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Allianz Global Assistance Named Preferred Travel Insurance Provider Of Hickory Global Partners

Allianz Global Assistance USA announced that it has become the preferred travel insurance provider of Hickory Global Partners (HICKORY), a travel management services company providing innovative service, distribution and technology to its network of travel agency and supplier partners. The agreement provides HICKORY-affiliated travel agencies with access to Allianz Travel Insurance products and a new Business Travel Protection plan.

Allianz Travel Insurance products* include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delays, baggage delays and loss, as well as for medical and dental emergencies and 24/7 travel assistance to customers who may need help while they’re traveling. The new Business Travel Protection product provides post–departure coverage for delays, lost or delayed baggage, emergency medical expenses, evacuation and access to 24/7 assistance and concierge services.

“We are very pleased to provide our members with access to the award-winning travel insurance and assistance products offered by Allianz Global Assistance,” said Chris Dane, President, Hickory Global Partners. “Now our member agencies can offer their clients additional peace of mind by protecting their trips from lost costs associated with covered unforeseen events.”

“We are proud to be named the preferred travel insurance provider of Hickory Global Partners,” said Richard Aquino, Vice President of Sales at Global Assistance USA. “HICKORY member agencies now have convenient access to a wide variety of travel protection plans, including our new Business Travel Protection product and our popular Rental Car Protector.”


GeoBlue® Announces New President and CEO

GeoBlue announced the appointment of Guillaume Deybach as President and CEO for parent company Highway to Health, Inc (HTH). This concludes the global search conducted over a period of several months for an exceptional candidate able to effectively blend industry expertise with strategic vision.

Deybach joins HTH from the role of Group Executive Vice President - Travel Business Line of the Europ Assistance Group, a subsidiary of Generali Group. His 20 years there allowed him to acquire expertise and prove his abilities through a variety of senior leadership roles, including President & CEO for Europ Assistance North America. With success in integral areas including strategy, product development, marketing, operational management and international business development, and time spent living and working in Paris, Munich, San Diego and Washington, Deybach brings a wealth of experience to the role.

Deybach holds a Business Organization Degree from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and a Major in International Business Management from ESSCA Business School in France.

"We are very excited about this new chapter in the evolution and growth of Highway to Health. Guillaume's strong industry experience, leadership skills and strategic thinking made him the clear choice to become HTH's next CEO," said Alan Krigstein, Chairman, Board of Directors for Highway to Health, Inc.


Travel Insurance After the Istanbul Bombing

The terrorist bombing of a tourist area in Istanbul, Turkey may cause concerns among travelers with upcoming trips to the destination. Squaremouth, a leading travel insurance website, answers the top three questions about travel insurance coverage related to the Istanbul bombing.

Am I covered to cancel my upcoming trip to Istanbul?

On Tuesday, January 12, the U.S. Department of State officially declared the Istanbul bombing an act of terrorism. This means travelers who purchased a travel insurance policy prior to January 12 may be able to cancel an upcoming trip to Istanbul, depending on their policy's coverage.

In order for a travelers to be covered to cancel their trip and receive a refund, travel insurance policies typically require that the terrorist attack occur in or near a city on their itinerary, and occur within 7-30 days of the their departure date.

Can I still buy travel insurance for a future trip to Istanbul?

It is too late to purchase travel insurance with coverage for the recent bombing in Istanbul. However, travelers can still purchase policies for cancellation coverage in the event there is a future attack.

"Some policies may exclude coverage for another terrorist attack in the same city within a certain period of time, typically 30-90 days," said Squaremouth CEO Chris Harvey. "This means there may be some policies that will not provide coverage if another attack occurs in Istanbul soon after the bombing."

What if I'm afraid to travel?

While most Trip Cancellation policies include Terrorism coverage, an event must meet the policy's definition of terrorism in order for it to be covered. Canceling out of fear never meets this definition.

The only option for travelers who want the option to cancel out of fear, is to purchase a policy with the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade. Policies with this benefit allow travelers to cancel their trips for an otherwise uncovered reason, including fear. However, with this increased coverage comes an increased price tag and requirements.

The Cancel For Any Reason upgrade requires travelers insure their entire trip cost, and is only available if purchased within 14-30 days of a traveler's initial trip deposit. Cancel For Any Reason will only reimburse up to 75% of trip costs, and travelers must cancel within at least 2-3 days of their departure date.

Squaremouth has launched the Istanbul Bombing and Travel Insurance Information Center to keep travelers up-to-date with travel insurance coverage related to the Istanbul bombing. This online resource is updated with official provider position statements, answers to frequently asked questions, and current government travel alerts and notices related to the bombing in Istanbul.


