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International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) is the ultimate Health and Medical Insurance Digital Media serving expatriate, corporate, health and travel insurance markets. Due to the nomadic nature of the international healthcare industry iPMI 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. Combined with in depth health insurance industry analysis, best-in-class health insurance industry data, and exclusive, C-Suite Executive health insurance interviews and round tables, iPMI Magazine bridges an information gap between healthcare payor, provider and patient. Written by the health and medical insurance industry, for the health and medical insurance industry, iPMIM is supported and designed by leading international medical insurance companies and service providers.

Website URL: http://ipmimagazine.com

Managing International Medical Risks During A Global Pandemic

The iPMI Magazine network consists of a wide range of leading international medical payors and service providers, on call, 24/7 to assist you manage worldwide medical risks during a global pandemic.

The international medical network covers all sectors of the global medical insurance business, and you can use the directory to source new partners and service providers. Simply use the the contact details within the network directory to connect. 

Industry Network Sectors: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management and Pharmacy Benefits Management.

    Enter full screen click the small rectangle above ↑

 

Current Network Partners:

Click a company name below to visit their micro web site on iPMIM and learn more or download the  network directory using the above link. 

PAYORS AND PROVIDERS IN FOCUS:

IPMI

ASSISTANCE

AIR AMBULANCE

COST CONTAINMENT AND CLAIMS MANAGEMENT

FUNERAL DIRECTORS

HEALTHCARE INSURANCE MANAGEMENT

PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGEMENT

 To add your business to the network please write to David Bond, CIO, iPMIM on ipmi[at]ipmimagazine.com

Passenger Revenues Could Plummet $252 Billion Below 2019’s Figure

Owing to the severity of travel restrictions and the expected global recession, IATA now estimates that industry passenger revenues could plummet $252 billion or 44% below 2019’s figure. This is in a scenario in which severe travel restrictions last for up to three months, followed by a gradual economic recovery later this year.

IATA’s previous analysis of up to a $113 billion revenue loss was made on 5 March 2020, before the countries around the world introduced sweeping travel restrictions that largely eliminated the international air travel market.

“The airline industry faces its gravest crisis. Within a matter of a few weeks, our previous worst case scenario is looking better than our latest estimates. But without immediate government relief measures, there will not be an industry left standing. Airlines need $200 billion in liquidity support simply to make it through. Some governments have already stepped forward, but many more need to follow suit,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

Slower Recovery

The latest analysis envisions that under this scenario, severe restrictions on travel are lifted after 3 months. The recovery in travel demand later this year is weakened by the impact of global recession on jobs and confidence. Full year passenger demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) declines 38% compared to 2019. Industry capacity (available seat kilometer or ASKs) in domestic and international markets declines 65% during the second quarter ended 30 June compared to a year-ago period, but in this scenario recovers to a 10% decline in the fourth quarter.

REGION OF AIRLINE REGISTRATION

% CHANGE IN RPKS
(2020 VS. 2019)

EST. IMPACT ON PASS. REVENUE
2020 VS. 2019
(US$ BILLIONS)

Africa
-32%
-4
Asia Pacific
-37%
-88
Europe
-46%
-76
Latin America
-41%
-15
Middle East
-39%
-19
North America
-27%
-50
Industry
-38%
-252

Read Alexandre de Juniac's speech

Check the COVID-19: Updated Impact Assessment (pdf), 24 March 2020

How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health During The Global Pandemic

As the world continues to cope with the unprecedented impacts of the COVID 19, an increasing number of people will be directed to isolate themselves at home or practice social distancing.

These actions can cause negative psychological effects including anxiety, post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion and anger. Dr. Adrian Hyzler, Chief Medical Officer at Healix International has put together some advice on how to tend to your mental wellness while navigating the new reality we have all found ourselves in.

