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Covered California Announces Rate Increases for 2016

Consumers should review new health insurance policies closely for "hidden premiums," including narrow provider networks, high deductibles and climbing cost-sharing that can result in major unexpected medical bills.

Health insurance rates released by Covered California today increased an average 4 percent for 2016, similar to projected rate increases reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation in major metropolitan areas around the country.  Insurance regulators in other states have the power to reduce these proposed rate increases before they are final, if a review finds they are unjustified, but regulators in California do not have that authority.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that 44 percent of Covered California policyholders already have difficulty paying health insurance premiums, while the Urban Institute found that, among insured adults, those with higher deductibles also have more problems paying medical bills.

"On top of an increased sticker price, consumers should watch out for the 'hidden premium' owed if they use their coverage and face thousands of dollars in high deductibles, or unlimited out of pocket costs when shrinking narrow networks force them to see out of network providers," said Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog.

Many consumers have discovered they are responsible for large medical bills after determining a provider is in network, only to be told after the fact they are not covered. Covered California today said it has encouraged insurance companies to create these "skinny" provider networks.

As premiums and cost-sharing increase, health insurance company profits are also rising. Anthem's profits have surged, with $2.6 billion in 2014 and a prediction of record profits in 2015. Blue Shield of California reported a profit of $162 million in 2014, and has $4 billion in reserves. Kaiser's profits jumped 15 percent in 2014 to$3.1 billion. Health Net had a profit of $145.6 million in 2014, and total revenues for the first quarter in 2015 increased 28% from a year ago.

Anthem and Blue Shield signed up an estimated 57 percent of Covered California's market this year. Overall, they, along with Kaiser Permanente and the smaller Health Net, cornered 94 percent of the market.

While Covered California today encouraged consumers to shop around, it also limited competition by restricting the markets in which new entrant UnitedHealth Group can sell coverage so it could not "undercut" its competitors.

"It's a genuine mystery why Covered California would protect the state's three health insurance giants from competition from their biggest rival," said Balber.

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Starr Companies And Aetna International Launch 2 International Private Medical Insurance Plans For Philippines Market

Starr Companies and Aetna International have launched two international private medical insurance products specifically designed to provide access to high-quality healthcare to expatriate and local employees of companies based in the Philippines. These products will be available to companies directly or via their brokers.  

A total of four base plans for each product are on offer with a menu of additional benefits and sums insured. Policy issuance, claims and customer service will be managed in the Philippines by the Philippines Branch of Starr International Insurance (Asia) Limited (“Starr International Insurance”) and the Starr International Insurance team of bi-lingual staff to cater for both local and international members.

The International Healthcare Plan allows members and dependents to get medical care worldwide*, either within Aetna’s network or at the facility of their choice. The Healthy AEssentials Plan is a flexible solution designed for groups seeking comprehensive regional coverage within Southeast Asia.

Both products are underwritten by Starr International Insurance, a Starr Companies insurance carrier with an A (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best Company. The healthcare policies to be issued by Starr International Insurance are reinsured by Aetna Life & Casualty (Bermuda) Ltd., an Aetna Company, and are based on Aetna’s International Healthcare Plan and Aetna Healthy AEssentials Plan.

Derek Goldberg, managing director, Southeast Asia at Aetna International said, “Despite the Philippines being a popular destination for expatriates, and the expanding healthcare needs of the local market, there are limited options for regional and global healthcare solutions that are fully compliant with local market regulations. With the resources of our regional partner, Starr International Insurance, we have been able to develop two comprehensive healthcare plans that provide flexibility and choice for expats and local nationals in the country.”

“This exciting development for the Philippines market reaffirms our strong and expanding relationship with Aetna International in the Asia region,” said Ross Matthews, President and CEO of Starr International Insurance.

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OUT NOW: International Private Medical Insurance Companies and Providers V1.1

Underwriters and providers are represented and Team iPMIM would like to take this opportunity to say a warm thank you to all of the guide sponsors including ALC Health, Cigna Global iPMI, Expatriate Group, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Healthcare International, Integra Global and Wellaway.

