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iPMI Magazine Speaks With Michael Nole, Executive Vice President Sales And Marketing At World Travel Protection

In this exclusive iPMI Magazine interview, Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMI Magazine, met with Michael Nole, Executive Vice President Sales And Marketing At World Travel Protection. They discussed in detail the range of travel risk management services on offer from World Travel Protection, and how they provide vital support for business travellers and expats.

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

I am Mike Nole, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, at World Travel Protection. I am based in North America. I joined WTP in March 2022 from Cigna Global, where I spent 12 years, most recently as the Head of Business Development for the Americas. I was responsible for growing the global IPMI business through broker distribution and strategic partnerships.  During my time at Cigna, I worked as a Business Development Manager for the Western US and Canada with Global IPMI and as a New Business Manager for the Individual and Family Plan Segment from 2009 to 2013.  Before my time at Cigna, I worked as an insurance broker at Health Benefits Direct and was a school teacher prior to that.

In March 2022, you were appointed as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at World Travel Protection. Congratulations! What does the role involve?

I lead a rapidly expanding marketing and sales team across Australia, North America and EMEA, providing the best in-class class travel risk management solutions to businesses, governments, scholastic travellers and NGOs. 

As travel returns in 2022, it is our job to prepare and support organisations in the changed travelling landscape since the pandemic. Travellers face increased risk globally, from personal health and wellbeing concerns to a rise in criminal activity and terrorism as well as growing incidences of climatic and natural disasters.

World Travel Protection’s expertise and world-class technological solutions allows us to protect and keep travelling teams safe. Our over-arching vision is to provide the best possible service to our customers and this is what gets me out of bed every day.

Who is World Travel Protection?

World Travel Protection is a leading global travel risk management company - part of the Zurich Insurance Group. We deliver world class technological solutions to organisations, supported by our 24/7 emergency assistances, which help and support over 20 million travellers a year via our Command Centres in London, Brisbane, Toronto, and Buenos Aires (via our sister company Universal Assistance),

We provide travel assistance to both leisure and business travellers, giving them access to 24/7 emergency medical, security and travel assistance services. Emergency assistance encompasses medical case management, evacuation and repatriation together with providing access to virtual care services (telehealth) and security intelligence. Our Global Care Network gives our customers access to over 20,000 providers worldwide.

In addition to support services for medical, travel, and security emergencies, World Travel Protection educates and trains businesses before travel to limit the risks associated with travelling abroad.

Can you walk us through the core service offerings World Travel Protection provides to international private medical and travel insurance markets?

Travel risk management companies go above and beyond traditional travel insurance providers to provide vital support for their business travellers and expatriates.

Our global medical, travel and security assistance services can be split into eight core offerings as detailed below:

Medical and Travel Assistance: Our global services provide travellers with access to 24/7 medical and travel support using the best-in-class medical personnel, resources and procedures.

Security Assistance: Our security experts continually monitor global threats to help prevent or mitigate risks and keep our travellers safe. In the event of a security incident, we will evacuate travellers.  

Travel Risk Management Tools: Our Travel Assist App and Travel Assist Portal help to keep travellers – and those responsible for them – safe and informed using real-time global updates and alerts on their destination.

24/7 Emergency Assistance: Our Command Centres help travellers in need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When an emergency arises, our team of practising medical professionals and security experts are immediately on hand.

Trauma Counselling: In the event that a traveller is exposed to a traumatic incident while travelling, we are here to provide counselling and care through our sister company Benestar who offer telephone trauma counselling and access to experienced clinicians.

Telemedicine: Our telemedicine service helps travellers resolve non-urgent medical issues from the privacy of their hotel bedrooms, if they choose. We connect travellers with doctors who can provide medical support via phone or video call or help locate a suitable nearby medical facility if required.

Medical Cost Containment: Thanks to our pre-negotiated discounts and global buying power, we can provide quality medical care and pass on savings.

Inbound Assistance Services: Other medical and security assistance providers often use us to deliver their assistance services because of our established capabilities, global footprint and over three decades’ experience.

World Travel Protection is seen as a leader in Travel Risk Management. But what exactly is Travel Risk Management?

When it comes to corporate travel, there are a lot of moving parts, many of which are out of a traveller’s control, and unfortunately things can and do go wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s a broken leg or a cancelled flight to being caught up in a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, unforeseen issues can adversely affect even the best planned business trip.

Travel risk management companies offer services and care that go beyond traditional business travel insurance policies, which often only cover costs in the event of an accident or incident. They also take on the responsibility of foreseeing where incidents may occur in addition to providing medical, travel and security assistance in case of an emergency.

