry out vital reconstruction and development work at precisely the time when it is most needed.

Debbie Purser, managing director of MediCare International comments, “Passive war is a specific term used in the industry to describe a heightened risk which may be due to a number of factors. For the expatriate worker it is vital to check whether their international medical insurance cover is still valid or limited in any way. At MediCare International, we offer full passive war cover, meaning if you are unlucky enough to be taken ill or injured in such circumstances, your policy will still be active.”

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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".

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