GET LISTED

List your company in the iPMI Magazine iPMI company guide. Working hand-in-hand with your own company micro website on iPMIM, this guide can land-your-brand on the desk of an eclectic worldwide readership.

iPOLICY Magazine Issue 004 June 2015 Powered By International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) from iPMI Magazine on Vimeo.

CONNECT

To get in touch with and contact International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) simply send us an email. You can write to the team on: ipmiATipmimagazine.com and we will get back in touch right away. (replace AT with @)

The new directory is also featured in our Medical Broker and Intermediary report, iPolicy.

Issue 4 is out now and can be found at: https://ipolicymagazine.com/read-ipolicy/item/274-ipolicy-issue-4

iPolicy Issue 4 kicks off with an executive interview with the new Managing Director @ Cigna Global iPMI.

About the iPMI Company Directory

Delivering pertinent company information to worldwide insurance brokers, intermediaries and agents the International Private Medical Insurance Magazine iPMI Provider Network Directory is the definitive global resource featuring international medical insurance underwriters and providers.

Identify, select and source the most appropriate insurance partners that may assist you expand your product portfolio range and coverage. Designed by iPMI providers for iPMI brokers, the directory works hand-in-hand with iPMI Magazine company micro web sites. Follow the interactive links throughout the directory for more company intelligence and content.

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FEATURE: This Week's Top Medical Healthcare Expatriate Travel Insurance Assistance News

Healthy April Passenger Demand

Global passenger traffic results for April showing robust demand growth compared to April 2014. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 5.9%. April capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.1%, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage points to 79.4%.…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:43 in iPMI Magazine Travel News

Airline Profitability Strengthens Further

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an upward revision of its 2015 industry outlook to a $29.3 billion net profit. On expected revenues of $727 billion, the industry would achieve a 4.0% net profit margin. The significant strengthening from…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:56 in iPMI Magazine Travel News

Preliminary First Quarter Commercial Aviation Safety Performance Data

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released preliminary first quarter 2015 (January 1-March 31) commercial aviation safety performance data. The preliminary results are subject to revision based on the determination of the Accident Classification Task Force. The first quarter 2015…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:53 in iPMI Magazine Travel News

The Financial Shock Of A Sudden Disability Or Critical Illness

A sudden critical illness or disability can have serious financial consequences for the individuals and families affected. However, most Europeans do not have the financial protection in place to deal with such a shock. According to Swiss Re's European Insurance…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:52 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Airlines To Address Carry-On Bag Dilemma

Download video (MP4) Interview with Tom Windmuller, IATA SVP for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security The International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced a new initiative to optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies.…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:50 in iPMI Magazine Travel News

Industry Stepping Up Engagement On Consumer Protection

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is stepping up efforts to engage with stakeholders—governments, travelers and consumer groups—on the important issue of consumer protection. There are now over 60 countries with some form of passenger rights regulations, with more countries…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:48 in iPMI Magazine Travel News

Air Freight Momentum Slows

Global air freight markets showing a 3.3% increase in cargo volumes (freight tonne kilometers or FTKs) in April 2015 compared to April in the previous year. While there is growth compared to the same month in 2014, there has been…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:45 in iPMI Magazine Travel News

Are Employers Ready To Keep Employees Fit For work?

Cigna UK HealthCare Benefits (Cigna UKHB) shares findings from new research on employer readiness to adopt the Department of Work and Pension’s (DWP) new Fit for Work occupational health service. As the DWP is currently rolling out their new Fit…Written on Friday, 12 June 2015 04:40 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Assurant To Exit Health Insurance Market

Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) has concluded a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives for its health business and will exit the health insurance market as the Company sharpens its focus on housing and lifestyle specialty protection offerings. To maximize shareholder value, Assurant…Written on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 15:32 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

ING Exchanges EUR 337.5 Million Notes Of NN Anchor Investors Into NN Shares

ING announced today it will exchange the second tranche of EUR 337.5 million of mandatory exchangeable subordinated notes into 13.6 million NN Group ordinary shares. The exchange is part of the anchor investment in NN Group by three Asian institutional…Written on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 09:50 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Tokio Marine Holdings To Acquire HCC Insurance Holdings In $7.5 Billion Transaction

Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc. (TMHD) and HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (HCC) (NYSE:HCC) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which TMHD will acquire all outstanding shares of HCC, a U.S. insurance holding company comprising property &…Written on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 09:47 in iPMI Magazine Mergers Acquisitions News

International Assistance Group’s Partners Are Mobilized To Help Nepal Earthquake Victims

As one of the world’s leading network of international assistance providers, International Assistance Group (IAG) has a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of natural and manmade disasters. Rarely have these skills been more apparent than in the…Written on Friday, 05 June 2015 10:10 in iPMI Magazine Medical Travel Technical Roadside Assistance Company News

How K&R Risks Relate To Everyday Business

Since 2001, the threats associated with international organizations have changed, growing each year. Some dangerous hotspots are exhaustively covered in the news, such as the Middle East or Somalia, but others might be unexpected. Kidnappings can and do occur everywhere—no…Written on Thursday, 04 June 2015 11:13 in iPMI Magazine Risk News

ABOUT International Private Medical Insurance Magazine

International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) is the ultimate International Private Medical Insurance online platform and health insurance magazine, serving global expatriate, corporate, health and travel insurance markets.

Due to the nomadic nature of the international healthcare industry International Private Medical Insurance Magazine is an internet based news service for worldwide healthcare professionals, who need to understand the impacts of healthcare and insurance policy, regulatory, and legislative developments.International Private Medical Insurance Magazine is the leading international industry voice, of the international travel, health, expat, assistance and private medical insurance market.

International Private Medical Insurance Magazine  details private medical insurance providers; the advantages and disadvantages of private medical insurance; international private medical insurance Vs travel insurance; private medical insurance comparison; International Private Medical Insurance Magazine  acts as a worldwide guide to private medical insurance, with the most up-to-date news and views from leading providers of private medical insurance plans, including private medical insurance companies like Cigna International, Globality Health, Eurocross Turkey, HTH Worldwide, ALC Healthcare, GeoBlue, Integra Global, Expatriate Healthcare and many more.

Health insurance cover and risk protection for expatriates, business travellers, tourists, mobile and remote workers and multinational corporations managing global mobility programs and frequent corporate travel plans.

https://ipmimagazine.com

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Canadians Unaware About The Full Cost Of Health Care

According to the findings from the 2014 Canadian Health Index issued by Sun Life Financial, nine out of 10 Canadians (89 per cent) believe they are fully covered for all costs associated with hospital stays and psychiatric treatment. Additionally almost four out of five Canadians say that they do not expect to pay out of pocket to cover costs associated with:

  • nursing home/long-term care residence (79 per cent)
  • hearing aids (78 per cent)
  • home care (76 per cent)

In fact, it is common for patients to pay some amount personally for these and other health care expenses.

To help Canadians understand what governments, employee benefit plans and personal insurance cover, Sun Life Financial has released a series of provincial healthcare funding guides. These comprehensive guides outline and detail coverage options, personal costs and other key considerations for six common health events or services:

  • Disability
  • Home care
  • Long term (nursing home) care
  • Palliative (end-of-life) care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Travel emergency medical

The provincial healthcare funding guides are found at: www.sunlife.ca/whopaysforhealthcare

"Canada's health insurance system was set up to respond to people's need for it, rather than for their ability to pay for it. However, our research revealed that a large majority of Canadians are not aware that not everything is covered by their provincial health insurance," says Brigitte Parent, Senior Vice President, Individual Insurance & Wealth, Sun Life Financial Canada.  "We hope that our new healthcare funding guides will help Canadians in understanding what's covered and what's not."  

Though government and employer health plans provide complementary coverage for many health related expenses, there are common, necessary medical services that are not fully covered.

The healthcare guides are organized by province and contain practical, informative and easily accessible information with links to other authoritative websites for more detail. 

For more key findings and results on the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index, visit www.sunlife.ca/CanadianHealthIndex.