For companies or institutions with a culture that goes beyond basic duty of care, corporate travel risk management companies help provide vital support for their business travellers, expatriates and employees.

Our travel risk management solutions support, protect and keep travellers safe on the ground, and the risk managers responsible for their safety and wellbeing. Travel risk management companies help reduce stress for both risk managers and travellers by supporting them pre-, during and post-travel.

How can technology and digitisation improve the Travel Risk Management journey?

For companies and institutions with travelling employees or personnel, it’s incredibly important HR or risk managers know exactly where their travellers are at all times. If they don’t provide this duty of care, it’s hard for them to know if their travellers are in imminent danger should a security threat or natural disaster happen.

World Travel Protection’s geo-location technology allows travel risk managers to know exactly where their travellers are. Using our Travel Assist Portal and App, risk managers and their travelling personnel can communicate with each other as well as our team to help ensure they receive the support they need.

Our travel risk management app gives travellers 24/7 access to our emergency assistance Command Centres and location-specific travel alerts. The Command Centres are constantly monitoring international threats and will alert travellers of any potential risks based on their uploaded itinerary and geo-location feeds, helping them to travel safely. Also, by simply pressing the ‘emergency’ button, travellers can reach our team immediately if they feel in danger.

We also provide organisations with pre-travel information, using our intelligence on a country or specific location, allowing informed assessments to be made of whether its people are safe to travel there in the first place and what preparations should be taken if they do.

As we return to travel in 2022, what are the major risks travellers and organisations are facing?

Perhaps the greatest take-away from the pandemic is how quickly situations can change. Receiving accurate and timely information is more important than ever to ensure traveller safety. At World Travel Protection, we can help travellers and their risk managers make wise and confident decisions.

COVID has altered the risk profile for many parts of the world, particularly those suffering economically. It’s important this is identified during a general and COVID travel risk assessment – especially for business travellers – so the appropriate travel safety precautions can be put in place.

One risk, for instance, that has risen exponentially is cybercrime. A UK-based fraud awareness leader, Crowe, estimates that cybercrime has risen by 90% during the pandemic. For instance, we are advising our travellers to take extra care to reduce the threat of cyber-crime, to not use Wi-Fi hotspots, and to be very careful about giving away personal data. Vigilance is more important than ever to ensure that travellers are not scammed or fall foul of more sinister online attacks.

COVID 19 has had an unprecedented impact on travel and global mobility? How do we live with COVID 19?

For travellers, it’s essential that they know and understand the rules on COVID-19 in the area they are visiting, as they can differ even within a country. Travellers need to know, for instance, the entry rules and requirements as well as the rules around mask wearing and social distancing. It is important that travellers act lawfully as well as respectfully, as some countries have suffered greatly during the pandemic.

We describe this as the ‘COVID culture’ of a country, whereby depending on its own experience of dealing with COVID new social norms have developed. It’s essential to follow this new etiquette to ensure that no offence is given to locals and business associates while travelling. For instance, not maintaining social distance could be perceived as rudeness as well as extending a hand to shake in greeting.

It’s also important to remember that COVID-19 hotspots can still emerge very quickly and restrictions introduced with little or no notice. Last-minute travel amendments may become the norm for all travellers.

We had a case not long ago where one of our business travellers was mid-flight when their destination country announced new quarantine measures for people arriving in the country. We were able to reach the traveller before they had exited the transit area and book them on another flight. If they had exited, they would have been put in quarantine. Having the support of an emergency travel assistance organisation, like World Travel Protection, allows travellers to stay ahead of potential issues during this ever-changing environment.

Are Governments and Organisations prepared for the next pandemic or global catastrophe?

Very few organisations were prepared for COVID and those who were caught out need to learn from their mistakes.

Two years ago as the world started to be impacted, many organisations dusted off their business continuity plans only to realise they hadn’t been tested in years and they didn’t work. Leadership who had steadily ignored the need to test themselves in a crisis situation opted to bury their head in the sand and hope that the Corona Virus would go away. Those same companies that struggled to manage the response to COVID are no better placed now.

Those organisations who did manage their response to COVID well had a system in place. They had a defined process to follow and leaders who could make informed decisions. The successful companies engaged subject matter experts to inform their decisions and developed recovery plans to help them return to business as usual when the opportunity presented.