APRIL Group Announces Acquisition Of GlobalHealth Asia

International private medical insurance industry merger and acquisition mania continues in 2016 as APRIL group announce the acquisition of GlobalHealth Asia, an established international private medical insurance provider based in Hong Kong with operations in Singapore, Vietnam and Shanghai, plus local underwriting partners across south east Asia. 

Established in 1997 in Hong Kong, GlobalHealth has 60 staff members and a turnover of around six million euros. GlobalHealth provides a full range of international group and individual health insurance services, including underwriting, policy administration and claims adjudication.

The new purchase will enable APRIL to extend its operations in Asia beyond its current activities in Thailand, China and Singapore and significantly strengthens its market share in the region

APRIL Group, which was founded in France more than 35 years ago, is an internationally known and respected insurance services group with operations in 37 different countries, looking after close to six million policyholders worldwide, consisting of some 86 different nationalities located in more than 120 countries. 

With operations on every continent, APRIL group is now ideally positioned to meet the increasingly complex requirements of individual and group clients, regardless of their country of origin, by offering solutions which are tailored to their local environment.

Emmanuel Morandini, Deputy CEO of the APRIL group comments, "We would like to welcome the GlobalHealth teams to the APRIL group. This acquisition will strengthen our areas of expertise and extends our operations in Asia and is in line with our stated objective to become a leading IMPI and assistance player outside France."

In October 2015, APRIL Group successfully rebranded and relaunched UK based MediCare International as APRIL International UK, a specialist designer and distributor of international private medical insurance policies for groups and individuals.


2015 Travel Insurance Trends Reveal The State Of The Travel Industry

Throughout the past year, major events, from restored diplomatic relations with Cuba to terrorist attacks in Paris, left a lasting impact on the way people travel. Squaremouth reveals how the top travel insurance trends of 2015 indicate the state of the travel industry.

Travelers Sought Travel Insurance Instead of Canceling Trips After Paris Terrorist Attacks

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, and a subsequent issuance of a Worldwide Travel Alert, travelers showed an increased concern about terrorism impacting their travel plans. saw a 38% increase in visitors and a 17% increase in the number of policies sold, with 53% more travelers specifically searching for terrorism coverage, compared to the same period in 2014.

"Following the attacks in Paris, we found that travelers were more interested in purchasing terrorism coverage options for a future trip than they were in canceling the trip altogether," said Squaremouth Customer Service Director Jessica Harvey.

Demand for Benefits Highlights Evolving Concerns provides travelers with filters to narrow down their results when searching for travel insurance coverage that is important to them. In the wake of current events, there was an increase in travelers searching for Terrorism coverage, while the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade remained in-demand.

"Last year, extreme weather and disease outbreaks were a major source of questions from our travelers, mainly resulting from the Polar Vortex and Ebola virus," explained Harvey. "In 2015, we've seen this shift to concerns about security, and an increased need for terrorism coverage."

Standard benefits such as Emergency Medical, Trip Interruption, Medical Evacuation, and Pre-existing Condition Coverage remained the most popular filters in 2015, while interest in Identity Theft coverage and Non-Medical Evacuation grew.

Cuba Saw Boost, While Most Popular Countries Remained the Same

With restored diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, travel to the country became more accessible. In 2015, Squaremouth saw a 168% increase in the number of travelers purchasing travel insurance for Cuba over the previous year.

Meanwhile, the top five most popular countries remained the same as in 2014: The United States, Mexico, Italy, France, and theUnited Kingdom.

Baby Boomers Purchased More Travel Insurance Than Any Other Age Group

One group seems to be insuring their travel more than any other: baby boomers. Those aged 50-69 accounted for 40% of travel insurance sales on in 2015. This year, the average trip length for these travelers was 17 days, with an average trip cost of $2,426.96.

"While major events in 2015 have caused changes in the way people travel, they haven't changed the demand to travel," said Squaremouth CEO Chris Harvey. "Despite increasing concerns over security, we've seen that people are taking action to be more prepared rather than avoiding travel altogether."


Chase Templeton Completes Avanti Healthcare Acquisition

The acquisition brings a further £6.8m of annual premium income (API) and over 1,500 clients to the fast-growing business. Around 60 percent of that income is generated through SME policies, further strengthening Chase Templeton’s position in its core market within the company health insurance sector.

Following a series of acquisitions, including major deals with Atlas Consulting Group and Consilium Employee Benefits, Chase Templeton has now added some £40m API to its books in the last three months and £55m in 2015 as a whole.

Avanti Healthcare was founded in 1996 by chief executive Glen Smith who is exiting the PMI sector in order to concentrate on his Avanti Travel Insurance business. “I and my colleagues have spent nearly 20 years nurturing Avanti Healthcare into a very successful, well-respected and well-known specialist broker. When I decided to focus resource and attention on our growing travel business I sought a buyer who would not only let me realise the value of assets, but inspire confidence that Avanti Healthcare clients would continue to benefit from the best possible advice and service.