About the Sun Life Canadian Health Index survey

The Sun Life Canadian Health Index measures the attitudes of Canadians towards healthy lifestyles and reports these in the form of an index.

The fifth annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index is based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 19, 2014and July 2, 2014. A sample of 2,799 Canadians from 18 to 80 years of age from the Ipsos Canadian panel was interviewed online.

Ipsos Reid employed weighting to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos Reid online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within + 2.1% at 95% Confidence Level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial
Celebrating 150 years in 2015, Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines,Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda.

As of December 31, 2014 the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $734 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

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HTH Worldwide Offers New Travel Protection Plans

HTH Worldwide have announced the availability of travel protection insurance plans with important upgrades, including robust benefits and competitive pricing. HTH's TripProtector plans offer comprehensive travel and health benefits, three levels of coverage, and pricing that fits travelers' personal characteristics and itineraries. These plans cover both domestic and international trips and are underwritten by Nationwide®.

TripProtector plans cover trip cancellation and interruption for illness, terrorism, and dangerous weather, as well as baggage loss and trip delay. Medical benefits include outpatient and inpatient services for sickness and injury, and medical evacuation. Plan designs come in three levels and top out at $50,000 of trip cancellation, 200% of trip costs for trip interruption, $500,000 in medical benefits and $1 million in medical evacuation.

"Many traditional travel protection plans offer an array of coverages but fall short on medical benefits," said Brendan Sharkey, Director of Individual Products at HTH Worldwide. "Travelers often feel compelled to buy an additional travel medical plan. TripProtector offers travelers the best of both worlds, making it a great option for people interested in protecting both their health and their investment."

All TripProtector customers enjoy HTH Worldwide's exceptional member service and medical assistance, including concierge-level access to the best local doctors and hospitals all around the world. They also carry with them HTH's award-winning mPassport app to search for English-speaking, highly qualified doctors, translate key medical terms and phrases, and find country-specific equivalents for brand name medications.

For a full description of the new TripProtector plans and to purchase online, visit www.hthtravelinsurance.com.

SOURCE: https://ipmimagazine.com/medical-health-insurance/en/health-medical-travel-expatriate-insurance-product-news/item/3448-hth-worldwide-offers-new-travel-protection-plans

 

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International Private Medical Insurance VS Local Health Insurance

In the most recent International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Executive Round Table business forum, we speak with leading C-Level Executives about the major differences between international and local health insurance plans.

 

As expatriate hot spots around the world continue to mandate health insurance cover for expat employees, under various visa and employment laws, questions from the business community continue to be raised. Issues focus around how new laws will help and assist expatriates and what levels of cover they may expect from local health insurance plans.

 

 

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Study Reveals Strong Link Between Employee Engagement and Employee Perceptions of Total Rewards

Aon Hewitt Study Reveals Strong Link Between Employee Engagement and Employee Perceptions of Total Rewards. Honest Leader Communication Also Influences Engagement

With rising health benefit costs and relatively flat wage increases deflating employees' perceptions of their work environment, new survey data from Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), shows a strong relationship between employees' perceptions of their Total Rewards package and their overall engagement levels.

Aon Hewitt recently surveyed more than 2,500 U.S. employees at mid-size and large U.S. employers to determine their perspectives and attitudes about their employment experience―including values and culture, work environment, engagement, total rewards and communication.

The survey found that 60 percent of engaged employees say their Total Rewards overall (everything an employer provides to an employee, including pay, benefits, and the work environment) are above or well above what other employers offer, while only one-quarter (24 percent) of those who are disengaged say so. Similarly among engaged employees, half (51 percent) view career development/training programs as better than what other employers offer, while only 19 percent of disengaged employees would rate these programs as better competitively.

"While we consistently see employees ranking pay as the most valuable reward they earn from their employer, it's not the only thing that matters," said Ray Baumruk, partner, employee research leader, Aon Hewitt. "Engaged employees value a more balanced, less oriented toward pay-only, rewards package compared to those who are disengaged."

