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iPMI Magazine Featured Interviews

iPMI Magazine Speaks With Jody Baker, Commercial Director, Charles Taylor Assistance

iPMI Magazine Speaks With Jody Baker, Commercial Director, Charles Taylor Assistance

In this exclusive iPMI Magazine interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, sits down with Jody Baker, Commercial Director, Charles Taylor Assistance. They discuss in detail Charles Taylor Assistance, their services, the types of clients they work with, the current international medical assistance and cost containment market and the affect of COVID-19 on the industry. Please introduce yourself and your background in the international private medical and travel insurance market: I joined Charles Taylor Assistance...

09-04-2020 Executive Industry Interviews

iPMI Magazine Speaks With Mike Webb, CEO, Healix International

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...

11-03-2020 Executive Industry Interviews

iPMI Magazine Featured News Articles

COVID-19 And Its Impact On The Middle East And North Africa (MENA) Region

COVID-19 And Its Impact On The Middle East And North Africa (MENA) Region

Jacob Weiss – Global Threat Analyst – MENA for global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider, Healix International, provides an insight into the impact of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa. The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to every country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with the impact likely to be immediate and long-lasting. Before the first case of COVID-19 was...

29-04-2020 Articles Case Studies

Air Alliance Joins International Assistance Group As Accredited Service Provider

Air Alliance Joins International Assistance Group As Accredited Service Provider

Reflecting the needs of travel insurers and their medical assistance providers, with three strategically placed European bases in Germany, the UK and Austria, Air Alliance provide technically supported platforms for their impressive fleet of 11 pre-configured air ambulances. A variety of Learjets forms a core which quickly covers Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. An experienced planning team and availability of pilots will extend the range to North and South...

28-04-2020 iPMI Magazine Medical Air Ambulance Repatriation Medevac Company News

Traveller Assist Evacuates Scientists From Costa Rican Jungle During COVID-19 Global Lockdown

Traveller Assist Evacuates Scientists From Costa Rican Jungle During COVID-19 Global Lockdown

At 02:45hrs, global medical and security assistance provider, Traveller Assist received a phone call from a distressed male who explained that he was a member of a small scientific team who had been on a remote expedition in the jungles of Costa Rica for the past 12-weeks; with absolutely no contact with the outside world, and seemingly no idea about the global lockdown that is in place due to Covid-19. The...

27-04-2020 Articles Case Studies

A Video Message from Gitte Bach, CEO and President, New Frontier Group

A Video Message from Gitte Bach, CEO and President, New Frontier Group

A message for everyone, from Gitte Bach, President & CEO at New Frontier Group – please listen in.

24-04-2020 Cost Containment News

VIDEO: Global Excel Develops StandbyMD COVID-19 Virtual Assistant

VIDEO: Global Excel Develops StandbyMD COVID-19 Virtual Assistant

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on call centers around the world. Emergency departments have been overwhelmed by worried patients, multiplying the risk of infection. In response, Global Excel has developed a COVID-19 version of their StandbyMD directional care solution, which uses Artificial Intelligence to assess patients’ health risk level, screening for COVID-19-specific symptoms, and proposes the most appropriate type of care, anywhere in the world – including their...

23-04-2020 Cost Containment News

Healix International Ensures Successful COVID-19 Repatriations

Healix International Ensures Successful COVID-19 Repatriations

During the last month global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider, Healix International, has been working closely with clients around the world to bring their employees and students home before borders closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. With the situation changing rapidly, and differing vastly between countries and regions, Healix used its international network of experts to help clients navigate the crisis and repatriate their people...

22-04-2020 iPMI Magazine Medical Travel Technical Roadside Assistance Company News

The iPMI Market In Focus

International Health Insurance 2019: The Definitive iPMI Market Report

International Health Insurance 2019: The Definitive iPMI Market Report

Leading international private medical insurance publisher iPMI Magazine is excited to announce the launch of “International Health Insurance 2019 - International Health Insurance for Expats, High Net Worth Individuals, 3rd Country Nationals, Domestic Nationals and Global Nomads: Volume 1, 2 and 3.  There are more opportunities than ever for insurers and brokers to sell health insurance globally to locals and internationals. The global demand for health insurance is rising fast; There are opportunities for...

