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iPMI Magazine Speaks with Antony Brown MBE, Head of Africa, Aetna International

In this exclusive iPMI Magazine interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, met with Antony Brown MBE, Head of Africa at Aetna International. They discussed in detail the international private medical insurance market in Africa, and the Sanlam Pan Africa and Aetna International Global Health Plan.

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

After 10 years with Her Majesty’s UK Foreign Office, I started the African subsidiary of InterGlobal Private Medical Insurance in 2008, as a member of the Executive Management team, and with overall responsibility for the Africa region as Regional General Manager, I later accepted the role of Head of Business in Africa for Aetna International following the acquisition of Interglobal by Aetna.

I have traveled extensively across the continent and I have a thorough understanding of the key insurance services required in local markets. I am also very well-versed in the regulatory requirements needed by insurers looking to operate stand-alone insurance businesses or partner with local insurance entities, in the region.

Sanlam Pan Africa and Aetna International have joined forces to deliver Africa’s “most comprehensive health care solution”. Can you walk us through the features and benefits of the new IPMI plan for Africa?

This offering has been created in partnership with Sanlam Pan Africa to address the healthcare needs of both local and expatriate nationals, on an international basis, across all market segments in 20 countries in Africa. Global Health offers a broad range of benefits, an extensive direct billing medical network and an enhanced member experience with local in-country service. The Global Health Plan reflects the needs and concerns of our clients and members across Africa, by giving them access to quality health care in a cost-effective way.

Through this partnership, we bring together the Africa-specific experience of Sanlam Pan Africa with the global expertise of Aetna International to deliver Africa’s most comprehensive and locally compliant health care solution with broad international access.

The Global Health proposition provides four plan levels — Value, Essential, Plus and Premium — with coverage ranging from US$100,000 to US$5,000,000. Depending on the tiers, the plans offer a host of health and well-being benefits, including cancer care, inpatient psychiatric treatment or psychotherapy, HIV or AIDS, terminal care, dental, optical and emergency treatment outside the area of cover.

With pre-authorised inpatient care across all of Africa and outpatient direct billing across the 20 Africa markets, Global Health offers members access to one of the widest medical networks locally and globally, as well as a 24/7 multilingual call centre for emergency and evacuation immediate assistance.

Who is the target market for the Global Health plan and why?

The Global Health Plan addresses the needs of the local market in 20 countries across Africa, for all employee levels: administrative, management and executive. Depending on the choice of cover, it offers access to health care in the country of residence but also abroad, for cases where medical expertise is not available locally or where the member is travelling. 

Geographically speaking, which countries does the new Global Health Plan cover?

Global Health is sold in 20 countries across the continent including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville*, Gabon, Guinea Conakry*, Ivory Coast, Mali, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania. Members in these countries can choose one of four variants of area coverage:

Area 1: Worldwide Inc. US

Area 2: Worldwide Excl. US

Area 3: Europe Inc. Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon & Bangladesh

Area 4: Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon & Bangladesh

* Subject to OFAC regulations

Regarding access to healthcare across Africa, and the medical network, what are the options?

Members have access to an extensive direct billing medical network across the continent and beyond with more than 8,000 directly contracted providers in Africa and over 1.3 million health care professionals globally.

Emergency and non-emergency evacuation remain a critical feature of any IPMI plan. What options are available?

All four variants of the plan — Value, Essential, Plus and Premium — offer medical evacuation and in-patient cover as standard, but the coverage limits vary depending on the plan tier. For members under the Platinum plan, the cover is 100% of the medical evacuation costs.

What currency and billing options are available for insureds seeking access to healthcare under the Global Health plan?

Whether it is choice of medical provider or level of benefits, flexibility is a key value proposition of the plan and the same is true for billing.

For plan sponsors, premiums can be invoiced centrally in USD, or in the local currency of each respective country, subject to local laws and regulations.  

For members, Global Health offers outpatient treatment from within the available network on a direct billing basis in each of the 20 countries — the medical provider invoices us, as the insurer, directly without the need for the member to pay at the point of service. Inpatient treatment is required to be pre-authorised beforehand, and arrangements will be made by us, as the insurer, for the medical provider to bill us directly without the member having to pay. 

Can you please give us some more background on Sanlam Pan Africa?

Sanlam Pan Africa is the Sanlam Group’s business cluster that manages financial services in the emerging markets in Africa (excluding South Africa). Africa is a fundamental component of the Sanlam Group’s vision, which is the strategic mission of Sanlam Pan Africa — to build a leading pan-African financial services group.

