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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

Sven Thorslund Joins QHM To Expand Global Sales Growth

Sven Thorslund, a cost containment and travel assistance industry veteran, has joined Quality Health Management (QHM) as Director of Sales.

Mr. Thorslund will be responsible for growing QHM’s international client base by developing new and enhanced solutions and new distribution channels on a global basis. He will report to Patricia Ziomek, who co-founded QHM in 2000 and now serves as its Senior Vice President of Business Development.

With 23 years’ experience in marketing, sales and account management in the cost containment and travel assistance industry, Mr. Thorslund brings a wealth of knowledge, capacity, and contacts to QHM’s expanded sales and services for new and existing clients.

He began his career in 1997 with Global Medical Management, Inc. where he helped its rapid growth while leading the account services and spearheaded a marketing transformation into its new GMMI name and brand. In 2004 he transitioned to US travel assistance business development with Europ Assistance USA (Generali Group), where he played a role in their acquisitions of GMMI and CMN. From 2010 he was at AXA Assistance USA progressing through commercial roles including launching AXA Assistance Travel Insurance in the U.S. and becoming its Chief Marketing Officer.

In 2016 Mr. Thorslund worked as an independent consultant to QHM during the process of QHM’s sale to GBG. He was then re-hired to Europ Assistance USA (now Generali Global Assistance) as VP of Sales and Product Strategy in 2017 where he re-joined GMMI to also lead their sales and account management teams.

“We are very excited to have Sven Thorslund join our team,” said Patricia Ziomek. “Having worked closely with him as a highly strategic industry consultant, we strongly believe he will enjoy the same type of success at QHM that he has had at other companies.”

“QHM’s outstanding leadership and excellent reputation amongst its clients impressed me and I am delighted to be able to join the team to build on its success in the coming years,” Mr. Thorslund commented.

Mr. Thorslund earned an International MBA from University of Göteborg, Sweden and a Master of International Management at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ.

About QHM

Quality Health Management (QHM) is a global medical cost containment company offering solutions to the ever-changing requirements of specialized medical management and claims services across the healthcare industry. QHM has been solving worldwide needs of clients, payers and patients with PPO, administrative and specialty services guided by its original founders since 2000. The company became part of Global Benefits Group (GBG) in 2017.

Leading 20 Insurer Groups Accounted For A Combined 26.8% Of Total Direct Business Worldwide In 2019

  • The combined share of direct business of the top 20 insurer groups in the global market falls slightly in 2019 relative to the previous year;
  • Viewed worldwide, health insurance is the most concentrated sector followed by P&C (non-life) lines and then by life / annuity business;
  • Allianz was ranked second globally by both direct business and total assets with UnitedHealth Group first by the former measure and Ping An by the latter.

According to global rankings published recently by Insuramore, the leading 20 insurer groups accounted for a combined 26.8% of total direct business worldwide in 2019, itself worth just over USD 6.4 trillion, down a little from an equivalent figure of 27.3% for the top 20 groups in the previous year. In descending order, the leading five groups on this measure in 2019 were UnitedHealth Group, Allianz, Ping An, China Life Insurance Group and Kaiser Foundation. However, in terms of total balance sheet assets, and again in descending order, the top five insurer groups in 2019 were Ping An, Allianz, Prudential Financial, AXA and MetLife.

One reason for the slightly higher degree of fragmentation in 2019 relative to 2018 was the fall of China-based Dajia Insurance Group from ninth position to 30th position in the global ranking because of its divestment during the year of several of its insurance subsidiaries, most notably Hexie Health Life.

With specific regards to total life, annuity and retirement-related business, worth around USD 2.95 trillion in gross direct premiums and related inflows in 2019, the leading five insurance groups worldwide in 2019, again in descending order, were MetLife, Allianz, China Life Insurance Group, Ping An and AEGON. The combined market share of the top ten insurance groups in this arena in the same year was 20.9% making it a much less concentrated activity at the global level than health insurance and somewhat less concentrated than P&C (nonlife) insurance, for which the corresponding figures were a respective 43.0% and 25.6%.