05-04-2019 International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Reports

iPMI Magazine Latest Video

Video: In 2019 The Definition Of An Expatriate Is Obsolete

Video: In 2019 The Definition Of An Expatriate Is Obsolete

The definition of an expatriate is obsolete because more people, including local nationals and expats, regularly travel internationally, due to their lifestyle, income and careers: a view shared by Ian Youngman, author of the brand new IPMI report, International Health Insurance 2019 and Generali Global Health CEO Marco Giacomelli. In the video Generali Global Health CEO Marco Giacomelli explains why IPMI is so important for globally mobile people and why the traditional concept...

19-06-2019 Articles Case Studies

iPMI Magazine Provider Network

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

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...

11-03-2020 iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Starr Companies Appoints Jason Jenkins Head Of General Aviation, Major Risks

Starr Companies is pleased to announce that it has appointed Jason Jenkins as Head of General Aviation, Major Risks. Jason will lead the team and oversee the day-to-day activities as the group continues to grow as a lead market for Major General Aviation Risks, both fixed and rotor wing.

Jason has 25 years of underwriting experience within the General Aviation market, with Insurance Companies as well as Lloyds of London.

“Jason is a well-regarded underwriter with strong relationships with agencies and aircraft operators throughout the world,” says Steve Blakey, Chief Executive Officer for Starr Underwriting Agents Limited. “We are pleased to welcome him to Starr at this exciting time.”

Jason will report to Jim Herbert, Chief Underwriting Officer for International Aviation and will be based in London.

Starr Companies (or Starr) is the worldwide marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. and its subsidiaries. Starr is a leading insurance and investment organization with a presence on five continents; through its operating insurance companies, Starr provides property, casualty, and accident & health insurance products as well as a range of specialty coverages including aviation, marine, energy and excess casualty insurance. Starr’s insurance company subsidiaries domiciled in the U.S., Bermuda, Hong Kong and Singapore each have an A.M. Best rating of “A” (Excellent). Starr’s Lloyd’s syndicate has a Standard & Poor’s rating of “A+” (Strong). Starr’s insurance company subsidiary domiciled in China has an A.M. Best rating of “A-” (Excellent).

Jim Herbert, Chief Underwriting Officer, Starr ,Companies ,Appoints Jason Jenkins, Head ,General ,Aviation, Major, Risks, Major General Aviation Risks, both fixed ,rotor wing

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BSI and International SOS Develop Duty of Care And Risk Mitigation Standard

BSI (British Standards Institution) announced the intent to create PAS 3001:2016; a code of practice to provide global organisations with a standardisation document that describes best practices to manage risks and provide duty of care to their employees who are working abroad. 

Commissioned by International SOS the PAS will provide best practices on assessing risks to employees abroad and developing policies to mitigate those risks. 

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive of BSI said, “For businesses to reach their full potential they must be able to diversify into new markets. Often this means international movement of products, people and services. When it comes to people, which we consider one of the most valuable assets a business can have, they should feel safe and protected in the new territories they venture into. PAS 3001 will provide guidance to employers to safeguard and support their employees when abroad in unfamiliar locations. This in turn allows employees to confidently focus on their jobs and task at hand.”

Arnaud Vaissié, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of International SOS, said, “Today’s organisations have increasingly large numbers of employees working and travelling abroad. As a result, employers have an increased duty of care to protect their employees. Our goal in supporting this standard is to provide best practices to deliver on that duty of care.” 

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard that is developed through a consensus-building process facilitated by BSI. The draft title of PAS 3001:2016 is Working Abroad – The responsibilities of an organisation for health, safety and security – Code of Practice.  

BSI will compose a representative steering group of experts from industry, government, and academia that will be responsible for the technical content of the PAS. The PAS will be available for a public consultation period of one month, currently scheduled for March 2016.

International SOS invests heavily in standards and quality programmes. They are the first organisation in the world to be certified in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) newly published Guidelines for the delivery of telehealth service.1   In addition, International SOS has achieved global certification to ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems for its Assistance Centres, International SOS Clinics and Medical Services.

International SOS provides medical and travel security services. Their telehealth services platform provides medical information, advice, and referrals 24/7/365 to clients travelling or working abroad.

1 ISO/TS 13131:2014 ED1 Health Informatics Telehealth Services Quality Planning Guidelines. The technical specification belongs to a class of standards that provide flexible, general guidelines that support innovation in healthcare. 

 

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Punter Southall Health & Protection Launches Expatriate Benefit Solutions

Punter Southall Health & Protection, one of the largest health and protection advisers in the UK, has launched Expatriate Benefit Solutions, a unique service to support employers with expatriate staff.

