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Aetna International Shortlisted For Multiple Awards

Having recently won the Workplace Saving and Benefits (WSB) award for ‘International Benefits Provider of the Year’, Aetna International has been shortlisted for several other prestigious industry awards.

These include:

  • Best International Private Medical Insurance at Cover Excellence

  • Best International Private Health Insurance Provider at International Investment

  • Best International Private Health Insurer at International Adviser

  • Best International Travel and Health Insurance at International Travel and Insurance Journal (ITIJ)

Aetna has also been nominated for six different categories at the Health Insurance and Protection awards on 17th October.

These include:

  • Best Customer Service

  • Best Marketing and Sales Support to Advisors

  • Best Individual International Healthcare Provider

  • Best Digital Proposition

  • Company of the Year

  • Best Group International Healthcare Provider

The latter category is of is of particular note, as Aetna have won this award for the last six years.

Vicky Dymoke, Marketing Director, Europe, comments, “It’s an absolute honour to be shortlisted for so many awards, especially when we know the tough competition we are up against.

We work tirelessly to focus on a customer-first agenda, and it’s a wonderful boost for everyone behind the scenes to know that this is being recognised. I think the shortlists are a testament to the close and collaborative relationships we nurture with our broker partners – especially as the HI&P awards are broker-nominated – and reflect our commitment to providing to personalised, affordable and accessible healthcare.

We wish all the other companies who have been shortlisted the very best of luck.”

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iPMI Magazine Speaks With Gary Dawson, Director of Business Development, Pacific Cross Insurance

In this iPMI Magazine industry exclusive, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, sits down with Gary Dawson, Director of Business Development at Pacific Cross Insurance. They discuss in detail the development of the IPMI market in Asia Pacific including IPMI adoption rates, mandatory insurance schemes, IPMI premium costs, insurance broker and intermediary network development and Pacific Cross Insurance international private medical insurance plans.

Please introduce yourself and background in the international private medical insurance market:

Born in Canada, working and living in the insurance business since 1977; the past 17 of those years in Vietnam. Life and health insurance have been my life, with only two employers, and my insurance education consisting of CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., LLIF. I have worked in distribution for 20 plus years and in administration for 20, so well rounded in life and health and as I look in the mirror, well rounded in my eating habits.

You have an extensive background in the international medical insurance market. How has the market developed in that time?

Globally the market has changed dramatically since my joining in 1977. We have seen the whole industry turn upside down due to technological gains. At present day we are now going through another step in that evolution due to technology. In the early days this was assisted by the introduction of the internet – where people self-diagnose – going online for anything they wish to know. There were leaps in the understanding of health management, lifestyle changes and in turn the expectations of the insured person. A more mobile population travelling worldwide for both vacation and work, people wanted the newest and latest in preventive testing and diagnostic reports. Currently we have the introduction of new medicines with specialty drugs being prescribed at a price the insurance industry did not anticipate, CRISPR technology, genetic testing, deep learning, AI. In short, everything has changed. The one thing that remains the same is the client wanting full protection and coverage without too many questions or qualifications.

Specific to the Asia Pacific Region, there has been some remarkable growth in the past 10 to 15 years. Countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia have seen huge demand for healthcare fuelling a doubling or tripling of health insurance and personal accident premiums. In the past, private international medical insurance was something which only expatriates and affluent citizens of SEA nations considered. We have for the past few years however, seen a rapid increase in consumers at the individual mid-market level and in group schemes, not only in the countries mentioned above, but across the region.

Pacific Cross Group of companies operates in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. How popular is the adoption of international private medical insurance in these countries?

That’s correct, the Pacific Cross Group is made up of Insurance companies and TPAs throughout Asia, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. In these countries the adoption has been fantastic. In the early years it was all about the expatriate community requiring coverage for a location and an environment that was new; they wanted peace of mind. Today it is about the local communities understanding the benefits of IPMI and deciding they want treatment in other locations, or at a hospital level other than what the government provides the general population. People want choices, service, and are willing to pay for it, as they are growing economically. IPMI fills this need.

The examples of Vietnam and Indonesia were mentioned above, and it is certainly true that IPMI has become increasingly more popular in those countries. This is mainly due to dissatisfaction with state insurance schemes coupled with a rising standard of living and more money in the pockets of average citizens, especially in urban areas. The same can be said of Thailand, although on a slightly different scale. Thailand has recently announced requirements for foreigners to have health insurance, a big boon to the providers of IPMI plans. More established IMPI markets like Hong Kong and the Philippines, although further along in market development, continue to show growth. This is more notable in the Philippines, where IPMI allows consumers to access a higher level of healthcare which is becoming more readily available but is out of the price range of the uninsured.

Can you walk us through the range of international private medical insurance plans that Pacific Cross offer?

We offer a range of coverage appealing to all budgets, whether the employer is paying, or the family is paying, our plans are built for a person to adapt coverage that fits their needs and budget, for treatment at their preferred location. As time progresses the client is given the flexibility to make choices assisting them to manage the premiums and coverage as it reflects their changing needs. All these choices are built around our desire to provide solutions and service to the client for their lifetime. Once a person has a policy and some time passes, the waiting periods are finished. The client can enjoy sound coverage for their lifetime; policy renewal is assured, and the policy renews until age 90. As situations change our clients can then make coverage or premium alterations based on their needs, regardless of where they live or are moving. We have many clients who have been with us for 20 to 30 years or more and as they age, they may choose to alter their coverage to suit their budgets and needs. Knowing they have a policy for life no matter their claim history is a big relief to many clients.