Health insurance is the most concentrated of the three sectors because of the weight of the US market relative to the other two. In fact, led by UnitedHealth Group, the top ten insurer groups worldwide for this line in 2019 were all ones headquartered in (and active solely or mainly in) the US as were 16 of the top 20. These top 20 were separated only by two China-based groups – namely, Ping An in 11th position and China Life Insurance Group in 14th position – plus two headquartered in Europe, namely Achmea and AXA, ranked a respective 17th and 20th by gross direct premiums for health cover.

Turning to total P&C insurance, comprising both private and commercial lines, and believed by Insuramore to be worth over USD 1.85 trillion in 2019, the leading five insurer groups globally in that year in terms of gross direct premiums written were State Farm, PICC, Allianz, Berkshire Hathaway Insurance and AXA. Overall, only AXA and Ping An featured in the global top 20 for each of life / annuity, health and P&C business albeit Allianz, China Life Insurance Group and Generali were each ranked in the top 20 for two out of these three broad segments.

As for the most rapidly growing insurer groups worldwide during 2019, those in the top 500 globally that experienced the most significant expansion in gross premiums and related inflows were Kuvare Group, Sinatay Life and EquiTrust Life. Kuvare Group is a privately-owned consolidator based in the US that achieved fast growth in part as a result of its acquisition during the year of Lincoln Benefit Life. Meanwhile, Sinatay Life has been prospering in the Chinese life and health insurance markets and EquiTrust Life, a US-based subsidiary of Magic Johnson Enterprises, recorded a strong expansion in its annuity and retirement product activity.

About Insuramore

Insuramore is a provider of marketing services and related consultancy with a primary focus on the insurance sector. Its positioning stems not only from the broad range of services that it offers and its worldwide coverage but also from its deep understanding of all types of insurance spanning life, health and P&C (non-life) insurance, whether bought by individual consumers, commercial enterprises, the public sector or not-for-profit entities, plus related services such as assistance and warranties. Insuramore’s insurance provider rankings provide original and unrivalled insights into carrier (underwriter) groups around the world. The full list of insurance types about which Insuramore can provide data, research and consulting services at an international level can be seen here.

Learn more at: www.insuramore.com

 

Bancassurance Groups Accounted For Over 8% Of The Value Of The Global Insurance Market In 2019

  • Bancassurance groups accounted for over 8% of the value of the global insurance market in 2019;
  • 2 France-based groups (Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas) lead the way by business underwritten;
  • Although some banking groups have been divesting their insurance interests, others are expanding in this field.

According to Insuramore’s global rankings, and with a combined total of USD 518 billion (up from USD 493 billion in 2018), the top 100 insurers owned by banking or postal service groups accounted for 8.1% of gross direct premiums written and related inflows worldwide across all types of insurance (i.e. life / annuity, health and P&C / non-life) in 2019. In descending order, the leading five groups by this measure were Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Japan Post, Intesa Sanpaolo and Poste Italiane. Overall, three of the top 100 such groups were headquartered in Africa or the Middle East, 34 in the Asia-Pacific region, two in Australasia, 43 in Europe, ten in Latin America and six in North America.

In spite the vast size of the domestic US insurance market, only two US-based groups featured in the top 100, namely Citigroup (ranked 55th, thanks to its Citibanamex Seguros operation in Mexico) and Ally Financial (ranked 85th). Likewise, only two groups headquartered in the UK made the top 100: these were HSBC (in 13th position) and Lloyds Banking Group (ranked 12th).

Note that insurers owned by banking or postal service groups are defined by Insuramore as ones in which those groups own 50.1% or more of the insurer’s equity. Because of this definition, the premiums of banking or postal service groups that own stakes of less than 50.1% in insurers do not feature in this analysis unless the combined share of multiple shareholder banks or postal service groups comes to more than this percentage. Hence, IndiaFirst Life (as an example) is included as Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India collectively own more than 50.1% of its share capital while Santander and UniCredit (as further examples) are excluded as the stakes of these banking groups in insurers are below this threshold and are likely instead to be consolidated in the accounts of their insurer joint venture partners.

Since the global financial crisis of more than a decade ago, there has been a general trend for banking groups to divest entirely or sell off stakes in their insurance underwriting operations, especially where considered subscale, and often in order to shore up their balance sheets. To an extent, this trend is likely to continue with several groups in the top 100 known to be exploring such options at the time of this press release. Furthermore, in the case of three of Turkey’s state-owned banking groups (Halkbank, VakifBank and Ziraatbank), their insurance subsidiaries were bought out by the country’s wealth fund (TWF) in 2020 in order to consolidate them into Turkiye Sigorta, a new state-owned insurance group.