Things you can start doing today to reduce anxiety

  • Maintain a routine: This is so important! Maintain a regular routine to mimic the structure that was previously provided by your work (or “normal”) life. This will go a long way in helping you to feel productive. Part of that routine should include showering and getting dressed; tempting though it may seem, don’t lounge around in your pyjamas all day!
  • Eat regular, healthy meals: Eating well will help maintain your physical and mental well-being. Whenever possible, make meals from fresh ingredients that you can buy locally.
  • Exercise: A fitness routine, whether it consists of a walk with the dog, skipping with a rope for 20 minutes in the garden or using any exercise equipment you might have at home, will serve as a distraction and help to boost your endorphins.
  • Stay entertained: Read books, write in a journal, listen to music; take the time to do things that you never had room for in your busy life.
  • Engage with others: Use video conferencing (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom) to stay connected with friends and family as well as work colleagues. In times like these, a phone call is better than a text!
  • Shut it down: Switch off social media for a few hours a day so that you are not constantly bombarded with terrible stories, haunting imagery and incessant memes that have you fatigued with the whole COVID-19 situation. This sounds extreme to some, but you might try deleting your social media app from your phone for the day! You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel after a “digital detox.”
  • Know your sources: Select a small number of trustworthy media sources so that when you do search for news about COVID 19 you are not reading fake news, opinion pieces and viral threads that only increase your anxiety. Be careful what you share on social media; be aware that you could be contributing to others’ anxiety.
  • Break the 24/7 news cycle: Don’t check the news first thing in the morning! Set aside a short period each day to check news stories and let that be it.
  • Explore: While practicing social distancing (staying 6 feet apart at minimum) take note that society is still there! There are other people walking, jogging and riding bikes. You can maintain a safe distance from them while still offering a smile and a wave. There are many parks and areas that are open to the public so that people can exercise and get fresh air. 
  • Have some fun: Join online communities for an hour of Scrabble, Monopoly or other traditional games that can now be played online in order to get a sense of community.
  • Get enriched: Learn a new language or skill, maybe enrol in an online course.
  • Tackle your DIY List: Do those tasks you have been putting off forever, including household repairs and gardening.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you do get anxious and need some professional help, access mental health professionals via helplines that are open 24 hours a day. Know that everyone will get anxious about this pandemic to some degree and it’s ok not to be ok!
  • Remember to breathe: It sounds pretty basic but take a deep breath whenever you start to feel overwhelmed. You may also want to try meditation apps as well as online yoga classes and wellbeing videos.
  • Be kind: This goes for yourself and those around you; check up on vulnerable neighbours and offer assistance as you’re able. Help with shopping for food and medications (drop things off at the door) or offer just conversation (maintaining social distancing of course).
  • Take space: If you are in a family, give each other breathing room!
  • Try and find some meaning:  Though it may seem impossible at times, try and learn from this experience. Focus on what matters the most to you and take some time to really bond with those you care about.

Healix International works with multi-national corporations, NGOs and governments around the world to provide medical, security and travel assistance and help fulfil duty of care obligations.

Cost Of Living Would Prompt A Fifth of Expats To Return Home

Independent research by AXA – Global Healthcare has shown that many expats find life abroad to be surprisingly expensive, with one-in-six (17%) saying that the cost of living is the thing they miss most from their home country and one-in-five (21%) going so far as to say that it would prompt them to return. This is despite three-in-five (58%) saying that they actually enjoy a higher salary since moving abroad.

The greatest source of pressure on expats’ wallets was found to be rent and housing, with more than half (51%) of expats saying this was surprisingly expensive in their new home country. Two-fifths (40%) of those surveyed also said that higher education was more costly than expected, while one-in-three (35%) found that childcare costs put pressure on their purse strings.

Having spoken with people in a number of popular expat destinations, AXA found that life is most expensive for those living in the United Arab Emirates. Almost three-quarters of expats in the UAE said that rent and house prices (71%) and higher education (72%) are surprisingly costly, while two thirds (65%) found schooling to be more expensive than expected.

Tom Wilkinson, CEO, AXA – Global Healthcare commented: “The cost of living varies massively around the world, and even across different regions in the same country, so it’s important on any international secondment to be aware of your spending and manage your finances appropriately. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources online – and even apps available – that could help make managing your money a little easier.”