The Pacific Cross Group of companies offers plans tailored for the local market in each country where our offices are located. As it would take too much time and space to list all those plans here, I’ll outline the US dollar medical plans offered regionally by Pacific Cross Insurance Company. These plans are administered by our TPA office in Hong Kong.

The range of plans includes four separate options which offer benefits ranging from Inpatient only up to a fully comprehensive package.

Starting at the low end, we offer the Major Medical International Plan, which has an annual deductible (the client has choices in terms of the amount). This is an inpatient only plan with a maximum overall benefit of 250,000 USD / 1,000,000 USD. The plan caters to consumers who want to cover inpatient only scenarios in which they are hospitalized or require emergency assistance. For reference, the Major Medical plan with worldwide coverage would cost $1,360 USD annually for a healthy 40-year old applicant.

Moving up the ladder we come to our Premier International Plan. With an overall maximum benefit of 250,000 USD /500,000 USD, this plan offers worldwide coverage or a discount for a geographical restriction, no annual deductible and Inpatient and Outpatient options. This plan is for those looking for more complete coverage, but do not require a large overall maximum benefit. It is popular with long-term expatriate people living or retiring in Asia. A healthy 40-year old can purchase a Premier Plan with worldwide coverage for $2,406 USD.

Nearer the top we have our Standard International Plan. With a schedule of benefits, discounts and optional add-ons such as travel, dental and PA, this plan bears many similarities to the Premier Plan, but with higher benefit amounts. The overall maximum is 1,000,000 USD / 2,000,000 USD. This plan is popular among the expatriate community based in SEA. A healthy 40-year old on worldwide coverage would pay an annual premium of $3,416 for the Standard Plan.

Our biggest option is the Comprehensive International Plan. A full package plan which has all additional benefits like: dental, vision, travel and PA built in, this is the largest and most robust plan in our lineup. The overall maximum benefit is 2,000,000 USD / 3,000,000 USD. Premium for worldwide cover for a healthy 40-year old on the Comprehensive plan comes in at $5,310.

You’ll notice that all four of these plans are intended to fit next to each other seamlessly and provide our consumers with a range of options from very affordable to very robust. We have tweaked our product line in recent years in order to achieve this seamless range.

One of the most common topics we hear about is the cost of International Private Medical Insurance premiums. How will the cost of IPMI change in the coming years and what are the key drivers?

This is a big question, having a complex answer. On a macro level, advances in medicine and treatment protocols will be the biggest impact to the premium’s insurers charge. People want treatment at recognized locations, they want the newest diagnostic tools, the best medicine, in addition they are treated for longer periods of time as they are living longer. But people are premium conscious and want lower premiums while maintaining the high service levels. Governments cannot afford to deliver to this level of expectation, and so it falls to the IPMI industry to deliver. It is my experience clients do not wish to know the details; they just want the bills paid – an interesting dilemma. This can be achieved for long-term clients, but newer clients who do not stay with their insurer are difficult to balance.

New diagnostic procedures are also a big contributor to increased premiums. Now doctors will routinely apply a long list of diagnostic tests to a client just to rule out other illness, and so the medical bill increases based on these tests. With people living longer, diseases being managed for longer periods of time, and the advances in medicine, the IPMI product must keep pace with these advances by passing along price increases to the client.

Specifically to Asia, it is important to distinguish between two groups of consumers – citizens of SEA nations which form the majority of our markets, and the traditional expatriate, who is also a part of the Pacific Cross Group‘s client base. Health insurance premiums for the first group tend to be lower than the second on average, with an annual cost in the neighbourhood of $500USD in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. As salaries and spending money in these countries continue to climb, so will the demand for healthcare and health insurance. Premiums will continue to rise in the coming years due to these factors.

For the typical expatriate, we see average premium prices, and of course benefit levels, higher than those paid by SEA citizens. While salary levels are not a driver of health insurance demand, the overall compensation packages and cost savviness of the employers, as well as cost consciousness from the expats themselves, means are seeing some plateauing or stabilization of premium costs. The days of the “big expat package“ are behind us, and the demand for 3 or 4 million USD health insurance plans is shrinking. As mentioned above, at PCIC we see lots of interest in our mid level and low level plans such as Premier and Major Medical. In today’s expat climate and as clients age, there is more and more need to manage premiums.

One factor which is affecting both groups however is medical cost inflation. Medical costs are rising across the region at a rapid rate. In 2018 we saw medical cost inflation rates ranging from 9% in Thailand to over 23% in Vietnam. This will ultimately affect the rates which insurers charge for their health plans, but along with the above mentioned factors I would not expect massive premium increases in the next 3 – 5 years.

In which countries across the Asia Pacific is international private medical insurance mandatory for expatriates, remote specialist workers and travellers?

Thailand has recently introduced mandatory coverage for 10-year visa applicants and in October a long term stay visa (12-months), and as far as I know this is the only country in the region that does that. In general, travelers have insurance requirements if they need a visa, but no visa needed then there is no coverage verification required. However, it should not be a requirement by the government that makes a person have coverage. Coverage should be a social requirement as too many times an accident or an illness overseas leads to family members selling their assets in order to support an ill or injured family member abroad. I have seen or been involved with dozens of tragic situations that could have been avoided if the proper insurance had been purchased. I think American Express used a commercial saying – “never leave home without it.” This is true for insurance.

What is the affect of mandatory medical insurance programs?

We have yet to see great effect from the mandatory scheme in Thailand in terms of claim trends and risk profile. It is too early for those returns. However, on the day the scheme was announced by the Thai government, our Thai company website experienced such a surge in traffic that it crashed!