The new service is especially relevant for employers with small numbers of expatriates looking to expand and diversify their business overseas and is provided in association with Healix International, Morneau Shepell, and Bupa Global.

Commenting on the launch, Teresa Wighton, Head of International Healthcare Consulting, Punter Southall Health & Protection, says: “A successful international assignment needs careful consideration, planning and substantial resources. The average cost of an assignment can be significant and failure can therefore not only be costly, but also result in reputational damage for the company and the loss of valuable employees. Our new service helps reduce these risks and provides employers with the valuable support services that can help employees and their families settle into a new environment.”

The service comprises three inter-related components - pre-assignment screening, a cultural training and expatriate employee assistance programme, and international medical insurance.

Pre-assignment screening is provided by Healix International, using a simple online health questionnaire which is completed for all family members and assessed by a medical team. This is then used to determine if employees or their dependants have any underlying health issues or conditions to enable the right support to be put in place before an assignment starts.

Jon Atkins, Director of Business Development, Healix International, says “Many of the illnesses and health related problems suffered by business travellers and expatriates while overseas are both predictable and preventable. With the experience we have gained through the 12 million medical screenings we carry out each year, we are able to provide a comprehensive and cost effective online solution for assessing the health risks facing employees and their dependants.”

The cultural training and expatriate employee assistance programme is provided by Morneau Shepell and is aimed at helping employees settle into a new work environment and help their families adapt to their new lives. It comprises:

  • A three-hour cultural training programme where employees learn skills and knowledge to live and work effectively within a different culture, and families learn how to communicate around feelings regarding the international assignment.
  • A unique employee assistance programme (EAP) tailored specifically to support the needs and challenges facing expatriates. The service is 24/7 and provides access to 250 expatriate counsellors in over 70 countries, who all have personal expatriate experience.

Richard Albert, Vice President, Global Business Development at Morneau Shepell, says: “We are a leading and experienced expatriate EAP provider that has the unique understanding of the psychosocial impact of international relocation on diagnosis and treatment of problems. This clinical understanding enables us to effectively address expatriate problems and the spill over of these into the workplace. We also take a dual mandate, not only to provide short-term solution-focused counselling support, but also to sustain expatriates while on assignment.”

Bupa Global is providing the international medical insurance for this new service.  Ian Abbott, Head of Intermediary Distribution UK, Bupa Global, says: “Punter Southall Health & Protection partnered with Bupa Global to develop international medical insurance plans that fit the needs of expatriates wherever they are in the world. The products are available exclusively to clients of Punter Southall Health & Protection and are designed to give the ultimate assurance and peace of mind when sending employees and their families overseas. They provide cost effective, benefit rich cover, supported by a range of on-line services and 24/7 helpline advice and support.”

 

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

State of emergency has been extended for 2 months from 24 December until 21 February 2016. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces are on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations. You should be especially vigilant and avoid crowded places over the holiday period, including around Mouled (24 December), Christmas and New Year.

If you choose to travel to or remain in Tunisia then you should check that your insurance policy provides adequate cover. You should be especially vigilant and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities.

There are no direct flights between the UK and Monastir or Enfidah airports. There are daily Tunis Air flights from Tunis Carthage airport direct to London, and indirect daily departures with European carriers. Contact your airline or travel company directly if you have an enquiry about your travel plans.

If you need consular assistance (above and beyond travel information) you should contact the British Embassy in Tunis.

The Tunisian presidency announced on 22 December 2015 that the state of emergency imposed after a suicide attack on a police bus on 24 November would be extended for a further 2 months from 24 December until 21 February 2016.

The threat from terrorism in Tunisia is high. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces are on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations. You should be especially vigilant over the holiday period, including around Mouled (24 December), Christmas and New Year. Avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company, if you have one.

A terrorist attack took place at Port El Kantaoui near Sousse on 26 June. Thirty eight foreign tourists were killed, including 30 British nationals. Further terrorist attacks are highly likely, including in tourist resorts, and by individuals unknown to the authorities whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups via social media. On 17 November the Tunisian authorities announced they had foiled a major plot to attack ‘hotels and vital installations’ in Sousse. On 24 November a number of security personnel were killed in a suicide attack on a police bus on Avenue Mohammed V in central Tunis. A state of emergency was declared for 30 days from 24 November 2015. 