An expense that expats seem to be particularly concerned about is healthcare, with a quarter (24%) of those living abroad worried about the cost of treatment locally. A fifth (18%) of expats said that they would even travel to another country to receive healthcare because the cost of treatment in their new home is too high.

Tom Wilkinson concluded: “The key to being prepared for healthcare costs abroad – especially if you have a pre-existing condition – is to ensure that you have a good grasp of the services and facilities available in your new home. The standard and cost of healthcare will vary around the world, so it’s important to prepare yourself for the different circumstances you might come across. In countries where certain treatments are difficult to come by or particularly expensive, it may even be worth considering how international health insurance could help you to manage your healthcare needs.”

Aetna To Provide Members With Free Access To Virtual Health Care During Covid-19

Aetna International has announced it will provide all their members with free access to its virtual health offering, vHealth, to help ensure continuous access to health care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

vHealth will give members access to confidential medical consultations over the phone or via video link, without having to travel to a doctor’s surgery or hospital. Members will be able to speak with a doctor at any time, about any aspect of their health and well-being.

Additionally, any Aetna International member who undergoes diagnostic testing for COVID-19, as referred by a medical physician in an approved medical facility, will be reimbursed in full for the cost of the test and consultation.

Members can apply for reimbursement following the standard claims process and will be able to make one claim per calendar month related to diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Members should continue to follow the guidance issued by their local health authority and contact their local health care provider or a vHealth doctor if they have any concerns. 

Aetna International has also confirmed that existing health benefits are not affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Any medical advice and subsequent treatment will be covered by Aetna International, as it would any other eligible medical condition, in accordance with a member’s plan.

Richard di Benedetto, president, Aetna International said: “The health, safety and well-being of Aetna International customers and members is paramount. We know that many people will be concerned about visiting a doctor or hospital waiting room at the moment, so we are giving all members free access to vHealth – a global service that provides medical consultations via phone or video link – for any health or well-being condition.”

Commenting on diagnostic testing for COVID-19, Mr. di Benedetto continued: “Members referred by a physician in an approved medical facility for diagnostic testing for COVID-19 will be reimbursed in full. We recognise that each government or health authority may have slightly different advice regarding diagnostic testing, so members are advised to follow the guidance issued by their local health authority and to contact their local health care provider or vHealth doctor if they have any concerns.”

 

 

U.S. Health Insurers Face Potential Rise in Claims Due to Coronavirus

U.S. health insurers will experience an increase in medical claims with the spread of the coronavirus, and sees the potential for these costs to be driven by at-risk patients such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.

A new Best’s Commentary titled, “Potential Rise in Claims Due to Coronavirus,” also states that treatment for non-urgent conditions could decline, as these individuals might choose to avoid becoming exposed at a medical treatment facility or physician’s office.

The higher severity cases, and in cases resulting deaths, thus far have been occurring in the elderly and in individuals with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems. “As such, exposure is expected to be greater for health insurers covering a large percentage of 'at risk' individuals—including those writing long-term care and support services contracts, Medicare and Medicaid, specifically special needs plans,” said Sally Rosen, senior director, AM Best Rating Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is allowing the coronavirus test to be administered locally. Tests conducted by private laboratories will be paid for by an individual’s health insurer. The New York state Department of Financial Services (DFS) is requiring health insurers to waive all cost-sharing for fully insured plans and Medicaid recipients for claims related to testing.

Additionally, several carriers have announced they will be waiving co-payments and cost-sharing for fully insured members for coronavirus testing. AM Best expects that insurers also will be liable for the coronavirus treatment of their members.

According to AM Best, several years of strong earnings has resulted in a strengthening of risk-adjusted capitalization, which should allow health insurers to absorb any potential impact. Furthermore, the coronavirus could impact medical stop-loss carriers for high dollar and high claims in aggregate.

The coronavirus is an evolving situation. AM Best will continue to monitor the outbreak and discuss the potential impact with health insurers. At this time, AM Best’s outlook on the U.S. health insurance segment remains stable.

To access the full copy of this commentary, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=295209.

Financial Impact Analysis Of The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency On The Global Air Transport Industry

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) updated its analysis of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency on the global air transport industry.