We have since made adjustments to handle the new levels of inquiries!

Specially which challenges exist for international private medical insurers across Asia pacific?

There are many challenges which health insurers face in the region, some of which were mentioned above in relation to premium costs.

However, one of the biggest challenges which we face is the task of providing modern, helpful and efficient customer service. This challenge in itself takes on many forms throughout the health insurance client cycle, all the way from first consultation to claims through to renewal. Clients are demanding higher levels of service all the time, and with premiums, benefits and plan details being so similar from insurer to insurer, it really is down to your customer service when trying to set yourself apart from the rest.

We are looking to digitization to help is in this area, but your tech and digital efforts are still only as good as the people behind them. Clients in this region, on the whole, are new to the concept of IPMI. As such we rely on our staff to help them through their experience. It is much harder to keep a client and to build their loyalty than it is to focus on bringing in new business. There needs to be a balanced focus. With so many options in terms of insurance providers, clients have the power to shop around and demand better. It’s because of this that customer service standard is one of our biggest challenges.

How difficult is it in Asia Pacific to build a sustainable and robust international private medical insurance broker and intermediary network?

It is tough. It is one of those assets a company builds over time, one step at a time. To be bullet proof from high claims in a year a certain premium volume is needed to be built. In addition, medical providers require attention as they will charge as much as they can, with the client blaming the insurer not the medical provider for the high costs, and so we end up with the problem of trying to manage both the medical costs, the treatment, and the premiums in order to maintain balance. Intermediaries play a critical role in bridging the gap between the insurance and the need, between the medical provider and the insurer, as they are the ones to assist the client in understanding how to manage their coverage so the long-term needs can be met within the budget set.

At Pacific Cross we are lucky in the sense that we have had established operations in the region for decades already. Some of our largest producers are brokerage and agency firms with which we’ve had relationships with that entire time. They are experts in their areas and we enjoy smooth fruitful relationships with them. However, having said that, there are still some definite difficulties in growing your network, or setting up a network in a new territory.

To highlight one of the main difficulties we face I will speak to the vast number of ways which a distributor or intermediary appears. They come in the form of online only “compare sites”, IFAs, travel agents, real estate specialists and many others. In lots of cases, these intermediaries have no knowledge of IPMI, but they have a large prospect or client network who knows them. Couple that with a lack of regulation on insurance sales in some territories and it is possible to find yourself having to do business with an entity you may otherwise not. The result of this situation is mainly uninformed clients. Uninformed clients lead to contentious situations at claim or renewal time. Often it is the case that the person who sold the policy is nowhere to be found a few months down the road and the client is left on their own to sort through policy rules and details which should have been explained to them from the outset.

This can lead to not just unhappy customers, but a definite hesitancy on the part of the insurer to work with that intermediary going forward. As I mentioned before, Pacific Cross is fortunate to have a strong, established network of expert brokers and agent partners, but challenges do still exist.

Pacific Cross Insurance assist with the medical insurance requirements of corporations in the region including oil and gas and aviation. How does this market differ to that of the individual expatriate and business or leisure traveller market?

The oil and gas, aviation businesses traditionally provide a full comprehensive package for their expatriate employees. These insured people expect full coverage, they do not want any questions asked, and they wish full reimbursement, the companies pay the premium and the employees really don’t care, they are not willing to manage the outcome – treatment, price, or coverage. This compares to the general travelling client, or individual expatriate, who pays their own premiums and wants to have the necessary coverage but doesn’t need the full deal package. They are premium conscious and treatment conscious so are willing to help manage the outcomes.

With corporate entities such as the types you mention, there are both subtle and obvious differences when compared to an average individual customer. A subtle difference might be something such as the method in which an insured member makes contact with the insurer when in need of service – through a dedicated channel rather than a public one.

To me the biggest noticeable difference is the level of risk being covered and the custom benefits which are associated. In both oil and gas, as well as aviation, there are much higher levels of risk affecting the insured members on a daily basis. The companies employing these types of workers typically have a set list of requirements for the coverage they purchase, and as an insurance provider we try to work with these companies to meet those requirements as best we can. Because the number of members in a company plan can be large, they have a bit of negotiating power which an individual would not. We pride ourselves in being flexible to demands while also maintaining integrity in risk assessment and sticking to the principles of insurance.

How will the international private medical insurance market develop in Asia Pacific over the next 10 years?

100’s of millions mid-market people being educated and armed with high expectations for their families. They want what others have and they want the best of class. Governments can’t deliver to that expectation, so it is up to the IPMI industry to do that for the Asia Pacific consumer. The next 10-years will see even newer diagnostic testing and health & wellness come to the forefront - meaning lifestyle will play an increasing part as will genetic testing and screening. All of this recognizes the fact that preventive strategies are better than treatment when it comes to public health. The pendulum should swing away from treatment only, and now include health, wellness and lifestyle factors, with the treatment costs as a smaller part of the reimbursement equation. Coverage for life would be an expectation, mobility needs to be accepted, and the coverage should be collaborative – with the client and the insurer being closer aligned.

I see it as full steam ahead for the emerging insurance markets which were mentioned earlier – Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and later on nations such as Cambodia, Myanmar and others. This is both in terms of market penetration as well as provider competition. More and more global players have their eye on the IPMI market, specifically in Southeast Asia.

The market will mainly be driven by individual policies as health expenditures and disposable income rise in these places. This is good news for insurers, but also presents the challenge of a new savvy and demanding type of client. Building loyalty through high level customer service, reward programs, transparency and efficiency will help insurers thrive.