Many have referred to COVID as a 1 in 100-year happening. If that is to be believed then the next catastrophic event is likely to be a natural disaster or a manmade event such as terrorism or a major economic downturn. With the myopic nature of many organisations, all future events (in the short-med term) will be seen through the prism of their response to COVID and they will find that the response they used to a global health crisis won’t be sufficient.

For many governments their key metric for how well they managed COVID was how popular their decisions were. It became the hallmark of conservatives to follow the "freedom" model, whilst progressives went with much tighter measures. No one country got it right.

Some of the infrastructure developed during COVID can be used by governments, should we be exposed to another global pandemic, but any event other than this type will feel like a fresh set of challenges. Governments move slowly and learn selectively, the focus on economics will also hamper any response in the short term.

Now from a healthcare perspective, yes governments and organisations are more prepared due to the global pandemic nature of COVID. Previous outbreaks of Coronavirus SARS (e.g., swine or bird flu), Ebola were geographically localised epidemics, rather than global.

COVID has affected the healthcare spectrum namely:

  • Vaccine development speed;
  • Public Health directives e.g. PPE / Testing / Isolation and Quarantine / Disease tracking with Tech (mobile Apps);
  • Hospital surge capacity / different ways of working (virtual care) / rapid field hospital establishment;
  • BAU while battling the pandemic, albeit with cancellation of elective surgery / outpatients etc.;
  • Novel follow-up ways and virtual wards;
  • Multi-national / International co-operation re vaccines, healthcare strategies and treatment guidelines.

Finally: if you could live anywhere in the world, on land or at sea, where would it be? 

Vancouver, I just love it there. 





Healix International Wins At EMEA Forum For Expatriate Management Awards

Healix International, a leading global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services, has been named International Health, Wellbeing or Security Risk Management Provider of the Year at the EMEA region Forum for Expatriate Management Awards.

This award underlines the clear focus Healix International places on delivering forward-thinking solutions that are driven by client’s operational priorities, and the health, wellbeing and security of their staff.

The judges commented on the Healix entry: “A phenomenal response to COVID 19! Healix's COVID 19 response demonstrated agility, awareness and most importantly willingness and desire to help their clients.”

Previously, most risk management methodologies categorised travel-related concerns into four areas – operational risks, security risks, political risks and medical risks, but 18 months ago, a fifth unprecedented risk emerged - COVID-19. Monitoring the pandemic’s evolution, Healix understood that their client’s business travel requirements were going to change for the foreseeable future. To continue offering the same level of value and enable global business operations, Healix themselves had to adapt and respond.

With a strong belief in open, transparent relationships, Healix navigated this transition by maintaining a constant stream of communication with its clients. Through an acute understanding of risk and an ability to move with the times, Healix worked to help customers thrive in the new normal by developing its own risk management methodology and delivering new COVID support services - facilitating employees’ safe return to work, enabling essential business travel and ensuring client’s operational resilience for the months to come. The results of these advances have been highly positive.

Commenting on the win, Charlie Butcher, CEO Healix International, said, “It is very encouraging to achieve this win which reflects our commitment to providing a service that combines the best possible insight for risk mitigation, with hands-on expertise when support is required. We are delighted that our service and expertise has been acknowledged by the Forum for Expatriate Management in their EMEA Expatriate Management & Mobility Awards (EMMAs).  This latest win demonstrates that Healix International is at the forefront of the employee risk management sector, with a commitment to innovation as well as a sustained focus on the highest standards of customer service.”

Commenting on the awards, Claire Tennant-Scull, Global Director of Content & Events at FEM said, “The FEM EMMAs remain the gold standard awards for the global mobility and international HR industry. They are the only truly global, yet region-specific awards with the greatest breadth of categories for both corporate professionals and service providers.”

“EMMAs entries are always rigorously judged by a team of fiercely impartial, highly experienced, senior figures in the industry, who are drawn from a range of disciplines across the EMEA region and who give up their own free time to carry out a very thorough and demanding process. So these awards carry tremendous kudos. It’s so important to receive recognition among your peers for innovation and hard work and so I think the winners and all those on the shortlist should feel extremely proud.”

The Healix International integrated Global Travel Risk Management service provides an exceptional level of care for employees and an effective solution for employers. 


BLACK FRIDAY: Save Up To 33% When You Purchase International Health Insurance (IPMI) 2021 Report

With Black Friday almost upon us, iPMI Magazine announces a sale price on the current iPMI Market research report, International Health Insurance 2021.

There are now 80 million expatriates, 5 million international students, 4 million temporary foreign workers, and 18 million high net worth individuals of which 2.7 million are ultra high net worth. All of these are targets for iPMI.