“Chase Templeton’s acquisition model is predicated on delivering both those things.”

Jeff Tate, Chase Templeton’s mergers and acquisition director, said the new deal supported one of the company’s key strategic aims. “Avanti brings to us not just a sizeable but a high quality SME client base as indeed did Atlas and Consilium. These and other acquisition, completed and to be concluded, place us firmly on the path towards becoming one of, if not the, key national player in the crucial SME space.” 

He confirmed that Avanti would be Chase Templeton’s last major acquisition this calendar year but added that further significant deals are pipelined for the first quarter of 2016.

Avanti’s SME clients will be serviced via Chase Templeton’s Corporate Centre of Excellence at its headquarters in Darwen, Lancashire. Nearly 1,000 private individual policies will be managed by a specialist team at the Individual Centre of Excellence in Bridgwater, Somerset.



How To Stay Safe On The Slopes With Dr Tim Hammond, Chief Medical Officer CEGA

It's not just skiing that may be enticing tourists to the slopes this winter. There's also snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledging, paragliding, ice-skating and ski jeering ... the list goes on. And with this greater choice comes greater risk. Dr Tim Hammond, Chief Medical Officer for CEGA (providers of global emergency assistance, risk management and claims management services) offers ten tips to help keep winter sports enthusiasts safe...

Get insured for a range of activities

The idea of paragliding may not appeal to you right now, but when you get close to the action you might change your mind. Find out about all the activities on offer at the resort you're going to and take out a winter sports travel insurance policy that includes anything you or a family member may want to try – before you set off. "Remember that the European Health Insurance Card won't cover your costs if you have an accident and need an emergency repatriation back to the UK from another European country," says Dr Hammond. "It will only pay for basic state healthcare."

Acclimatise to the altitude

Oxygen levels in high altitude resorts (such as those in North America) are much lower than the norm. This can cause altitude sickness, and, with it, nausea, confusion, headaches and shortness of breath. It can also affect concentration and reaction times. Symptoms will be worse at the top of a mountain and, if you're taking a trip to the bar at the summit, bear in mind that alcohol won't help.

"Most people will acclimatise to high altitudes within a couple of days, and you can reduce the risks by drinking plenty of water, resting on your first day at a high altitude resort and even staying at a slightly lower altitude for a day or two on the way up," says Dr Hammond.  "Children and those with respiratory illnesses and impaired lung function will be worst hit."

Get to the top safely

Falls from button lifts are common and you could find yourself off-piste and injured after slipping off. Getting onto a chair or ski lift, especially with a snowboard in hand, can also be tricky. Don't be worried about asking an operator to slow lifts down for you (or your children), or for advice about how to get on safely. Always pull the bar down on chair lifts and make sure that loose scarves, clothing or backpack straps are well secured.

Stay on the official routes

Whatever you're doing on the slopes - stick to the official routes. If you venture off-piste (even walking), always go with a guide, as trails may be difficult to follow - and check that your insurance covers you. "Without a guide, you're more likely to invalidate your insurance, get lost and have an accident," says Dr Hammond. "It's also important to stay on the slopes that match your ability. If you find yourself out of your comfort zone, take off your skis or snowboard or get off your sledge and sidestep down the edge of the slope."

Stick with other people

Unless you're in the busy heart of a resort, it's wise not to set out alone on the slopes. Even if you have a mobile phone, you may not be able to call for help in an emergency. You need to exercise the same caution at night – even in the middle of a resort. "If you've been out clubbing and have had a few drinks, don't set off back to your accommodation on your own," says Dr Hammond. "Alcohol can make you disoriented and increase your chances of getting lost - and, with dramatically reduced temperatures at night, mountain resorts are not safe places in which to be lost."

Reduce the risk of injuries

The faster you go down a mountain, the more likely you are to have a collision and a serious injury. Ski or snowboard within your capabilities and wear a helmet to protect your head. Knee and shoulder injuries come top of the list of ski accidents, whilst wrist injuries are common for snowboarders. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting fit before setting off on a winter sports holiday may help to reduce risks.

Dress for a variety of activities

Clothing is especially important if you're mixing sporting activities with sedentary spells such as sitting on a chairlift, in a paragliding harness, or outside a mountain restaurant. And, whilst the sun may be shining, you'll need to think about wind-chill. "Layered clothing and zipped jackets will make it easy to quickly increase or decrease warmth and to adapt to your changing environments," says Dr Hammond. "It's also worth carrying a small backpack to store unwanted layers."