However, the bancassurance model continues to thrive in many countries and some banking and postal service groups have been bolstering their insurance activities through selected acquisitions. For example, during 2020, South Korea’s Hana Financial acquired control of The-K Non-Life Insurance while Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo did likewise with health insurer RBS Salute. Moreover, Brazil’s Caixa Econômica Federal was in the process of re-organizing its bancassurance interests through increasing the equity stakes held in its joint ventures with CNP, Icatu and Tokio Marine, while La Banque Postale became the majority shareholder in CNP Assurances, an event that will propel it into the top five of the global ranking for 2020.

About Insuramore

Insuramore is a provider of marketing services and related consultancy with a primary focus on the insurance sector. Its positioning stems not only from the broad range of services that it offers and its worldwide coverage but also from its deep understanding of all types of insurance spanning life, health and P&C (non-life) insurance, whether bought by individual consumers, commercial enterprises, the public sector or not-for-profit entities, plus related services such as assistance and warranties. Insuramore’s insurance provider rankings provide original and unrivalled insights into carrier (underwriter) groups around the world. The full list of insurance types about which Insuramore can provide data, research and consulting services at an international level can be seen here.

Learn more at: www.insuramore.com

Voyager Insurance Services Appoint New Managing Director And Other Senior Positions

Voyager Insurance Services Ltd is delighted to announce the appointment of Stephen Cox as Managing Director of the company.

Steve, who has been with Voyager Insurance for 4 years as Finance and Operations Director, succeeds Carl Carter, who will remain a Non-Executive Director.

Steve commented on his appointment, "It is a proud moment to be appointed as Managing Director of Voyager Insurance, following Jonathan Buttery and Carl Carter who are both well-known in the industry and tough acts to follow. There is no doubt the past year has been incredibly challenging for Voyager Insurance, as it has been for many of our peers and contemporaries, though with the team we have at Voyager I feel sure that we are well placed to make the most of 2021, no matter what the year throws at us."

He continued, "John Peters continues in his role as Sales Director, and his wealth of experience and effervescent personality remain invaluable as we continue to drive the business forward. I am also pleased to announce that the Trading Board will be strengthened by the addition of Bianca Williams who becomes our Operations Director, Chris Gooden who becomes our Broking and Underwriting Director and Adam Underhill who takes on the role of Marketing Director. These new roles better reflect the additional responsibilities that each of them has taken on in recent years. During the pandemic their input, commitment and resilience have helped the business navigate challenging and ever-changing environment."

Cox summarised by saying, "There has been a lot of change over the last year at Voyager Insurance, however these changes have been necessary to place the company in the best possible position for the future. Every single member of the Voyager Insurance team has performed heroically over the past 12 months and together we look forward to celebrating the company’s 25th Anniversary later this year."

Holiday Industry Bounce-Back On The Cards As Britons Focus On Quality And Safety Over Price

  • Brits are prepared to spend £1,334.82 extra on ensuring holiday safety
  • Majority of British households (55%) want to get away now vaccinations are being rolled out 
  • Quality over price: 36% of people want the very best insurance that covers them for COVID before their next trip

Covid-19 may have disrupted the global travel industry in 2020, but it has not diluted the public’s hunger for overseas holidays. According to a new consumer insight report by AllClear Travel Insurance, the industry will bounce back in 2021 – although the new focus on safety and quality has replaced the once-popular focus on bargains and cheap deals. 

The study, out today, is the first of its kind to track consumer attitudes towards travel throughout the course of the pandemic era – tracking opinion and sentiment at each pivotal point of the last year - the lockdowns, the tier restrictions, the response to news of breakthroughs with the vaccines. 

The report at a glance:

Emerging from lockdown

After the first lockdown, two thirds of Britons wanted an overseas holiday in the summer and safety emerged as the top priority for holidaymakers, rather than price.  More than two in five respondents (44%) said they wanted to visit a country with a good COVID record, whilst 36% said that having the best insurance cover possible, covering them for COVID, was top of their agenda. 