Since the attack in Sousse, we have been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups in Tunisia. Although we have had good co-operation from the Tunisian government, including putting in place additional security measures, the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely. On balance, we do not believe the mitigation measures in place provide adequate protection for British tourists in Tunisia at the present time.

On 8 July, the Tunisian Prime Minister stated publicly that further attacks were likely. The Tunisian authorities have increased their security measures but have also acknowledged the limitations in their ability to counter the current terrorist threat.

International Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) For Tunisia

Take out comprehensive travel and international private medical insurance before travelling to Tunisia, to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad or emergency repatriation and evacuation. Be sure to read the small print of all iPMI policies before you purchase. 

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Insurance Companies And Products As We Know Them Today Will Have To Evolve

That's according to Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway, who took an executive seat on a recent iPMI Magazine round table business forum.

Although global risks have changed dramatically, medical inflation and the cost of employee benefits continues to cause concern. In the most recent iPMI Magazine Round Table Business Forum we spoke with leading C-Level executives from the world of International Private Medical Insurance about the rising cost of healthcare and medical inflation.

An AON report report shows that in 2015, medical costs are expected to increase by 10.15 percent before plan design changes and vendor negotiations—6 percentage points higher than the average inflation rate. In 2014, the global average medical trend was 10.34 percent. While the global average medical trend is expected to decline, three regions--Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America--are projected to see an uptick in rates for 2015.

Talking to the IPMI round table group about the Aon Hewitt report Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway told us, “I think that the data is pertinent and probably correct. Healthcare is a commodity that providers will control and deliver as they want, especially in the private sector with IPMI coverage. Hospitals and physicians have the upper hand in the delivery and pricing, thus the need for integrated services. As I heard a physician administrator in a hospital say once, during some insurance pricing negotiation, “this is our price and if you do not like it, I would like to see you admit and deliver the medical care the member needs." As long as the relationship of providers and insurance is antagonistic, a solution will not be able to achieved. More and more hospitals and physicians will develop and deliver health plans via their medical facilities and I predict that the multi-hospital system will develop internationally as it has happened in the USA or as we see with Hospiten and the like.

Insurance companies and products as we know them today will have to evolve.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY added, “Competition between iPMI insurers is intensifying and will continue to do so as new entrants dip their toe into the market and dream of taking a slice of the ever expanding market. Price cutting particularly amongst the employer-sponsored plans is inevitable as the larger players jockey for position and greater market share, all of which is good for the employer in the short term at least. As the saying goes, there is always someone out there who will take the risk. But there has to come a point where underwriters have to make a return on their investment. At this point premiums have to rise and with the relationship between insurers and medical service providers becoming all the more strained as medical treatment fees increase, that day is not too far away. This makes the job of the adviser /broker all the more important."

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH said,Employers are operating in an environment where they need to provide high levels of healthcare for their employees, sometimes due to statutory requirements and other times due to the natural tendency of employers to look after the well being of their workforce. Employers are typically under pressure to keep their operating costs low and when they review their budgets during their annual business planning cycles they will aim to minimise the cost of employee benefits. Due to these cost pressures, there may be situations where employers will downgrade the insurance coverage so that they can afford a plan rather than removing the plan altogether. Globality seeks to find solutions for their clients in these situations.

The global average inflation rate is interesting for comparing one year to the next. However, when it comes to employer-sponsored plans then the specific features of those plans should be considered. This means considering the locations of the insured members, the benefit levels, the treatment providers and network access. Referring to a single global average can be misleading for many employers.”

One of the most common questions we hear within the IPMI industry is: how will the cost of international private medical insurance rise in the next 5 years?

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH told us, “Costs are expected to continue to rise at levels above general price inflation. There are continual advances in medical science with new treatments and medicines being developed all the time. It is normal that insured members will demand the best treatments and services available, particularly for expatriates. In order for insurers to offer these new treatments then there will inevitably be premium increases.

However, insurers should not use this as an excuse to increase premiums beyond what is necessary. As can be seen recently, Globality is holding 2016 rates at 2015 levels for many categories of its business."

ARJAN TOOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CIGNA GLOBAL IPMI added, “Medical inflation is driven by unit cost, i.e. the price of each service; and utilization, that is how many and what type of services are used. As the world’s health care standards continue to rise and the range of treatment facilities and breadth of treatment options available continues to increase, it is without doubt that both unit cost and utilisation will also continue to increase.