It is an exciting time to be involved in IPMI in Asia Pacific.

Last and not least, if you could live anywhere in the world, on land or at sea, where would it be?

I am currently living the dream. I live in Vietnam, in Asia, where we are surrounded by the sea, tropical temperatures, by fresh fruit and palm trees, and I can fly to a half dozen countries all within an hour‘s flight. My insurance knowledge is appreciated and recognized, market share increases and premium growth is often measured in double digits, and client count in the hundreds of thousands – an insurance industry professional’s dream.


iPMI Magazine Speaks With Janette Hiscock, CEO Of Global Solutions Europe, United Healthcare Global

In this exclusive iPMI Magazine interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, sits down with Janette Hiscock, CEO of Global Solutions Europe for United Healthcare Global. They discuss in detail the newly formed European division of UnitedHealthcare Global (UHCG) including what makes UnitedHealthcare Global’s offering different, the new benefits and services added to insurance plans, member access to the best possible healthcare and what we can expect from UHCG in the future.

Please introduce yourself and your role at UnitedHealthcare Global:

My name is Janette Hiscock and I am the CEO of UnitedHealthcare Global Solutions Europe, leading the newly created European Division of UnitedHealthcare Global (UHCG) which launched its European insurance business last year. We provide in-house solutions for international medical insurance, wellness, security, assistance and remote medical services. Our range of solutions makes our offering unique in the European market.

Prior to this role, I oversaw the company’s remote medical services division based in the U.K. I continue to run this business, but I am now responsible for leading the insurance entity in Europe, which creates alignment under one European market.

I have more than twenty years industry experience managing health insurance, medical, assistance and security services businesses, and have held a variety of senior roles in sales, client management and proposition development.

Can you explain the changes that have been announced to UnitedHealthcare Global’s European operations?

We are very excited about UnitedHealthcare Global’s evolution in this market. UnitedHealthcare Global has combined its medical services and insurance businesses, enabling our European-based teams to bring a solution to clients with unparalleled in-house capabilities. This will provide a continuum of care for our members across insurance, assistance, security, wellness, clinical and medical services.

The launch of our iPMI business last year ensured we were able to align with our US-based business, leverage our Latin American businesses and develop products and services to meet the needs of globally mobile workforces.

Why have these changes been made?  

Since the launch of the European iPMI business, we’ve been investing in our products to ensure we meet the evolving needs of companies with globally mobile populations. Our solutions address our members’ needs at every stage of their deployment and there are a number of complementary services that sit in our medical services business that we can offer to iPMI clients.

It made perfect sense to integrate these two highly complementary divisions of our business under one single leadership in Europe, making it simpler for brokers and clients to access these services.

What makes UnitedHealthcare Global’s offering different?

At UnitedHealthcare Global, we see the many different interactions across the entire health care system – in a way no other organisation can. We are uniquely positioned to address global health care challenges for members and create real value for clients.

We understand that comprehensive and cost-effective health and well-being plans, aimed at companies with globally mobile workforces, are not just about managing illness. That’s why our offerings include proactive and preventative benefits to help employees actively manage their own health care while abroad.

Our aim is to support members to look after their health through innovative products and services. Simplifying the digital experience is hugely important to us, as we know it is something our members want. Through our apps and portals, our members can make a claim within 90 seconds or access a wellness coach. Our highly personalised service for both brokers and clients helps us to deliver the best solutions for globally mobile populations, and puts health care in the hands of the member.

As part of the world’s largest health care company, UnitedHealthcare Global employs 74,000 people, half of which are clinicians and health care professionals. This means our global reach as a health care company is unparalleled, providing better outcomes for all who we serve  

Since your launch in September 2018, have you added any new benefits/services to your plans based on the changes made to the business?

UnitedHealthcare Global is continually using our in-house capabilities to research, innovate, and provide new services and technologies to make the health care system easier to navigate for our members. A strong tenant of our business is based on preventative care. Since our launch, we’ve added a number of new services and benefits including Virtual Visits and our Global Health Management programme.

Virtual Visits is a secure telemedicine service that makes it simple for employees and their dependants to speak with a health care professional through their mobile or desktop devices while on assignment. From treating colds and fevers, to caring for migraines and allergies or getting a referral letter, it makes connecting with a doctor easy and free while on the move.

The Global Health Management programme is a proactive health management service available to all of our insurance members, to help them access the resources they need to manage their health, including chronic conditions. It focuses on an employee or their dependants’ specific needs, wherever they are in the world. Our clinicians provide targeted support to help expatriates and their families overcome the challenges of accessing care and resources for complex, high risk conditions. They create an action plan for addressing urgent needs and also work with the member’s schedule and location to ensure members can have a healthier, more successful assignment.

Using the breadth of capability from our medical services business and our in-house team of doctors, we have developed a new solution called Virtual Health Assessments (VHA) to help mitigate risks for employers sending people abroad. VHA is a specialised medical screening service which employers can use to screen their employees and their family’s at any point prior to, during and after their assignment. This is a standalone service from the iPMI plan and can be purchased with or without the iPMI offering.

Many of the illnesses and conditions faced by employees and their dependants when abroad are predictable and preventable. Our services help to ensure that any medical conditions which may impact a trip are identified well in advance of departure and actively managed with our clinical teams.

All of our programmes have been designed to help ensure, globally mobile populations thrive, by giving access to employers, employees and their dependants to the most cost effective, innovative, real-time and comprehensive health care.

How can you guarantee that your members will be able to access the best possible care?