As popularity for last minute deals and cheaper air fees dropped – AllClear found that UK adults were prepared to spend £1,334.82 more than they would usually on their holidays to ensure their trips would be as safe as possible.  This rose to £1,644.23 for those with underlying health issues. 

Tightening the reins once again

In the autumn when UK restrictions began to tighten, once again AllClear’s study showed that UK residents were itching to get away from their homes. The percentage of people looking to book a short haul break doubled from 24% in July to 51% in November. Whilst appetite for long haul breaks tripled from, 10% in July to 30% in November. 

Interestingly, the type of break that holidaymakers were choosing reflected the impact of the pandemic. The research suggested that staycations rose in popularity - with 17% of those looking to book a getaway opting for a villa or private house, compared to just 5% who were choosing to book a cruise. 

Rumours of a Vaccine

With news of a possible Vaccine at the end of 2020– more than half of UK adults (55%) said they would feel comfortable going on holiday again as traveling came a top priority for plans in 2021. The resurgence of interest in planning holidays was strongest amongst older people, and was consistently popular across all UK regions – an early indication that the travel sector could find its feet quicker than has been reported in the news. 

Chris Rolland, CEO of AllClear Insurance comments: “There’s no doubt that the travel industry has taken a severe multi-billion pound knock but for 2021 UK consumers are intending to travel and their focus is now more on safety and quality rather than a hunt for a bargain break.”

“For more than 20 years, award-winning AllClear has helped cover more than three million policyholders. We are passionate about enabling people to obtain specialist travel insurance whatever their pre-existing medical conditions or age - and we will be leading the charge to make travel safe again this year so people can have those dream holidays as soon as the Covid threat subsides. Covid has been an assault on people’s most basic freedom, the freedom to travel, and we expect to see an emphatic holiday boom this summer as the vaccine helps us to turn the tide on this terrible pandemic.”

More detail on the AllClear COVID-19 policy:

  • Medical expenses - up to £15 million emergency cover for Covid-19. 
  • Cancellation and trip curtailment cover for COVID-19 - if a family member becomes ill with Coronavirus or has to quarantine as a result of medically diagnosed Coronavirus.
  • Full Repatriation - cover on costs to bring you back to the UK. 
  • Carer expenses: Up to £2,000 expenses for a friend or relative to travel from your home area to stay with you.   
  • Recuperation cover - costs for a continued recuperation stay.
  • Emergency flights - costs for your return flight following an enforced stay due to Coronavirus.
  • Up to 30 days free extended cover - should your policy expire whilst you are ill with, quarantined or recuperating from COVID-19 on holiday.

Factors that became more important to those considering an overseas holiday in the months ahead

Picking a destination based on its safety in terms of COVID-19

44%

The risk of the country going back into lockdown

42%

Social distancing on flights – not getting on a packed plane

39%

Having the best insurance cover that fully covers me for COVID-19

36%

The state of the health service in the country I’m visiting

36%

The prospect of having to go into quarantine when I’m back

30%

Comfort that airports would be safe

29%

Avoiding using public transport

27%

Good customer reviews online for the safety of the resort

26%

Paying more for quality insurance rather than getting the cheapest cover

21%

The country’s track record for expertise in medical conditions that I have

20%

The ability to drive to my destination rather than use a plane

17%

The hotel/resorts proximity to a good hospital

14%

 

 

With underlying health issues

 

Average £

Those with £

Those without £

Quality of resort or hotel

308.15

284.95

318.43

Grade of travel (first class)

213.55

221.21

209.87

Choice of airline

198.37

216.84

189.85

Car rental

136.16

144.33

132.44

Food/quality of restaurant

130.22

169.51

113.38

Private excursions

124.45

321.79

324.41

Travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions

88.01

117.41

73.03

Travel insurance that covers factors relating to COVID-19

82.49

103.91

72.86

Taxis rather than public transport

53.42

64.28

48.41

Total

1334.82

1644.23

1482.78

UK Floods: Zurich Offers Claimants Mental Health Lifeline

As the UK lockdown comes into force yet again, Zurich Insurance UK responds to the national demand for mental health support through Zurich General Insurance Support Services.

From today, the insurer will offer five free short-term counselling sessions[1] for all current UK policyholders who are in the process of making a claim. This benefit extends to their immediate families over the age of 18.