IATA now sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between $63 billion (in a scenario where COVID-19 is contained in current markets with over 100 cases as of 2 March) and $113 billion (in a scenario with a broader spreading of COVID-19). No estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations.

IATA’s previous analysis (issued on 20 February 2020) put lost revenues at $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the impact of COVID-19 largely confined to markets associated with China. Since that time, the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China.

Financial markets have reacted strongly. Airline share prices have fallen nearly 25% since the outbreak began, some 21 percentage points greater than the decline that occurred at a similar point during the SARS crisis of 2003. To a large extent, this fall already prices in a shock to industry revenues much greater than our previous analysis.

To take into account the evolving situation with COVID-19, IATA estimated the potential impact on passenger revenues based on two possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: Limited Spread

This scenario includes markets with more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 2 March) experiencing a sharp downturn followed by a V-shaped recovery profile. It also estimates falls in consumer confidence in other markets (North America, Asia Pacific and Europe).

The markets accounted for in this scenario and their anticipated fall in passenger numbers, due to COVID-19, as are as follows: China (-23%), Japan (-12%), Singapore (-10%), South Korea (-14%), Italy (-24%), France (-10%), Germany (-10%), and Iran (-16%). Additionally, Asia (excluding China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea) would be expected to see an 11% fall in demand. Europe (excluding Italy, France and Germany) would see a 7% fall in demand and Middle East (excluding Iran) would see a 7% fall in demand.

Globally, this fall in demand translates to an 11% worldwide passenger revenue loss equal to $63 billion. China would account for some $22 billion of this total. Markets associated with Asia (including China) would account for $47 billion of this total.

Scenario 2: Extensive Spread

This scenario applies a similar methodology but to all markets that currently have 10 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 2 March). The outcome is a 19% loss in worldwide passenger revenues, which equates to $113 billion. Financially, that would be on a scale equivalent to what the industry experienced in the Global Financial Crisis. 

MARKET IMPACT ON PASSENGER NUMBERS IMPACT ON PASSENGER REVENUES
Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
-23%
-$49.7 billion
Rest of Asia Pacific
-9%
-$7.6 billion
Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom
-24%
-$37.3 billion
Rest of Europe
-9%
-$6.6 billion

Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, the

United Arab Emirates
-23%
-$4.9 billion
Rest of Middle East
-9%
-$2.3 billion
Canada and US
-10%
-$21.1 billion

Note: Revenue loss figures are not additive due to overlaps of some markets, e.g., revenues for China and Germany both contain the revenues for the China-Germany market. Revenues are base fare revenues for all airlines flying to, from and within the country.

Africa and Latin America/Caribbean regions are not explicitly included in this market-based analysis, because there are currently no countries in either region with at least 10 COVID-19 cases.

Mitigation

Oil prices have fallen significantly (-$13/barrel Brent) since the beginning of the year. This could cut costs up to $28 billion on the 2020 fuel bill (on top of those savings which would be achieved as a result of reduced operations) which would provide some relief but would not significantly cushion the devastating impact that COVID-19 is having on demand. And it should be noted that hedging practices will postpone this impact for many airlines.

Impact

“The turn of events as a result of COVID-19 is almost without precedent. In little over two months, the industry’s prospects in much of the world have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. It is unclear how the virus will develop, but whether we see the impact contained to a few markets and a $63 billion revenue loss, or a broader impact leading to a $113 billion loss of revenue, this is a crisis.

“Many airlines are cutting capacity and taking emergency measures to reduce costs. Governments must take note. Airlines are doing their best to stay afloat as they perform the vital task of linking the world’s economies. As governments look to stimulus measures, the airline industry will need consideration for relief on taxes, charges and slot allocation. These are extraordinary times,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Read the full updated impact assessment (pdf)

COVID-19 Hits January Passenger Demand

Global passenger traffic data for January 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) climbed 2.4% compared to January 2019. This was down from 4.6% year-over-year growth for the prior month and is the lowest monthly increase since April 2010, at the time of the volcanic ash cloud crisis in Europe that led to massive airspace closures and flight cancellations.

January capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 1.7%. Load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 80.3%.

“January was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the traffic impacts we are seeing owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, given that major travel restrictions in China did not begin until 23 January. Nevertheless, it was still enough to cause our slowest traffic growth in nearly a decade,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

JANUARY 2020 (% YEAR-ON-YEAR) WORLD SHARE1 RPK ASK PLF (%-PT)​2 PLF (LEVEL)​3
Total Market
100.0%
2.4%
1.7%
0.6%
80.3%
Africa
2.1%
5.2%
6.1%
-0.6%
70.2%
Asia Pacific
34.7%
0.4%
2.2%
-1.5%
79.9%
Europe
26.8%
1.6%
-0.5%
1.7%
81.6%
Latin America
5.1%
0.4%
0.0%
0.3%
82.6%
Middle East
9.0%
5.9%
0.6%
3.9%
78.5%
North America
22.2%
5.7%
3.6%
1.6%
81.2%

1-% of Industry RPKs in 2019 2-Year-on-year chnage in load factor 3-Load factor level

International Passenger Markets

January international passenger demand rose 2.5% compared to January 2019, down from 3.7% growth the previous month. With the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases, led by airlines in Africa and the Middle East that saw minimal impact from the COVID-19 outbreak in January. Capacity climbed 0.9%, and load factor rose 1.2 percentage points to 81.1%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ January traffic climbed 2.5% compared to the year-ago period, which was the slowest outcome since early 2013 and a decline from the 3.9% increase in December. Softer GDP growth in several of the region’s key economies was compounded by COVID-19 impacts on the international China market. Capacity rose 3.0% and load factor slid 0.4 percentage point to 81.6%.

European carriers saw January demand climb just 1.6% year-to-year, down from 2.7% in December. Results were impacted by slumping GDP growth in leading economies during the 2019 fourth quarter plus flight cancellations related to COVID-19 in late January. Capacity fell 1.0%, and load factor lifted 2.1 percentage points to 82.7%.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 5.4% traffic increase in January, the fourth consecutive month of solid demand growth, reflecting strong performance from larger Europe-Middle East and Middle East-Asia routes, which were not significantly impacted by route cancellations related to COVID-19 at that time. Capacity increased just 0.5%, with load factor jumping 3.6 percentage points to 78.3%. 

North American carriers’ international demand rose 2.9% compared to January a year ago, which represented a slowdown from the 5.2% growth recorded in December, although there were no significant flight cancellations to Asia in January. Capacity climbed 1.6%, and load factor grew by 1.0 percentage point to 81.7%.

Latin American airlines experienced a 3.7% demand drop in January compared to the same month last year, which was a further deterioration compared to a 1.3% decline in December. Traffic for Latin American carriers has now been particularly weak for four consecutive months, reflecting continued social unrest and economic difficulties in a number of countries in the region unrelated to COVID-19. Capacity fell 4.0% and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 82.7%.

African airlines’ traffic climbed 5.3% in January, up slightly from 5.1% growth in December. Capacity rose 5.7%, however, and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage point to 70.5%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand for domestic travel climbed 2.3% in January compared to January 2019, as strong growth in the US helped mitigate the impact from a steep decline in China’s domestic traffic. Capacity rose 3.0% and load factor dipped 0.5 percentage point to 78.9%.

JANUARY 2020 (% YEAR-ON-YEAR) WORLD SHARE1 RPK ASK PLF (%-PT)​2 PLF (LEVEL)​3
Domestic
36.2%
2.3%
3.0%
-0.5%
78.9%
Dom. Australia
0.8%
0.1%
-1.4%
1.2%
79.3%
Domestic Brazil
1.1%
2.1%
0.1%
1.6%
85.7%
Dom. China P. R.
9.8%
-6.8%
-0.2%
-5.4%
76.7%
Domestic India
1.6%
2.5%
2.3%
0.1%
86.1%
Domestic Japan
1.1%
3.8%
1.9%
1.3%
68.1%
Dom. Russia. Fed.
1.5%
3.9%
8.3%
-3.1%
72.2%
Domestic US
14.0%
7.5%
4.9%
1.9%
81.1%

1-% of Industry RPKs in 2019 2-Year-on-year chnage in load factor 3-Load factor level

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic fell 6.8% in January, reflecting the impact of flight cancellations and travel restrictions related to COVID-19. China’s Ministry of Transport reported an 80% annual fall in volumes in late January and early February. Capacity slipped 0.2% and passenger load factor plunged 5.4 percentage points to 76.7%.