It’s our job as the insurer to understand these risks and continually evolve our proposition to protect our customers from the impacts of medical inflation as far as possible. We’re continually working on initiatives to help minimize the impact of inflationary volatilities including investments in expanding our medical network and claims teams globally, meaning we can counteract medical inflation spikes to a certain extent as we build long-term relationships with hospital groups. It’s a lot about experience as well - it’s imperative that our claims advisors know the expected cost of a hip operation in Singapore, for example, and can ask the right questions to ensure the costs are appropriate.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to say exactly how premium costs will rise over a 5 year period, but our focus will continue to be on driving forward our mission of helping the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY commented, “If I had a crystal ball, it would be easy to answer this; however, the reality is that no one really knows to what extent iPMI premiums are going to rise over the next few years. What is certain is that premiums will continue to increase due to the rising cost of medical treatment along with the ever popular demand for private medical treatment.

That said, increased competition amongst the iPMI providers has, to some degree, helped to keep premiums palatable for most policyholders (putting to one side the notion that nobody likes to see their premiums increase), with average year on year increases running between 5-10% depending upon where a person is living and working. How long this will continue is anyone’s guess, but the market is hotting up with yet more new provider entrants trying their hand.”

GRISELLE CHERNYS, CEO, WELLAWAY added, “The cost of international private medical insurance will rise dramatically and this will be driven by the development and demand for new treatments, pharmaceuticals and technology. Longevity is also playing a role in the inflation and utilization of medical services which creates more demand and demand will drive costs.”

TO READ THE COMPLETE ROUND TABLE, THE RISING COST OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Philippines Travel Warning: Typhoon Melor (Nona)

Typhoon Melor (Nona) forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the country from 14 December 2015.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year. Most typhoons occur from June to December. There may be flooding and landslides. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Typhoon Melor (Nona) is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to parts of the country, in particular northern Visayas and southern Luzon, from 14 December.

Around 133,665 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2014. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to the Philippines.

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Control Risks Strengthens Its Technology And Information Security Services With Two Key Hires

Control Risks is expanding its technology and information security offerings with the addition of two seasoned experts. Kate Yamashita joins as Managing Director for Cyber Security, and Rith Kem joins the company as Managing Director for Technology.

“We are seeing a growing number of companies looking for ways to use corporate data to drive strategic insights,” says Jim Brooks, CEO of Control Risks in the Americas. “But the same systems that capture and store that data also pose new risks. Cyber security is now consistently a board-level concern for our clients. Kate and Rith add to Control Risks’ expertise for these critical issues.”

Ms. Yamashita has more than 15 years of experience in security and specializes in cyber intelligence and information security strategy. She comes to Control Risks from CrowdStrike, where she oversaw a range of services including incident response and remediation, forensic and intelligence investigations, and threat and maturity assessments. The addition of Ms. Yamashita highlights the growth of Control Risks’ cyber security service offerings, which include strategic cyber threat intelligence, pre-incident assessment and prevention, and postincident response and remediation. Ms. Yamashita will oversee these services in the Americas region.

Mr. Kem has more than a dozen years of experience in applying technology solutions, helping companies to manage their own technology infrastructures and develop information governance strategies. He comes to Control Risks from FTI Consulting, where his focus included e-discovery, litigation support and data analytics. Mr. Kem’s arrival is the latest indication of Control Risks’ expanding technology services. These services now include e-discovery and litigation support, technology-assisted investigations and forensics, and advanced data analytics that offer strategic insights across complicated and disparate data sets.

“New technologies continue to create new and previously unforeseen risks for businesses,” says Brooks. “Control Risks is continuously enhancing its expertise to ensure that we remain ahead of these new challenges.”

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Shipping Losses Decline, Emerging Risks Pose Serious Challenges To Marine Industry And Insurers

  • 94 large ships lost worldwide in 2013, down 20% from last year, with foundering most common cause.
  • Piracy focus shifts away from Somalia to new hotspots: Indonesia and West Africa.
  • Indonesia attacks up 700% in five years. Evolving piracy tactics present new challenges.
  • Mega ships, Arctic shipping and alternative fuels create new industry risks.

Shipping losses continued their downward trend with 94 losses reported worldwide in 2013, coming in below 100 for only the second time in 12 years.

Losses declined by 20 percent from 2012 when there were 117 reported losses. The 2013 accident year also represents a significant improvement on the previous 10-year loss average with total worldwide shipping losses declining 45 percent since 2003.