Understanding and Perceived Competitiveness of Total Rewards
According to Aon Hewitt's survey, paid time off (84 percent) and base pay (83 percent) were the most understood of all Total Rewards programs, while bonus (64 percent), career development/training (61 percent) and work/life balance (60 percent) were among the least understood.

"Employees are telling us that nothing about their Total Rewards package stands out," said Baumruk. "This lack of differentiation could be damaging to attraction, and many of the least understood programs are also the ones viewed by employees as less competitive." 

While overall awareness and understanding was strong, perception of competitiveness could be improved. Employees rated their current employer's paid time off programs (42 percent) and pension plans (41 percent) as above the competition. Bonus incentives/commissions (30 percent), base pay (27 percent), career development/training programs (22 percent) and work/life balance (20 percent) were less likely to be viewed as competitive relative to other companies.

"Companies could see improvements in employee engagement by increasing awareness and understanding of these programs," said Pam Hein, partner, Communication Consulting, Aon Hewitt. "Often providing Total Rewards statements and related web tools can help foster greater understanding.  Administering engaging quizzes or quick assessments to employees can also draw attention to rewards that may be undervalued or misunderstood."

Total Rewards by Gender
According to Aon Hewitt's data, men are more likely than women to perceive their Total Rewards to be competitive. More specifically, men are more likely to believe their pay programs are better than others (39 percent) and their bonus opportunity is better than what other organizations provide (38 percent). Male participants are also more likely to say the following rewards are well above or above what other organizations offer:

  • Savings and company-match programs (40 percent)

  • Work/life balance programs (38 percent)

  • Life and disability insurance (32 percent)

Total Rewards by Generation
Perceived competitiveness of Total Rewards is also higher among Millennials than other generations, particularly on career development/training programs (41 percent).

Better Communication Improves Engagement
According to the study's findings, there is a significant gap between the communication perceptions of engaged and disengaged employees. Among engaged employees, more than three-quarters (77 percent) feel encouraged to share ideas while only 22 percent of those who are disengaged would agree. Similar gaps exist when considering how open and honest senior leaders are viewed, and how managers share and provide information with employees.

Communication Perception (strongly agree/agree)

Total Population

Engaged

Not Engaged

Encouraged to share ideas

47%

77%

22%

Senior leaders open and honest

38%

67%

14%

Managers provide relevant and valuable input on performance or work experience

46%

74%

23%

Aon Hewitt's study revealed that most employees feel they receive the right amount of communication on benefits and job-related topics. Employees feel they receive too little communication related to important aspects of engagement such as career development (42 percent), recognition of efforts and achievement (46 percent), incentive/bonus pay (40 percent) and work/life balance or stress management (40 percent).

"The most engaged employees are the ones who are encouraged to share ideas and who witness open, honest communication from senior leadership," said Hein. "Offering communication training for managers and leaders, regularly sharing key messages, and instituting performance- and reward-related metrics, related to communication from managers and leaders, will be essential to achieve improvement in this area."

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Funded Status Of U.S. Pension Plans Falls In 1st Quarter

The funded status of U.S. pension plans dropped in the first quarter of 2015 as liabilities outpaced asset growth, according to a new analysis by Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON).

According to Aon Hewitt's Pension Risk Tracker[1], the funded deficit for U.S. pensions increased by $32 billion in the first quarter of 2015 and the aggregate funded ratio dropped to 82.0 percent in the first quarter of 2015, from 83.2 percent in the previous quarter.

"The first quarter saw variability in funded status from month to month, with February's improved funded status ultimately being offset by decreases in both January and March," explained Ari Jacobs, Global Retirement Solutions leader at Aon Hewitt. "Falling interest rates continue to drive liabilities higher, outpacing pension asset growth. As a result, we anticipate continued settlement activity throughout 2015. Additionally, in-year declines in interest rates may contribute to the attractiveness of lump sum programs, which often base lump sum rates on interest rate levels from the end of the previous year, resulting in potential accounting gains for plan sponsors."

Pension liabilities increased by 2.1 percent, or $44 billion in the first quarter, as interest rates fell. The drop in ten-year Treasury rates (-0.23 percent) and widening credit spreads (0.05 percent), resulted in a 0.18 percent drop in the discount rate over the quarter for the typical pension plan. 