US airlines saw domestic traffic climb 7.5% in January. Although this was down from 10.1% growth in December, it represented another strong month of demand growth reflecting supportive business confidence and domestic economic outcomes at the time. Capacity rose 4.9% and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 81.1%.

The Bottom Line

“The COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis that is testing the resilience not only of the airline industry but of the global economy. Airlines are experiencing double-digit declines in demand, and on many routes traffic has collapsed. Aircraft are being parked and employees are being asked to take unpaid leave. In this emergency, governments need to consider the maintenance of air transport links in their response. Suspension of the 80/20 slot use rule, and relief on airport fees at airports where demand has disappeared are two important steps that can help ensure that airlines are positioned to provide support during the crisis and eventually in the recovery,” said de Juniac.

 

iPMI Magazine Provider Network e-Directory March 2020: iPMI - Assistance - Air Ambulance - Funeral Directors - Cost Containment - Claims Management + MORE

The March 2020 edition of the iPMI Magazine Provider Network e-Directory is out now. Over 70 pages of company intelligence including iPMI - Assistance - Air Ambulance - Funeral Directors - Cost Containment - Claims Management + MORE.

    Enter full screen click the small rectangle above ↑

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on international private medical insurance payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

Classifications include: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management and Pharmacy Benefits Management.

Current Advertisers 

Click a company name below to visit their micro web site on iPMIM and learn more or download the brand new e-directory using the above link. To add your business to the e-directory and launch a micro website please write to David Bond, CIO, iPMIM on ipmi[at]ipmimagazine.com

PAYORS AND PROVIDERS IN FOCUS:

IPMI

ASSISTANCE

AIR AMBULANCE

COST CONTAINMENT AND CLAIMS MANAGEMENT

FUNERAL DIRECTORS

HEALTHCARE INSURANCE MANAGEMENT

PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGEMENT

 

 

iPMI Magazine Speaks With Mike Webb, CEO, Healix International

In this exclusive iPMI Magazine interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, sits down with Mike Webb, CEO, Healix International. They discuss in detail Healix International core services, client profiles, and the international medical assistance trends shaping the future of the business.

Please introduce yourself and your background in the international medical and risk markets:

I’ve spent the last 25 years working within the general insurance risk marketplace, with a focus on international risk management and insurance and assistance services. I’ve been the CEO of Healix International for the last three years but I have known the business for much longer, as they were a key partner in my previous roles as CEO of Allianz Partners UK and before that CEO of Mondial Assistance.

Talking about Healix International, what are your core services?

There are many excellent providers in the market, but what makes Healix International different from the rest is our medical heritage and the fact that we offer a truly integrated medical and security solution for businesses.

The business was originally founded by two doctors and I believe that the quality and integrity of the medical expertise that exists at Healix is probably the best in the industry. Providing medical services for international travellers has always been at the core of our business.

We have excellent systems and strong relationships with hospitals around the world because of the type of business we manage on behalf of our clients, but it’s the depth of medical expertise within our own business that underpins the service we deliver. We provide the highest level of care and attention to ensure that the most appropriate medical treatment is given, as well as providing help and support to the patient and their families rather than just acting as a third party administrator.

Of course, cost containment is always a vital part of our role and we always mitigate costs and maximise best value wherever possible, but never at the expense of the patient’s treatment. Key to achieving that is to keep the patient and their care separate from the negotiations and cost containment that needs to happen with the hospitals.

And what is the profile for clients you work with?