Founded in 1918 as a life insurance company, Sanlam has become the largest non-banking financial services group in Africa, through its global diversification strategy and an unmatched

Pan-African footprint in more than 30 countries. Over the years, Sanlam has established itself as a financial services leader in the emerging markets in Africa and Asia.

What opportunities exist in the African market for international private medical insurance? Africa is a challenging geography – what issues on the ground, are expats and travelers facing when it comes to accessing high quality healthcare?

Africa is certainly challenging; its sheer size and diversity means that it is impossible to make broad generalisations on healthcare across the continent. Each country has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to accessing healthcare in any situation. For example, while coverage of healthcare can be patchy in rural areas, the quality of service in urban areas is certainly improving and often the challenge can be in arranging and funding care. In this respect, many parts of Africa are leading the way technologically when it comes to seamlessly booking appointments and minimising the use of cash, and Kenya is a great example of this.  We expect this capability to expand and, as the use of technology becomes a norm, insurance companies and medical providers will have to be ready with digital offerings, like telehealth services, to meet the demands of their members. 

The diversity of the countries in terms of language, currencies, cultures, and service expectation is also a challenge. We believe we have managed to address these aspects by making our plans as locally relevant as possible — the plans offer cover to local nationals, all documentation is available in the primary language of the country, we offer local invoicing and currency payment options, access to primary care on a direct billing basis, and local in-country representation. 

In 5 years’ time how will the international private medical insurance market look in Africa?

In recent years we have seen employers across Africa pivot from traditional offshore international medical insurance providers to local ones. However, few local providers have the capacity to offer international cover, which in Africa, where certain forms of treatment are not always available locally, is essential. Combining the expertise and capabilities of Aetna and Sanlam not only solves for such issues but offers access to a world-class comprehensive healthcare service. 

Furthermore, as a result of the global pandemic, we are seeing employers across the globe re-think their strategies when it comes to sending their staff on expat assignments, meaning that we expect a pivot towards more local hiring. Africa is no exception, particularly as the local workforce becomes more skilled and self-sufficient. What this means is potentially less demand for the traditional, high-cost fully international plans, which are the norm today, and an uptick in demand for plans that are more focused on regional cover, with comprehensive yet affordable benefits. This is exactly where we position Global Health; fit for today’s market and yet future-proofed for the changes ahead.

 

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International Travel Risk Security Advice, Warnings, News And Intelligence

Kenya Travel Advice: Heightened Personal Security During The Christmas Holiday Season

The Kenyan authorities have advised heightened personal security during the Christmas holiday season; on 21 December 2015, the Kenyan Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government issued a public watch notice urging citizens to play a role in counter terrorism and prevention of criminal activities by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity, items and people. 117,000 British residents visited Kenya in 2014. International Private Medical Insurance For Kenya Take out comprehensive international private medical insurance before you travel to Kenya, to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad or emergency repatriation and evacuation. Be sure to read…Written on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 15:32 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Turkey Travel Warning: Reports Of An Explosion At Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Reports of an explosion at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul at around 2am on 23 December 2015; the circumstances of the incident are currently under investigation; the airport remains open. Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. Visas British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours. If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel. Only use the…Written on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 12:03 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Tunisia Travel Warning: State Of Emergency Has Been Extended For 2 Months

State of emergency has been extended for 2 months from 24 December until 21 February 2016. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces are on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations. You should be especially vigilant and avoid crowded places over the holiday period, including around Mouled (24 December), Christmas and New Year. If you choose to travel to or remain in Tunisia then you should check that your insurance policy provides adequate cover. You should be especially vigilant and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities. There are no direct flights…Written on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 11:08 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


USA Travel Advice: Changes To Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)

18 December 2015 and the US Congress passed a Bill updating the requirements for the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). Under the new rules, with effect from 1 April 2016, all travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP will need to hold a passport with an integrated chip. Around 3.8 million British nationals visit the United States every year. Most visits are trouble free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa, but…Written on Tuesday, 22 December 2015 11:05 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Brazil Travel Warning: Cases Of Zika Virus Reported

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in a number of states; you should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Brazil. Foreign nationals are entitled to emergency medical treatment in Brazilian public hospitals. Public hospitals in Brazil, especially in major cities, tend to be crowded. Private hospitals will not accept you unless you can present evidence of sufficient funds or insurance. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency…Written on Monday, 14 December 2015 15:20 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Philippines Travel Warning: Typhoon Melor (Nona)