A recent[2] UK pilot showed that seven out of ten policyholders that sought the short-term counselling support were females over the age of 30 [3]. This is a demographic that could be struggling with the balance of work and family commitments during lockdown. The data also suggests that not enough men are seeking help with just three out of ten taking up the opportunity.

Those that use the counselling sessions will not be obliged to disclose the result of any clinical consultations with Zurich and taking part in any sessions remains entirely optional. 

As well as providing five short-term counselling sessions, the Support Service also offers free:

  • Family caring
  • Career coaching
  • Debt and money management
  • Legal information

David Nichols, Head of UK Claims at Zurich UK, comments: “Dealing with further lockdown measures wasn’t the start to 2021 we were hoping for. With work and home stresses becoming further entrenched, adding additional problems to navigate to someone who may already be experiencing heightened mental health issues must be addressed and mitigated.

“Making any insurance claim is often a time of heightened uncertainty and it is therefore necessary that we as insurers do the right thing for our customers who might already be at the end of their tether due to lockdown. Addressing this time of heightened stress for claimants, by allowing those involved to speak to a professional so a burden ceases to develop, is the right thing to do.

“Our pilot demonstrated that the majority of those seeking counselling support were females over 30 years old – a demographic that could be struggling to balance the stresses of work and day to day family life during lockdown. We also recognise that there is a gender disparity here with far fewer men taking advantage of our free service.”

[1] Counselling is provided independent service provider Workplace Options. All sessions are run by fully qualified and experienced counsellors (BACP, UKCP)

[2] between January and September 2020

[3] 30% male and 70% female

Aetna International Introduces New Mental Health Benefits To Its Core iPMI Offering

Aetna International, a leading provider of global health benefits, has today announced new updates to its Summit and Pioneer plans that will enhance the mental health and well-being support available to its global members.

The updates are part of the company’s wider commitment to addressing the growing mental health challenges associated with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and are designed to provide members with an easy, accessible way to look after their mental well-being on a day-to-day basis.

The expanded range of mental health and well-being benefits are designed to support members on their health journey, from discovery and growth to mental health treatment and support. They are applicable to Summit plans, a flexible IPMI solution created for businesses, as well as Pioneer plans, IPMI designed for individuals and their families.

The new updates include access to Aetna Mind: a holistic approach to supporting members with evidence-based tools and support, from an award winning conversational chatbot app (Wysa) to Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) counsellors as well as clinical support via vHealth Doctors where eligible. EAP telephony and face-to-face counselling is now also included across all Summit plan levels and for Individual members as a new Member Assistance Programme (MAP). Additionally, co-pays no longer apply to psychiatric treatment and inpatient psychiatric treatment will now be included in both Summit and Pioneer 1750 plans as a standard benefit.

Damian Lenihan, Executive Director Europe at Aetna International said, “Our aim is to support businesses and individuals by ensuring they have access to the mental health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. These updates reflect our commitment to ensuring that mental health is valued and prioritised in the same way as physical health for both corporate and individual members.”

“In 2021 we want to focus on the challenges of mental health. Throughout the year our ‘Building better mental health together’ programme will focus on just that; how we can tackle the mental health challenges we all face, both internally with our employees as well as externally with our customers and members. We want to ensure everyone has access to the care and help they need wherever they are on their journey, which is why we are tailoring our products to help meet the short- and long-term mental health needs of our members.”

The updated offering continues to include benefits such as:

  • Free access to Wysa, a mental well-being app that provides anonymous chat support, self-guided exercises and in app coaching – now including Covid anxiety modules, an enhanced therapist led coaching programme and access to over 13s for adolescent mental well-being support
  • Access to Aetna International’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
  • Access to vHealth: Eligible members will have access to a doctor via phone or video link as part of Aetna’s virtual health platform for consultation, diagnosis and onward referral
  • Free access to myStrength, an interactive and personalised app that helps address stress, anxiety, chronic pain and more
  • Access to Health Hub for further well-being support, member offers on Mind and Body self-care solutions, expert content and links to Aetna International’s Care and Response Excellence (CARE) team for 24/7 health and well-being clinical support

Aetna International is committed to helping create a stronger, healthier global community by delivering comprehensive health care benefits and population health solutions worldwide. One of the largest providers of international private medical insurance, Aetna International serves almost 900,000 members worldwide, including expatriates, local nationals and business travelers. Its global benefits include medical, dental, vision and emergency assistance and, in some regions, life and disability. Aetna International also offers customised technological and health management solutions for health care systems, government entities and large employers to improve people’s health, enhance quality of care and contain costs. Aetna International is a subsidiary of Aetna, a CVS Health company, which serves an estimated 34 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care.