Because of the quality of our medical and security services, we have tended to steer more towards the premium end of the market and to concentrate on the corporate and government sectors. We continue to win new business in these markets because we understand the challenges faced by businesses sending employees overseas and our role is to help to facilitate their travel needs, despite the medical and security challenges that they may face in some parts of the world. We have also developed excellent relationships with key insurers and continue to work closely with them, to ensure that we provide a consistently high service to our mutual clients.

Do you think your focus on medical expertise is what makes you different from your competitors?

I think a lot of our competitors are focused on the claims process, and they may be able to provide similar savings to ourselves but when you have a complex medical problem, or a medical case outside of normal tourist destinations overseas the situation becomes much more challenging, so having our high level of medical experience and skills within our business to fully understand the medical issues and navigate the local services available is a key differentiator.

Our longevity in this market is another principle difference. We’ve been operating now for 27 years, and during that time we have been able to hone our approach to deliver the absolute best level of care and attention for the patient and their family, as well as tangible and effective cost containment.

Do you think the market places a value on the services you deliver?

Unfortunately, we work in a commoditised market. So what we tend to find is that our customers really like the service - their feedback is excellent and the CSAT scores we achieve for our clients are high. However, purchasing departments are focused on cost and the reality is that we’re always going to be a premium priced provider due to the fact that we employ a high number of highly experienced doctors, nurses and general medical staff.

We believe that by using the best medical staff to manage cases rather than just claims handlers, we are able to deliver higher overall savings through better case management and a better experience for the patient. So we believe that we represent better value for money than many of our competitors.

Where do you think the future trends are for your sector?

Everyone is talking about AI as the holy grail for case management although we don’t think it’s going to make any significant difference in the near future due to the variability of medical treatment in some parts of the world. Therefore we anticipate that we will continue to require experienced UK based doctors who can talk to the treating clinicians to really understand the situation and determine the best course of action. However, that doesn’t mean that as a sector we shouldn’t be investing in technology to simplify and automate some of the back office processes and this is an area where Healix is making significant investment. Our goal is to try to automate wherever possible to improve the customer journey and reduce costs, to add value to the patient and their family and ensure the best quality of care. We have recently made a substantial investment in our new security App, which will help to facilitate and support travellers by providing them with better information to protect them whilst travelling, as well as giving them instant access to help for any security or medical issue. We anticipate that we will see an increased focus from employers on both the security and medical duty of care issues for their employees and Healix are ideally placed to help in providing a fully integrated service.

So, would you say that in the last say 5 years you’ve upped the level of the experts providing that human touch? And where exactly are you putting the investment into in terms of technology?

As far as the human touch is concerned, we’re continuing to maintain the same level of medical expertise and that’s not something we’re ever going to compromise on. In terms of technology, our current investments are focused on the digitalisation of claims and reporting. Our new App will allow customers much greater access to information to help them with their travel needs, as well as giving them easy access to help and support when needed, as well as allowing us to track them if required and provide active monitoring in the event of any security issues, as well as directional care for any medical cases.

What do you think the future is for Healix International?

We believe that we have considerable scope for further expansion of our security and medical services within the Corporate and IPMI marketplace where there is a real understanding of employee value and the importance of taking care of workers wherever they are in the world.

We would also like to continue to provide premium travel insurance assistance services, because I’m convinced there is still a market out there for people who don’t just want to buy the cheapest product only to find when they make a claim that many things aren’t covered. And with the growth of the older demographic there will be more people who are prepared to pay a higher premium for a product which gives them the level and quality of cover they need.

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

First of all, I love living in the UK, because as a country we have always been very international in our outlook and I believe we have great potential, thanks to the talent we already have within the country and that which we will, hopefully, continue to attract in the future.

I lived in Africa many years ago, which was a brilliant experience, but I would like to explore South America. I have been to Argentina a couple of times - I thought it was a great country, with wonderful people living within a challenging difficult political environment, so I would love to spend more time there and use it as a base to travel around the continent and try to learn more about the other countries and their peoples.

Further information:

To learn more about Healix International please visit their website at: https://healix.com

To read more news from Healix International please visit their company micro website on iPMI Magazine, click here.

 

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