“More than 90 percent of global trade is carried by sea so the safety of international shipping vessels and routes is critical to the health of the global economy,” said Tim Donney, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting. “While the long-term downward trend in shipping losses is encouraging, there is more work to be done to improve the overall safety of these vessels as well as their cargo, crew and passengers, especially in Asian waters. As an insurer we are always concerned about recognized issues such as training and safety management, - human error is not something we can ignore and lack of skilled workforce is still an issue - but we also need to be alert for new risks as the industry continues to develop.”

Asia saw highest number of marine losses and continues to be an area of focus According to the report, more than a third of 2013’s total losses were concentrated in two maritime regions. As in 2012, the South China, Indo China, Indonesia and the Philippines region saw the highest number of losses (18 ships), closely followed by the seas around Japan, Korea and North China (17 ships).

More than two years after the Costa Concordia disaster, improving passenger ship safety continues to be a priority, with 2014 likely to see the 100th loss of a passenger vessel since 2002. Asia remains a hotspot for passenger shipping losses, especially for smaller passenger vessels and ferries as demonstrated by the sinking of the ferry St. Thomas of Aquinas as a result of a collision with another vessel off Cebu in the Philippines in August 2013, with the loss of at least 116 lives.

“We have to ask how some Asian ship operators measure safety and quality, particularly when speaking about domestic trade shipping in South East Asia,” said Captain Jarek Klimczak, Senior Marine Risk Consultant at AGCS. “The understanding of quality and standards can sometimes appear 50 years behind Europe – maybe even more.”

Around the world, more than a third of the vessels lost were cargo ships with fishery and bulk carriers the only other type of vessels to record double-digit losses. The total loss of two bulk carriers in Asian waters in 2013, Harita Bauxite and Trans Summer, highlighted the importance of proper cargo handling and stowage of bulk cargoes. AGCS experts believe high moisture content and subsequent liquidization, leading to free flowing instabilization of the cargo to be the primary cause of the accidents. The most common cause of losses in the past year was foundering (sinking or submerging), often driven by heavy weather, accounting for almost 75 percent of all losses, which was a significant increase from both 2012 (47 percent) and the previous 10-year average (44 percent).

For the first time the report includes not only total losses but also the total number of shipping casualties by region. The East Mediterranean and Black Sea region is shown to be a casualty hotspot, responsible for 464 casualties (18%) out of a worldwide total of 2,596 during 2013, including the year’s oldest ship to be a total loss:

the 108 year old Hantallar which grounded off Tekirdag, Turkey. This region combines busy shipping routes and a reputation for weaker safety management practices with a regional fleet that has a higher proportion of lower quality older vessels. The report also shows that over the past decade the British Isles have been the location of the most casualties, while January is the worst month for all casualties (including total losses) in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere it is July. Piracy attacks still a concern – different models pose new challenges In 2013, piracy attacks declined 11 percent to 264 reported incidents worldwide according to International Maritime Bureau statistics - 106 of these occurred in Indonesia, which has seen a 700 percent increase in attacks since 2009.

Most of these attacks remain low level opportunistic thefts carried out by small bands of individuals but one third of incidents in these waters were reported in the last quarter of 2013, and there is potential for such attacks to escalate into a more organized piracy model unless they are controlled.

An emerging piracy hotspot with more organized crime is the Gulf of Guinea with 48 incidents in 2013, accounting for 18 percent of all attacks worldwide. Piracy attacks in Somalia have declined dramatically with only seven incidents in 2013 compared with 160 attacks in 2011. The report suggests the piracy model could be broken in Somalia in a couple of years if naval patrols continue.

Emerging Risks

An increasingly difficult operating climate for ship operators has forced a number of innovations, including larger ship sizes to capitalize on economies of scale, the use of alternative fuels and changes in ship designs. At the same time, more economical trading routes are fast appearing in Arctic regions during the summer months, but these present their own set of challenges.

Emerging risks identified include:

Vessel size: Last year marked the arrival of the largest container vessel on record, over 400 meters long and boasting capacity in excess of 18,000 teu. This trend is set to continue. AGCS estimates capacity grows by around 30 per cent every four to five years, meaning the arrival of 24,000 teu carriers can be anticipated around 2018.