UnitedHealthcare Global is part of UnitedHealth Group, the largest and most diversified health care company in the world. Because of this, clients and members benefit from our global networks, clinical insight, data analytics and innovation.

We work with local health care providers and clinicians who have the knowledge and expertise needed to ensure employees receive the best possible health care at every stage of their assignment overseas, no matter how complex their needs might be. We do this by providing access to high-quality, compliant and cost effective benefit programmes, helping employers mitigate risk and making their employees’ health and safety our priority.

Ultimately, our mission is to help people live healthier lives and help make the health care system work better for everyone.

What’s coming up next for UnitedHealthcare Global?

Following the successful launch of our iPMI services in Europe, we’re looking forward to making further exciting announcements, and discussing in greater detail our new proposition for the oil and gas market.  

Related: iPMI Magazine Speaks With David Powell, CEO Global Solutions, UnitedHealthcare Global And Claude Daboul, Managing Director, UnitedHealthcare Global Europe


Sedgwick Appoints Wayne Cheng Chief Operations Officer For Asia

Sedgwick has named Wayne Cheng its chief operations officer for Asia. In his new role, Cheng will be responsible for executing the company's business and growth strategy and driving operational efficiency as Sedgwick scales its business across the region.

Having worked in the insurance industry for more than 20 years, Cheng has built up a wealth of experience in this sector. His specialties include data analysis, insurance claims, finance marketing, operations, project management, reinsurance and talent management. He joined Sedgwick in 2014 as general manager of Sedgwick's Asia operations. He previously held a variety of senior roles, including vice president, chief claims officer and global claims finance analyst of a leading insurance company. Cheng is also a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Claims (AIC).

"Wayne has a deep and thorough understanding of our industry, and his experience across general insurance and the Asia markets will continue to be a great asset to Sedgwick," said James Ong, Sedgwick CEO for Asia. "Wayne's main objectives as COO are to position Sedgwick for continued growth in Asia and enable our company to operate at its full capacity and capabilities. This is an exciting time for our team as Sedgwick in Asia grows from strength to strength. In this new leadership role, Wayne will help us ensure that Sedgwick remains at the forefront of the industry across the region and around the world."

As Sedgwick looks to the next phase of its business development in Asia, the company's focus on capabilities, clients and solutions will be supported by market-leading, cutting-edge technology, expertise and exceptional service.

"Sedgwick is not only the world's largest claims and risk solutions provider, but also a company that values innovation, quality and best-in-class service," Cheng said. "I'm looking forward to assisting James and working with the rest of the team in growing our business in Asia—not only in terms of products, but also in breadth of solutions and capabilities."

Sedgwick is a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions. We provide a broad range of resources tailored to our clients' specific needs in casualty, property, marine, benefits and other lines. At Sedgwick, caring counts®; through the dedication and expertise of more than 21,000 colleagues across 65 countries, the company takes care of people and organisations by mitigating and reducing risks and losses, promoting health and productivity, protecting brand reputations, and containing costs that can impact the bottom line. Sedgwick's majority shareholder is The Carlyle Group; Stone Point Capital LLC, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and other management investors are minority shareholders. For more, see



AIA Agrees Exclusive Asia-Pacific Regional Partnership With Medix

Breakthrough regional partnership between AIA and Medix, a company specialising in quality global medical management, to provide improved healthcare and clinical outcomes for AIA customers.

AIA Group Limited (“AIA” or the “Company”: stock code: 1299) has announced that its customers across the Asia-Pacific region are set to benefit from a landmark partnership agreement with global health management company Medix. AIA and Medix are partnering to deliver a differentiated proposition that optimises care and improves medical outcomes for AIA customers across the region. Under the expanded regional partnership, building on already successful collaborations between AIA and Medix in Hong Kong and Singapore, AIA and Medix will work together to launch in more markets in 2019, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. Additional markets are planned for launch in 2020 and beyond.

Under the exclusive partnership with Medix, selected AIA customers will have access to “Personal Medical Case Management Services” during some of the most challenging times of their lives. When diagnosed with a serious or complex condition AIA customers will be supported by a dedicated case team throughout their medical journey, from diagnosis through treatment until full recovery. They will gain access to a holistic medical assessment, re-evaluation of their condition, referral for additional diagnostic testing – where needed, ongoing multi-disciplinary consultations, full care coordination, on-going guidance and emotional support provided by Medix’ team of renowned medical experts from around the globe.

Eligible AIA customers will have their medical case reviewed by Medix’ expert team of 300 in-house physicians and a global quality accredited network of over 3,000 world-leading and independent medical specialists, ensuring they have the tools to make educated, quality driven decisions and receive the best possible care throughout their medical journey, anywhere in the world.

Ng Keng Hooi, AIA’s Group Chief Executive and President, said the announcement underscores AIA’s commitment to meet the growing and changing needs of customers and to help people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.

“With the advances in medical treatments and technologies, the expectations of Asian consumers have changed significantly, with personalised, quality medical care at the top of their list. This strategic partnership with Medix exemplifies our leadership role in driving economic and social development across the region. It demonstrates our pledge to go beyond the traditional, passive insurance business model by becoming an integral part of our customers’ life journey” he said.

Mark Saunders, AIA’s Group Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer with responsibility for healthcare underlined AIA’s strategy and deliberate investment in helping improve the health and well-being of its customers, saying “AIA’s expanded partnership with Medix represents a significant step forward in delivering our long-term strategic vision in the health and well-being space, where we’ve invested significantly and consistently over the past several years. It builds on a highly successful partnership in Hong Kong and Singapore, where we’ve been able to provide Medix’ unparalleled medical case management services to our customers.