This rise in pension liabilities overshadowed the 2.27 percent returns, or $12 billion of asset growth for the same period. Return-seeking assets in the Russell 3000 Index returned 1.80 percent, while bonds outperformed equities during the first quarter.

[1] Aon Hewitt tracks the daily funded status of 361 S&P 500 companies with defined benefit pension plans. The above analysis reflects the roll-forward of the total defined benefit pension plan information from the FYE 2013 10-K disclosures.

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Group Risk Insurance Continues To Show Strong Growth In The UK

  • 200,000 more people received life and disability insurance cover arranged by their employers in 2014, adding to the very strong growth of 300,000 new people last year;
  • Since 2010, the number of people insured under group risk schemes has grown by almost 1.25 million;
  • Good premium growth of 7.9% across all lines; 8.9% increase in in-force death benefit premiums, 6% in long-term disability income premiums, and 7.8% increase in critical illness premiums;
  • Excepted group life premiums grew 27.9% and benefits by 29.4%, reflecting the response to changes to the lifetime allowance;
  • Number of new schemes grew as more employers set up excepted group life policies and critical illness schemes, but long-term disability income schemes continue to decline.

The excellent growth in the UK group risk insurance market continued in 2014, according to Swiss Re'sGroup Watch 2015. Premiums were higher in all product areas, with an overall growth of close to 8% for the year. Importantly, over 200,000 more people are now benefitting from life and disability insurance products arranged through their employer. The report finds that the market is resilient, but that there are still challenges, most particularly where the number of new to market disability income schemes remains disappointing.

"These are good figures for the group risk market – but they hide the fact that this industry is at a crossroads," says Russell Higginbotham, CEO Swiss Re UK & Ireland. "The welfare state cannot continue to fund at current levels and the next Government will have to make cuts to the welfare budget. Insurers need to be ready to step up and adapt to that new reality. If we don't, we may find existing models under threat in the same way that reforms have reconfigured pension provision."  

Group Watch 2015 reported steady growth across most lines of products. Premium growth was again very strong in the group death benefits sector with GBP 1.25 billion in-force premiums reported for 2014. This strong growth continues the trend from previous years, and is the first time the market recorded annual growth in excessive of GBP 100 million.

As in 2013, excepted group life premiums performed very well, with premiums growing by 27.9%. The move reflects the reduction of the lifetime allowance, which imposes a cap on pension savings of GBP 1.25 million. With the limit set to be reduced further to GBP 1.0 million from April 2016, employers are likely to continue preferring the simplicity this option presents.

The number of people insured for long-term disability income protection through their employers increased by 1.9% for 2014, building on the important milestone of two million people insured which was reached in 2013. In-force premiums were up 6.0% to nearly GBP 634 million. There was a decrease in the number of in-force schemes of 0.4% to 17,119.

Critical illness covers again experienced strong growth. In 2014, almost 475,000 people were covered, an increase of more than 90,000. In-force premiums increased by 7.8% and sums assured by 15.2%. The number of in-force schemes increased by 7.0% to 2,840.

"The results show solid growth once again but we need to decide if we want to carry on as we have done for the past few years or offer something more ambitious," says Ron Wheatcroft, author of the report.  "Auto-enrolment could be the way to increase coverage if we are unable to deliver growth to begin to fill the gap which will be left by declining state provision. Employees tell us that they would value greater workplace access to products and services but, somehow, this hasn't translated to more coverage."

Key figures from Group Watch 2015 (in GBP millions)

Total In-force premiums at end of year

Product Type

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Death benefits

897

919

956

1,055

1,149

1,250

Long-term disability income

568

517

518

563

598

634

Critical Illness

48

50

55

60

67

73

Group Watch 2015 analyses and summarises group risk business results at the end of 2014. It also uses a qualitative survey among 34 insurers and intermediaries in the group risk market, conducted in February 2015.

The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 60 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "Aa3" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: www.swissre.com or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.

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