“The claims arising out of maritime emergencies of these ‘mega ships’ can be huge. For example, just think of the business interruption of ports and terminals if an accident was to block the entrance,” said Dr. Sven Gerhard, Global Product Leader, Hull & Marine Liabilities, AGCS. “In addition, salvage might require unprecedented efforts and complex operations – in some cases it may take many months, or possibly a year or longer, to remove all the containers, particularly if the accident were to happen in a remote location. The large loss potential has increased for events which are not extraordinary on these big ships. And these are unchartered waters for salvors.”

Rise of LNG[1]-fueled vessels: Use of liquefied natural gas to power ships is expected to dramatically increase by 2020. There are safety concerns however, as the industry will see the rise of ports that have never previously handled LNG providing bunkering stations on dock.

“We need to ask what risks LNG-fueled ships will present to the industry. The concern is storing the LNG as fuel and handling it onboard. LNG expertise is not easily available – there needs to be a change in mindset and training,” said Capt. Rahul Khanna, Senior Risk Consultant, Marine, AGCS. Arctic trading routes: Shipping casualties in Arctic Circle waters have increased to an average of 45 per year during 2009-2013 from only 7 during 2002-2007. Damage to machinery caused a third of these incidents, higher than the average elsewhere, reflecting the harsher operating environment.

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Subsea Cables Identified As Major Insurance Risk For The Offshore Wind Industry

DNV GL, announced the launch of its guideline "Subsea power cables in shallow water renewable energy applications" (DNV-RP-J301), which provides a comprehensive review of subsea power cable practice and advice for managing the risk commonly associated with the cables.

The recommended practice, which is free to download from www.dnvgl.com/rules-standards/default.aspx#2, is the most comprehensive of its type in the industry. Technical guideline covers entire lifecycle of subsea power cables, from concept development to decommissioning, and is a comprehensive resource of project guidance.

Many existing offshore wind farms have faced subsea power cable problems caused by underestimation of complexities and interrelationships Guideline will become essential tool for stakeholders involved in renewable energy projects, improving safety and lowering costs for the wind industry Problems with subsea cables have affected many offshore wind farms and damage to cables has been identified as a major insurance risk for the offshore wind industry.

Cable related problems are costly and most often arise from inadequate risk identification, lack of planning, sub-standard design and deficiencies in how procedures are applied. To date, cabling failures have cost millions of euros in delays and numerous legal disputes.

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US Department Of Labor's OSHA Cites Werner Construction After Worker Fatally Struck By Front-End Loader

Werner Construction Inc. has been cited for three safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a maintenance worker was fatally injured after being struck by a front-end loader.

The worker became pinned between the loader and a semitrailer. The 35-year-old full-time employee died of his injuries on Sept. 14, 2013.

"Struck-by hazards continue to be one of the leading causes of injury to workers. OSHA has investigated 37 cases in the past six years in which a worker was fatally injured from a struck-by vehicle incident in the Kansas City Region alone," said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City. "Employers must train their workers to identify the potential for such hazards and take necessary precautions to prevent them."

Werner Construction was issued two serious citations involving operating the front end loader which had not received required servicing of safety features and failing to have someone adequately trained to administer first aid when medical treatment was not near the workplace. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The other-than-serious citation involved failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment for personal protective equipment. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA has proposed fines of $14,000.

In addition, OSHA has issued Werner Construction a hazard-alert letter because workers were exposed to being crushed when working around the front end loader which was being used to hold heavy materials in place. This letter is used to alert employers of potential hazard exposure and provide recommendations to protect the workers. Hastings, Neb.-based Werner Construction Inc. was last investigated by OSHA in 2009 after a worker was fatally injured while operating a paving machine.

In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional OSHA Office have involved struck-by vehicle accidents in the workplace.

Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving, powered industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. Because of this, OSHA is continuing its regional outreach initiative in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska to educate workers and their employers about preventing such accidents.

Causes of struck-by accidents typically involve reverse vehicle movement into a pedestrian outside the driver's field of vision, or vehicles falling off ramps, inclines or unstable ground. 

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Travel Anxiety: Looking To The Future

Travel Anxiety: Looking To The Future

By Chris Knight, Head of Assistance for Charles Taylor Assistance: providers of global medical & security assistance, travel risk and claims management. Not so long ago, global travel intelligence platform Skift coined the term, "Permanxiety" to describe the high levels of worry felt by business travellers - about everything from technology to terrorism and culture wars to climate change.  Little did it anticipate the coming of COVID Anxiety to add to this extensive list. Growing worries Back in March of this year, almost every member company of the Global Business Travel Association...

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