“To successfully deliver on our vision to help people be healthier for longer we are building an eco-system of services and partners to help people on all steps of the health journey through predict, prevent, diagnose, treat and recover stages, improving their overall wellbeing. Our exclusive partnership with Medix across our markets enhances AIA’s distinctive and differentiated proposition in health and well-being. By providing our policyholders with Personal Medical Case Management AIA helps overcome local healthcare disparities and makes international expertise, locally available through a mutually beneficial collaborative process” Saunders said.

Sigal Atzmon, CEO of Medix commended AIA’s visionary and innovative approach to driving meaningful improvements in people’s lives across the region.

“This is a partnership that will make a genuine difference; it represents a shared vision and a commitment to reduce unwarranted healthcare variations across the region, improve the medical accessibility, medical outcomes and most importantly, improve the overall care experience” Ms Atzmon said.

“Through this partnership, we provide personalised medical care, empower patients with the knowledge and tools they deserve to make educated decisions and offer active coverage in the daily lives of each policyholder. As such, we are enabling an unprecedented democratisation of the entire healthcare landscape.

“AIA, as one of the world’s largest and leading insurers should be applauded for the courageous, pioneering spirit they have shown over the last 100 years. Their vision and commitment to improving the lives of their customers/people across the region is unwavering and we are honoured to be a part of their next chapter,” Ms Atzmon concluded.

About AIA

AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “AIA” or the “Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, Cambodia, a 97 per cent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 49 per cent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar.

The business that is now AIA was first established in Shanghai a century ago in 1919. It is a market leader in the Asia-Pacific region (ex-Japan) based on life insurance premiums and holds leading positions across the majority of its markets. It had total assets of US$230 billion as of 31 December 2018.

AIA meets the long-term savings and protection needs of individuals by offering a range of products and services including life insurance, accident and health insurance and savings plans. The Group also provides employee benefits, credit life and pension services to corporate clients. Through an extensive network of agents, partners and employees across Asia-Pacific, AIA serves the holders of more than 33 million individual policies and over 16 million participating members of group insurance schemes.

AIA Group Limited is listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the stock code “1299” with American Depositary Receipts (Level 1) traded on the over-the-counter market (ticker symbol: “AAGIY”).

About Medix Medical Services 

Established in 2006, the Medix Group is a global, leading provider of innovative, high quality health management solutions. With offices in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Melbourne and a client base exceeding 3 million members in over 90 countries, Medix offers its clients -- primarily global health & life insurers, financial groups, large corporates and government institutions -- significant value-added services in the world of healthcare. Medix’ medical team is comprised of 300 in-house doctors alongside nurses, research experts, medical administration teams and a quality accredited global network of over 3,000 specialists and 1,500 leading hospitals.

Through its various services, Medix offers its customers fast-track solutions to proven better medical outcomes. Medix provides Global Personal Case Management Services, Disease Prevention Management Services, Digital Health Solutions, Home Care Services, Health Strategy and Medical Governance Services to insurers, large corporates and government institutions.

Medix is a Shared Value company that strives to enable people around the world to have access to the best medical care possible while eliminating unwarranted healthcare variations and helping to control medical cost inflation. Believing that the accessibility, quality and sustainability of medical care are one of the most important components of social rights, Medix is very passionate about these issues and is globally fully dedicated to these activities.



Broadstone Group Enters IPMI Market With Acquisition Of Specialist IPMI and Employee Benefits Firm

Broadstone has announced the acquisition of 3HR Benefits Consultancy. This move represents Broadstone’s third acquisition in as many months following the recently announced purchases of Liverpool-based CS Financial Solutions and Thomson Dickson Consulting located in Glasgow.

Founded in 2008, London-based 3HR Benefits Consultancy is a subsidiary of 3HR plc and provides specialist employee benefits and international private medical insurance (IPMI) support and services to more than 200 Japanese, Korean and Chinese blue chip companies in respect of their UK and European expatriate employees. The company is the leading UK benefits consulting firm specialising in the Far Eastern market and dominates the sector with a number of Fortune 500 clients
Commenting on this latest acquisition, Broadstone Group CEO, Grant Stobart, said, “As part of our strategy to grow all areas of our business we must identify and then capitalise on emerging trends and opportunities. This is another outstanding acquisition for Broadstone and adds further scale in a buoyant   sector. 3HR Benefits Consultancy is one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist IPMI and employee benefits services to Far Eastern groups operating in the UK and Europe and the respect and authority they have built up in this sector is very impressive. Acquiring this niche business with its quality client base and experienced staff will provide clients with access to Broadstone’s wider service offering.
“2019 continues to be a year of targeted but vigorous expansion for Broadstone,” concluded Stobart.

Terence Bennett, CEO at 3HR plc, said, “Over the past few months we have been actively seeking ways of further developing our benefits consultancy and expatriate medical insurance business and have now found the ideal partner in Broadstone. This deal is an important step in the evolution of our business and will ensure that we can continue to further strengthen the service we offer our clients and the personal and professional development of all of our staff.”

Xavier Woodward, from Broadstone’s private equity parent, Livingbridge, commented, “This acquisition further strengthens Broadstone’s offering and provides access to a new client base. We are delighted to welcome 3HR Benefits Consulting on board as we continue to execute on a strong M&A pipeline.”


iPMI Magazine Speaks With Jerome Droesch, CEO, Cigna, MENA

In this iPMI Magazine exclusive interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, sits down with Jerome Droesch, CEO, Cigna following his appointment as Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Board Member of Cigna’s joint venture operations in India and Turkey.