Typhoon Melor (Nona) forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the country from 14 December 2015. Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year. Most typhoons occur from June to December. There may be flooding and landslides. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Typhoon Melor (Nona) is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the country, in particular northern Visayas and southern Luzon, from 14 December. Around 133,665 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2014. Take out comprehensive…Written on Monday, 14 December 2015 12:26 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Lebanon Travel Security Warning: Explosions In Southern Suburb Area Beirut

12 November 2015 and there were explosions in the southern suburb area of Beirut. Reports indicate that many people have been killed and injured. iPMIM advises against all travel to the southern suburbs of Beirut. Avoid this area and monitor local media for updates. On 10 January 2015, 9 people were killed and over 30 wounded in a suicide bomb attack in the Jebel Mohsen area of Tripoli. On 28 January 2015, there was an attack on the Israeli military in the Shebaa Farms area with reports of cross-border shelling near the towns of Majidiyeh, Kfarshouba, Abbasiye and Wazzani. A…Written on Friday, 13 November 2015 14:00 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence

iPMIM Advises Against All But Essential Travel By Air To Or From Sharm El Sheikh Airport

Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free. 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. There is a significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive device. As a precautionary measure, we are now advising against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh. UK carriers will not take passengers directly to Sharm el Sheikh airport. FCO are working with the Egyptian authorities and air carriers to put special security measures in place…Written on Thursday, 05 November 2015 07:39 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence
Philippines Travel Advice: Security Ramped Up For APEC Summit

The Philippines hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Manila on 16 to 20 November. There will be a heightened security presence across the city including at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Scheduled road closures and security checkpoints will cause delays in travel across the city and many schools, government offices and businesses will be closed. If you are flying to or from Manila during this period check with your airline, as flight delays, diversions and cancellations may occur. Around 133,665 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2014. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance…Written on Monday, 02 November 2015 14:14 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence

Egypt Travel Advice

31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai; Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place from 18 October to 23 November. There may be rallies around the country in the run up to the elections. You should avoid all rallies and demonstrations. On election days tight controls will be in place around polling stations with access restricted to voters and officially accredited observers. In previous elections British nationals have been arrested close…Written on Monday, 02 November 2015 11:20 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


UK FCO: Concerns About Quality Of Medical Treatment In Holiday Resorts In Egypt

The South Sinai Hospital in Sharm el Sheikh is currently under investigation by the Egyptian Ministry of Health; there are alternative state and private hospitals in Sharm el Sheikh. You can find a list of most commonly used hospitals in Egypt on the British Embassy website. In an emergency dial 123 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your travel company and your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. There are reports of some hotel doctors overcharging for treatment and medicines. Examine your bill closely and challenge excessive charges. Pharmacies outside…Written on Monday, 05 October 2015 11:21 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Tajikistan Travel Warning: Armed Clashes Involving Security Forces Resulting In A Number Of Deaths Reported Close To Dushanbe International Airport

4 September, armed clashes involving security forces resulting in a number of deaths were reported close to Dushanbe International Airport. Tajik authorities are investigating and there is an increased security presence in the area. Given the possibility of further incidents, you should take extra care and monitor the local media. Tourism, health and transport infrastructure is poor and travel requires careful planning. Avoid off-road areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, which may be mined. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance including evacuation by air ambulance before you travel.Written on Friday, 04 September 2015 10:56 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


International Trains From Budapest Have Been Suspended Until Further Notice

International trains from Budapest Keleti train station have been suspended until further notice due to disruption. Monitor the local media, and check with your carrier and the Hungarian Railways (MÁV) website for further information. Since the end of August 2015 there has been considerable disruption to rail and road transport from Budapest to the Austrian border. This is due to police and border enforcement action as a result of significant numbers of people seeking to transit through Hungary. Around 400,000 British nationals visit Hungary each year. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.Written on Friday, 04 September 2015 10:53 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


India Travel Warning: Flood Warnings For Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam And West Bengal

A flood warning has been issued to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and West Bengal due to the possibility of heavy rainfall in the foothills of the Himalayas over the next few days. The rainfall will also lead to swelling of rivers Kosi, Gandak and Ghaghara, tributaries of Ganga and all tributaries of Brahmaputra. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Indian Meteorological Department and follow the advice of local authorities and your travel company. Over 800,000 British nationals visit India every year. Before you travel to India, take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance and read the…Written on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 06:20 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence

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