Watch out for frostbite

Extreme cold and wind can cause frostbite – and so can touching frozen metal with bare skin. Keep all your extremities covered and exposed skin away from frozen metal. If your fingers, toes or ears start to feel numb, come off the slopes as quickly as possible to warm up. Don't apply anything too hot to numb skin as you may inadvertently burn yourself. "Damage from frostbite can be irreversible and can strike within minutes if you're stuck at the top of a mountain in harsh conditions," says Dr Hammond.

Be prepared for sudden changes in weather

If the weather suddenly changes, you may find yourself in a "white-out" on the slopes, which will make it very difficult to see the piste markers and easy to get lost within moments.  Stay close to other people and keep the person in front in good visual range until you reach the bottom of the mountain. Be wary of mountain winds – they can be hard to stand up against, and dangerous if you're near the edge. In extreme cases, you'll need to recognise the symptoms of hypothermia, which can include excessive shivering, weakness and exhaustion, as well as slurred speech and mental uncertainty. These are all signs that you need to seek help. Finding shelter from the wind under a tree, replacing wet clothing with dry and increasing your layers will all warm you up while you're waiting for help to arrive.

"The scenery may be beautiful, but people often forget that the mountains are a hostile environment and that conditions can change within minutes – to the extent that you may not be able to see more than a few feet in front of yourself," says Dr Hammond.

Stay off the alcohol

Drinking alcohol before setting off on the slopes can reduce your core body temperature, adversely affect your decision-making capabilities and even invalidate your insurance if you have an accident.  It will also cause dehydration – made worse by exertion. Après-ski is the most sensible time to indulge. "A couple of vins chauds at lunchtime may feel harmless, but they can dramatically impair your co-ordination, boost your bravado and make an accident more likely," says Dr Hammond.



Free Report PDF Sample: International And Expatriate Healthcare And Insurance 2014

International healthcare used to be very simple; you designed one product and used it everywhere. But now there are local restrictions on who can insure, how, and what can be insured. Some countries require insurers to have local partners while in others it can take years to get an insurance licence.

Click here now to download a free sample of the report in PDF.

iPMIM subscribers enjoy a special promotional price for this 900 page + report, from leading industry author Ian Youngman. Another reason to trust iPMI Magazine with your industry and market intelligence requirements.

Much more information has been added on the number of expatriates globally and by country –both outbound and inbound, and on local insurance regulation. On insurers and brokers it includes who has been buying who, countries they are moving into, plus the latest product and service developments. With the potential of domestic health insurance markets limited, US, UK and EU health insurers and intermediaries are increasingly looking at healthcare for expatriates and locals in international markets.


International Private Medical Insurance Magazine readers enjoy an exclusive subscriber pricing structure when they purchase International And Expatriate Healthcare And Insurance 2014. Othermajor online retailers are charging £999 upwards. iPMI Magazine readers only pay £899. To buy your copy now simply email ipmi AT and a dedicated account manager will contact you.



Free PDF Round Table Download: International Private Medical Insurance VS Local Health Insurance

In an International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Executive Round Table Business Forum October 2014, we spoke with leading C-Level executives about the major differences between international medical health insurance and local medical health insurance plans and cover.

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.

Click here to download this special expatriate healthcare and insurance feature in PDF format.


Bellwood Prestbury Agree Partnership With Voyager Insurance To Launch A New Affordable Online Travel Insurance Plan

Specialist global insurance intermediary Bellwood Prestbury has selected Guildford based Voyager Insurance Services as their preferred provider to launch a new on-line travel insurance plan created for both UK and EEA residents.

With a choice of three core plans: single, multi-trip and long stay cover for up to 24 months - business trips are included as standard and all plans are available to individuals and groups with the option to include most pre-existing medical conditions.

The new plan offers automatic cover for a huge range of leisure activities at no additional charge including bungee jumping, snow skiing, hot air ballooning, water tubing, zip wiring, scuba diving and even dog sledging.

Andrew Apps, Head of Global Healthcare at Bellwood Prestbury commented, "By bringing together a choice of comprehensive cover benefits and affordable premiums, this unique programme recognises the demands and requirements of those looking for high quality but affordable travel insurance and with a dedicated web site at the process of choosing the right policy has been designed to be as easy and straight forward as possible, enabling cover be put in place within a matter of minutes."

Bellwood Prestbury is a leading global insurance specialist, arranging high-risk and complex cover for individuals, companies and organisations throughout the world. From oil and gas contractors in Iraq to humanitarian workers providing vital support in Africa, Bellwood Prestbury offers independent, affordable and tailored solutions to businesses located in most parts of the world by sourcing the right balance between premiums and benefit protection.

Bellwood Prestbury is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the regulatory body overseeing UK financial services firms. It is also a member of British Expertise, the leading UK organisation for British companies offering professional services internationally, and members of other specialist industry bodies. Bellwood Prestbury is accredited by the British Assessment Bureau to ISO 9001.

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