For more information, see www.aetnainternational.com or LinkedIn.

Sedgwick’s UK Fraud Investigation Division Appoints New Leader And Announces New Investment In Leading AI Technology

Sedgwick, a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions, today announced new leadership appointments and investment in new AI technology to enhance the existing service.

Ian Carman has been appointed director, head of investigation services. Carman has 24 years of experience in property and fraud investigation including as the counter fraud field operations manager at a multinational general insurance company. Prior to joining Sedgwick, he was head of property claims at an insurance investigation and intelligence services provider.

Additionally, Adam Parry is joining Sedgwick as head of home investigation services. Parry has extensive experience in complex fraud. He comes to Sedgwick from an investigation company, where he was property operational lead and most recently property technical lead.

To support our clients further, as many have operations outside of the UK, Steve Crystal, who previously played a leading role in the UK fraud team, will now oversee the development of fraud investigation services across the company’s international operations.

Along with the introduction of a new leadership team, Sedgwick is investing in new technology which uses market-leading data gathering using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, propensity modelling and voice risk analysis.  This new technology coupled with highly skilled investigators, will allow the team to build on their success over the past three years where we have saved clients over £100 million in fraud costs across home, commercial, motor and liability claims.

“As the UK investigative services business has evolved, we have continually enhanced and refined our solutions by investing heavily in talent and technology, including the latest additions of a fraud analytical solution and the automation of the screening functions to improve fraud detection.”

“Given the great market reputation of our fraud services, we are excited to have high-calibre professionals in Ian and Adam joining this outstanding Sedgwick team.” said Neil Gibson, chief operating officer for Sedgwick in the UK.

Ian Carman said “Sedgwick has a great market reputation for investigative technical expertise, and I’m delighted to be joining at such a pivotal time.  In these challenging economic times, protecting our clients and their customers from the cost of fraud is essential.  The significant investment in the very latest data analytics and fraud risk modelling technology combined with our extensive human expertise places Sedgwick in a very strong position to deliver innovative and market-leading counter fraud solutions for our clients.”

Covid Will Intensify Burnout Unless Employers Intervene

Monday 18 January 2021 is officially Blue Monday and, whilst this one day is highlighted as a particularly low point, employers should consider the bigger picture. Preventative and curative measures must be put in place.

‘Employers must look at tackling burnout in a sustainable way, eradicating the factors and issues before they take hold,’ says Debra Clark, head of specialist at Towergate Health & Protection. ‘The past year has been incredibly tough for everyone. With the effects being cumulative, for some people they may only just be beginning to show. Now is the time for employers to ensure they have everything in place to offer employees the support they need, and clearly communicate it or risk burnout.’

What is burnout?

Burnout is mental, emotional and physical exhaustion related specifically to the workplace as a result of persistent, long-term stress.

How Covid is increasing burnout

The whole situation surrounding Covid carries an increased risk of employees reaching burnout. The move to flexible working would have seemed positive to some at first, but for others working remotely, from home, under different circumstances, or during different hours, brings a new level of anxiety. Added to this is the concern about future employment and generally having to juggle more demands. The work-life balance is lost for many as work becomes a more integral part of life and the boundaries become significantly blurred. What began for many as working from home, has now become living at work. 

How employers can help

It is crucial that prevention and intervention are part of the company’s health and wellbeing programme, and there are many options to ensure employees are directed to or given the right support.

Health and wellbeing solutions have been ramped up in light of Covid and employers need to be aware of what is available and make provisions for their workforce, such as: 

  • Virtual GPs – available standalone or increasingly included as standard within health and protection benefits
  • Online mental health counselling support services
  • Stress intervention and management support
  • Mood-tracking apps
  • Health education apps
  • Online/remote health assessments and screening options
  • Wellbeing and lifestyle guidance, webinars and workshops
  • Mental health first aid training and support

It is important to assist with preventing burnout and minimise the impact it has on an individual by quickly recognising the signs and providing interventions and support as soon as possible.