Firstly, congratulations on your new appointment and thank you for sitting down to speak with us. May you introduce yourself and background in the international medical insurance market?

My name is Jerome Droesch. I am the CEO of Cigna for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Board Member of Cigna’s joint venture operations in India and Turkey. I started my career in insurance in 1991 in France, with AXA, at a time when the industry was going through rapid transition around the world. It was exciting to witness the sector’s fast-paced evolution at the time. This dynamism across the various insurance segments, including medical insurance, has been a constant source of motivation for me. Today, I see unlimited opportunities for disruption in medical insurance, and I am glad to be part of this journey with Cigna, which has a 200-year legacy of driving innovation and impact in this space.  

You are responsible for building a customer-centric portfolio of offerings in the region in line with Cigna’s core promise to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those it serves. How will you do this?

Fortunately, I have access to a well-oiled and capable operations machinery at Cigna, where the priority has always been centered around improving the lives of the people we serve. This essentially means building products and solutions that complement the individual needs of the market. This speaks to our ambition to go deeper, go local and go beyond through network expansion, personalization and innovation.

To this end, we continue to invest in harnessing localized insights that can inform the decisions we make to customize our portfolio. You can already see this difference in the products and solutions we have introduced in the past year within the IPMI segment. Whether it is helping individuals adopt better lifestyle choices or expanding our support, so customers have access to healthcare anytime, anywhere, our focus is on guaranteeing well-being every step of the way.

Over the past year, Cigna has launched its first-ever individual private medical insurance (IPMI) solution for the Middle East region. Can you walk us through the features of this IPMI plan?

Cigna HealthguardSM is a flexible health plan created for individuals and their families living and working in Dubai. This unique offering fills a critical gap in the local health insurance market by meeting the long-term health and well-being needs of a globally mobile population – which was apparent through our research in the region. Our annual Cigna Wellbeing Survey, for example, showed that up to 45 percent of respondents in the UAE pay for their own medical expenses, and that a majority of individuals are concerned about financing their family’s long-term health needs.

In response to this, Cigna HealthguardSM offers a flexible structure and modular approach that allows customers to tailor their plans according to personal needs for their assured long-term well-being. The plan has three tiers - Regional, International and International Plus – which customers can choose from, based on their travel and budget requirements.

Earlier this year, we introduced a refreshed and updated version of this solution for our customers after listening to the feedback that they have shared with us over the last year.

Besides the core offering such as out-patient consultation, inpatient and day-patient hospital treatment, our plans include health screenings, preventative dental treatment, evacuation and repatriation. Customers also have the option to include the Enhanced Healthy Connect Module. This module offers benefits such as 360 health screenings, genetic cancer screening, allergy tests and dietetic consultations

Moreover, our extensive regional and international network as well as its professional network make Cigna HealthguardSM a standout global product for Dubai’s expatriate population. We have an international network comprising over one million relationships, including 96,000 behavioural healthcare professionals and 11,400 facilities and clinics. Cigna also offers 24/7 multilingual customer service that includes prior authorization requests, finding providers and claims enquiries, and ensuring customers have the very best of care available as and when needed.

The Cigna Wellbeing AppTM further enhances our IPMI offering by allowing customers to access tools and resources designed to help with all their wellness needs. These include a biometrics tracking dashboard, an extensive health library containing articles and recipes, general health and targeted health and personality assessments as well as lifestyle coaching across the health spectrum. It also includes a Tele-health feature that allows users to connect with a doctor or specialist via phone or video, from the convenience of their home or office.

How is the IPMI market developing in the 1, Middle East and 2, North Africa, and how will these markets evolve in the next 5 years?

The region’s insurance market is ripe for expansion, with factors such as a rapidly expanding population, growth of the middle and affluent classes, and rise in chronic health conditions contributing to this trend. In the GCC alone, healthcare expenditure is reportedly set to grow to US$104.6 billion in 2022 from an estimated US$76.1 billion in 2017. We are seeing similar growth in markets such as Lebanon, where healthcare spending accounts for over seven percent of the GDP.

Besides the ongoing efforts towards infrastructure development and general well-being awareness in the region, we expect digital innovation to play a vital role in the IPMI sector. Specifically, innovations driven by big data analysis and AI will bring much-needed efficiencies to the sector. We are seeing this change in countries such as the UAE, where the adoption of AI solutions is expected to increase the country’s GDP by $96bn by 2030.

What role do mandatory health insurance schemes play in the adoption of IPMI?

Mandatory health insurance is an important driver in the growth and adoption of IPMI products and services. In markets such as the UAE, where regulations to this effect have been longstanding, the demand for highly personalized care is on the rise. Whereas, in markets such as Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, where mandatory health insurance policies are still at a nascent stage, there is room for more organic growth. This also comes down to the population mix in these markets. The UAE, with a 90 percent expatriate population offers a different playing field than Oman, for example, where the expat population accounts for just over 40 percent of the total. Yet, Oman’s Health Ministry confirms that only about nine percent of Omanis and 10 percent of expats in the private are currently insured, demonstrating a huge market opportunity waiting to be tapped.  

Can you explain what a typical IPMI customer looks like in the 1: Middle East, and 2, North Africa?

The main distinctions in customer profiles are more apparent in markets where we see a higher presence of expatriates. In the UAE, for example, our products cater more to the globally mobile population, including people who are likely to seek health treatments abroad and especially in their home country. In Lebanon, on the other hand, the focus is on localized healthcare. We introduced our global health benefits (GHB) proposition for employers in Lebanon in 2018, which on one hand guarantees access to the one million providers in our network worldwide, but also promises localized sales, underwriting and finance services to clients, as well as offers the insured population access to nuanced customer service and a strong network of 1,600 healthcare providers across the country. 