If you are an iPMI Magazine Subscriber you may now access the complete report, with a 20% subsidy on the RRP. So, £3600 becomes just £2,880.*

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Learn more about this report click here.

Order your own copy of International Health Insurance (IPMI) 2021, or ask questions, write to ipmi[at]

*Offer ends 1/12/2021. This offer is only available when you purchase the report directly through iPMI Magazine. The report is still selling at full RRP on Research and Markets.


Designing A Benefits Package For Assignment Success With Caroline Walmsley, Global Head of HR, AXA Global Healthcare

The success or failure of an international assignment will often boil down to how supported the assignee feels during their time abroad, and how the assignment is managed. As an employer, one of the best ways to provide that support is with a well-designed benefits package.

The best benefits package is one that can adapt and be updated to meet the ever-changing needs of your employees, and the local requirements in their new home. With that in mind, it’s common for benefits to vary, depending on factors such as the duration of the assignment and the assignees’ personal and family circumstances.

But what do these packages actually look like? What are the fundamentals that should always be on offer and what are assignees looking for?

Cost of living allowance (COLA)

Most expats will expect to receive a cost-of-living allowance during their assignment. This is on top of their salary and is intended for any daily costs they might need to cover during their time abroad. Usually, these allowances are based on the difference in the cost of day-to-day goods and services between their host and home locations, and can be particularly important if the assignee is stationed somewhere with a high cost of living, such as Singapore.

The cost-of-living allowance is designed to ensure that an assignee is no better or worse off financially when living overseas. That said, in some cases where the host location is less expensive to live, employers won’t reduce a salary to make up the difference. This effectively increases the assignee’s standard of living for the duration of their assignment.

Relocation expenses

This benefit should cover all of the expenses an assignee might face when relocating. These expenses typically include the cost of flights (including for family, if applicable), international removals, temporary accommodation (if required), and visa and work permits. This often takes the form of a lump sum, which allows for out-of-pocket expenses to be covered.

Housing allowance

Housing allowance is another common feature of an expat benefits package and may include costs for basic utility services and domestic help. In some cases, assignees might even be provided with accommodation, at least on a temporary basis upon arrival, whilst they look for somewhere to settle for the duration of their assignment.

Home travel expenses

A typical expat package is also likely to include travel costs for assignees and their family to visit loved ones back home. Most packages cover the cost of a flight home once a year, although assignees may be able to negotiate more depending on personal circumstances. If there are children involved, their travel costs may need to be factored in from the start. Our research has actually found that nearly one-in-five (16%) assignees would consider travel insurance to be one of the most valuable benefits their employer could offer. It seems many want the support to fly home, and to be covered for things like lost luggage and cancellations, should there be any disruption.

Education allowance

Our research also found that nearly a third (31%) of international assignees have their immediate family with them in their work country. If that family unit includes children, it’s likely they’ll need to cover the cost of schooling. International schools are preferable for expats, and whilst they can be expensive, they do offer a higher standard of education. Access to these schools may well be a dealbreaker for an assignee with school-aged children.

This can be particularly important if an international school is the only viable option in the host destination, where there would be language or cultural barriers holding children back from being schooled locally. An international school will also ensure they can continue with the same curriculum in a similar environment to that in their home country.

On the flip-side, there will also be expats seeking support with schooling for children who have remained at home. Teenagers sitting important exams, for example, may prefer to stay behind than try to pick up their schooling in another country. For an employer to be considerate and supportive of this kind of family dynamic would certainly be appreciated by the assignee.

Healthcare costs

International health insurance should be the cornerstone of any expat package and is even a prerequisite in some locations. More than that, though, it’s something expats are keen to have. Our research has actually found that IPMI is two-in-five (39%) expats’ most valued benefit.

As an employer, it’s important to ensure the health and safety of your employees, so providing access to a robust healthcare package is imperative. It’s also important to show your team that you care about their wellbeing. Employees are keen to succeed in their assignment. To perform at their best, they need to know they have the best support: that they can count on medical treatment and advice whenever they need it. 

To that end, a healthcare plan should ideally include access to a 24-hour helpline - something assignees can turn to with any medical or security questions, or even to ask for help if they’re facing an emergency.

By listening to their needs, you’ll be in the best position to provide measures that will help them in their new home.


We Need Better Communication To Make International Assignments A Success 

By Tom Wilkinson, CEO of AXA Global Healthcare 

While international working can often be a breath of fresh air, it can also be an isolating experience; one that expats enter into eagerly but might not always be best prepared for. Combined with the expectation of delivering strong enough results to justify the cost of being sent overseas, all while trying to adapt to a new environment, it can be easy for an expat to begin to feel overwhelmed.  