Debra Clark continues: ‘We all have down days, but burnout is a consequence of ongoing, long-term pressures and it can have a devastating effect. Implementing wellbeing benefits is not the soft option. They tackle a very real problem that affects the company as a whole and not just the individual employee. Putting measures in place now will minimise the risk in the future.

‘Burnout may be as much down to the culture of the company as to the way the individual deals with the stresses, so employers must think carefully about what they are offering staff by way of support and in terms of boosting morale, mental health and positivity.’ 

 

ADR And Alitalia Begin Digitalising Negativity Certificates With ICC AOKpass

Aeroporti di Roma and Alitalia have today begun using ICC AOKpass in a pilot scheme to digitise Covid-19 rapid antigen test results, carried out at the airport.

ICC AOKpass, a collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International SOS and SGS, was the first digital travel pass to be used by a national immigration authority to verify the Covid-19 status of inbound travellers, on a Japan to Singapore flight in December 2020.

The testing will allow passengers bound for New York on Alitalia Covid-tested flights to present, upon boarding, a digital negativity certificate from a Covid-19 rapid antigen test, augmenting safety and saving time during travel procedures.

The new Aeroporti di Roma and Alitalia procedure is simple: once the AOKpass app has been downloaded the onto the passenger’s mobile device and, after taking the test at Fiumicino airport, travellers will receive the result via a QR code that authenticates and securely stores the negative result on the device. Upon boarding the flight to New York, passengers will then be able to use their digital health credentials checked by boarding attendants scanning the QR code directly.
The digitisation of this process – in collaboration with the doctors of the USMAF of the Italian Ministry of Health – is a further step in creating new protocols for safe access to aircraft, a procedure which began in September, in partnership with the Region Lazio, with Alitalia Rome-Milan Covid-Tested flights and which continued in December with the opening of “quarantine free” flights from the US.

Arnaud Vaissié, CEO, Co-founder and Chairman, International SOS said: “This is another landmark step in the opening up of international travel, providing passengers with an easy to use experience, with the high security standards of the ICC AOKpass. As responses to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to fluctuate worldwide, adaptable and secure verification to return to travel is essential, particularly to enable business travel which is key to global economic recovery.”

As an alternative to the self-isolation system, which is difficult to control and penalising for healthy people, in the coming months, passengers will increasingly undergo preparatory rapid or molecular tests before boarding, especially for long-haul destinations.

With the progress of vaccinations, there may soon also be the opportunity to show a vaccination certificate in order to board safely and without incurring limitations. The digitalisation of these processes launches today with the use of the ICC AOKpass and will be developed further via a range of health services and authorised travel passes.

“Leonardo da Vinci” is considered one of the safest airports in the world, to such an extent that it has obtained the maximum rating of 5 stars from Skytrax on anti-Covid health protocols, the Health Accreditation by Aci and has been chosen, for the third consecutive year by Aci Europe, as the best port in Europe precisely due to its virus containment measures.

All Alitalia aircraft are sanitised daily using highly disinfectant products and, thanks to HEPA filters and vertical circulation, the air on board is renewed every three minutes and is 99.7% pure.

“This new experimentation confirms ADR’s willingness to continue the path undertaken and, based on a maximum security airport, is aimed at defining new safe and innovative travel protocols,” said CEO of ADR Marco Troncone. “Now, our hope, on which we are strongly committed, is that the Covid-tested travel procedures launched at Fiumicino with the order of the Ministers of Health, Transport and Foreign Affairs dated 23 November 2020, will be extended to other countries and Italian airports, because we are convinced that this is the only way to guarantee the greatest safety of passengers and to enable the resumption of air traffic and international connectivity, which is essential for our country.”

“With the introduction of this digital process, Alitalia reaffirms its commitment to offer flights to and from Italy in full safety. We were the first company to introduce Covid-Tested flights, with the Rome-Milan route first, followed by the Rome-New York route”, said Alitalia CEO Giancarlo Zeni. “We hope that this initiative will also help to restore the confidence of travellers, recalling that aircraft are the safest means of transport, even during this pandemic period. Our instruments and the filters we use inside the aircraft make the air quality comparable to that of an operating theatre”. 

 

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