What do IPMI insurers need in 2019?

Insurers today are grappling with elevated levels of wastage, owing to insurance fraud especially within the individual medical insurance segment. This is a common challenge faced by the industry across the world, and one that costs millions on a yearly basis. Digital intervention and AI are increasingly paving the way for a more transparent and less fraudulent insurance ecosystem. However, greater collaboration between the public and private sector will further mitigate the effects of this issue. Knowledge-sharing and a timely exchange of best practices can streamline the sector in a way that was previously not possible. In 2019, we also need to see more provisions in place to build individual insurance offerings around the needs of the customer, whether it means greater security or more convenient access to healthcare. 

One of the most widely asked questions at iPMI Magazine is how big is the IPMI market. What do you think?

There is no single number that could effectively gauge the value of the global IPMI market. Fluctuations due to population rise, policy changes and other factors continue to impact IPMI prospects. Various reports value the global IPMI market between $12 billion to $13 billion in 2015-16, expected to grow to over $20 billion by 2019.

Last and not least, if you could live anywhere, on land or at sea, where would it be?

It would be Biarritz in France. I have a beach house there and the city is very lively and famous for surfing.

Related: Cigna Insurance Middle East Names Jerome Droesch New Chief Executive Officer

Learn more about Cigna IPMI and read news, articles and interviews on the micro website on iPMI Magazine, click here.



International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Policy Designed To Meet The Needs Of Expatriates Living In France Pre And Post BREXIT

APRIL International Care, the international private medical insurance (IPMI) division of APRIL Group, has launched MyHealth France, an IPMI policy designed to meet the needs of expatriates living in France in both the pre and post Brexit era

Commenting on the new policy launch, APRIL International UK Managing Director, Joe Thomas said, “This new policy will give considerable comfort and reassurance to UK and other nationals living in France, whilst Brexit negotiations continue. Healthcare insurance and healthcare costs in general have emerged as a major concern for all foreign nationals living in France, particularly UK nationals, so this solution should provide a clear way forward.”

France is currently home to 1.3 million expatriates of all nationalities, a figure which is expected to rise to 1.5 million within the next two years. UK nationals make up 150,000 of this group and are the largest single foreign nationality resident in the country. 

For expatriates who are no longer covered by the health system in their country of origin, the new policy from APRIL International Care can be used to meet top up expenses, which typically are not covered by the basic French social security system. These can include items such as the cost of a private room in hospitals and optical and dental services. The new policy offers a modular structure with five levels of cover to enable residents to pick their own level of protection. No age limit applies and no restrictions apply where pre-existing conditions exist.

Importantly for expatriates, the new policy is administered in English and includes a direct settlement network for medical expenses of 156,000 healthcare professionals within France when treatment is required. Policies are taken out on an individual basis, with premiums set according to age. The amount of medical costs reimbursed depends upon the level of cover taken and is paid after any French social security contribution. MyHealth France also offers policyholders up to 90 days of temporary cover if they travel outside France, for example, to visit their country of origin.


International Health Insurer Allianz Care Announces Appointments For Qatar And Germany

Allianz Care has announced two senior appointments, as Paul Halfyear takes over the role of General Manager for Qatar and Kai Großheim is appointed Sales Manager for Germany.

Paul has 29 years’ experience in the insurance industry, working in a variety of roles in both the UK and Qatar. He holds several sector-specific qualifications from both the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments. In his new role, Paul will lead Allianz Care’s work in Qatar towards sustainable growth and success.

Kai also has a strong background in the insurance industry, with over 22 years’ experience, including 16 years in the International Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) brokerage and consulting sector. He holds a degree in Insurance Business Administration from the University of Applied Sciences of Cologne. As Sales Manager for Germany, Kai will be focused on driving sales in the German market, bringing innovative healthcare solutions to clients and individuals across the region.

Speaking about the new appointments, Alexis Obligi said, “I am thrilled to welcome both Paul and Kai to the global Allianz Care team. Both have extensive experience working in the sector and bring vast region-specific knowledge to their roles. I look forward to working with them over the coming months and years as we continue to focus on the key markets of Qatar and Germany and wish them every success in their new positions.”

Allianz Care is the international health brand of Allianz Partners, which offers health, life and disability insurance as well as a wide range of health and protection services to employers and insurance partners worldwide.



International Medical Group WorldAware Team Up to Assist Customers and Clients

International Medical Group® has announced that it will be adding WorldAware’s security and travel intelligence services to its products and service offerings. 

For IMG’s retail customers, this means that WorldAware will provide members access to destination reports and alerts about natural disasters, political actions, and other general security information that may impact their travels. Effective January 2, 2019, this service will be included in all of IMG’s international private medical insurance plans (IPMI).

IMG is also excited to incorporate WorldAware’s integrated risk management services into their assistance service offerings for their institutional clients. The addition of this security assistance information and technology platform will complement IMG’s already expansive catalog of assistance programs including but not limited to cost containment, claims administration, and emergency medical transport.

By offering worldwide capabilities to quickly identify potentially disruptive local events, this is yet another way IMG can be there for its customers and bolster its security assistance services.

"This addition further expands our continuum of services as a provider of global insurance benefits and assistance services," said Executive Vice President Steve Paraboschi. "By offering our retail customers and institutional clients security assistance services, we are able to globally minimize their risks by protecting and serving them while they are away from home.”

Read more news about international private medical insurance plans here.

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