With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that a fifth (21%) of all assignments end earlier than planned. Now, this can’t just be down to the work environment expats enter into. And it isn’t.  

Research we commissioned involved hearing from almost 600 HR Decision Makers and 600 Globally Mobile Workers, to see if there was a disconnect between what support was being offered to expats and what they felt would actually benefit them throughout their assignment.  

The communications gap 

We found that 82% of expats felt supported when they had a health issue, but they consistently weren’t aware of the full range of benefits on available to assist them. What’s even more revealing is the fact that HR directors knew, in every category asked, a great deal more than the assignees about the benefits available.  

If we dive a bit deeper, it became clear that the most commonly offered benefits were travel insurance (64%), accommodation costs (62%) and international health insurance (58%). Yet for expats, the benefits they wanted the most were international health insurance (39%), income protection (38%) and accommodation costs (34%).  

How to close the gap 

For businesses, focusing on communication will have a greater effect than they may realise. After all, the differences in understanding of available benefits is something that can be clarified and dealt with.  

If employees aren’t aware of what’s available to them, this could be perceived as a lack of support, and in extreme circumstances even contribute to the placement ending. Likewise, if they aren’t drawing on the benefits provided, employers aren’t reaping any rewards and are wasting money. These can both cause major problems for any employer.  

So, what should you focus on? 

Earlier research we commissioned  has shown that assignments are being designed with more of a focus on employees’ lifestyle ambitions. This is a step in the right direction, but further work is needed to ensure the wants and needs of assignees are being met.  

Listen to what is being asked  

We’ve seen already that international health insurance is the most valued benefit for international assignees, however, it is only the third-most commonly offered benefit.  Listening to what is being asked for is an easy win, ensuring happier, healthier expats and then in turn, more successful assignments.  

Make it flexible  

Each employee has a unique set of requirements and expectations when it comes to their benefit requirements. As an employer, recognising these and providing the right support, can help assignees make the most out of their time on assignment, so if, and when, challenges arise they feel supported and ready to face them.  

We found that a quarter (24%) of employees are left having to select their benefits from a pre-set list, and only 29% are offered the opportunity to negotiate the benefits they receive. It seems there is still a heavy reliance on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to benefits for internationally based employees.  

Perhaps put in place a more flexible healthcare package that allows for an assignee to choose which benefits would be best for them.  

Check in regularly  

In our research, we discovered that two-thirds (64%) of companies carried out a review of the assignment at least every six months.  

How often do you check in with your assignees? How often do they come forward to raise a concern? In all cases, better communication, and action off the back of that communication, can help everyone involved, both financially and emotionally. I know from my own experience living as an expat that working around the globe can be hugely rewarding, but it does come with challenges and requires a great deal of planning.  

What HR managers do to accommodate and listen to the needs of an assignee, before they make the move, makes a huge difference. As leaders, we must constantly be seeking ways to create an inclusive, productive and supportive work environment. The relationship between HR mobility managers and expats is essential and addressing any gaps in communication will put your business in a better position for success.  



International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Market Report 2021

There are 80 million expatriates, 5 million international students, 4 million temporary foreign workers, and 18 million high net worth individuals of which 2.7 million are ultra high net worth. All these are targets for international private medical insurance.

Expats and local workers of global companies and HNW individuals may no longer have the option of flying home or another country for medical treatment so may have to rely on local healthcare.

Global insurers have national and international healthcare networks that have a better capability for telemedicine than local insurers.

In almost every country the state healthcare network is under never before experienced pressure so access to private healthcare is increasingly essential. In some countries, expats will be at the back of the queue for state healthcare. In some countries, even access to private healthcare may be strained and hospitals may have to prioritise healthcare for long-term partners such as insurance companies over one-time private patients.

An increasing number of insurers are moving from being health insurers to healthcare providers protected by health insurance. With a linked move to Artificial Intelligence and teleconsultation, the world of IPMI is changing.

The fragile and volatile state of global stock markets is of concern to insurers who may already be vulnerable while offering opportunities to potential buyers of insurers and health insurance books of business. The environment for mergers and acquisitions among health insurers remains favourable as they continue to seek out diversification and growth opportunities.

International Private Medical Insurance Overview:

  • The global demand for health insurance is rising fast
  • There are opportunities for health insurers and brokers
  • The numbers of expatriates are rising and will increase
  • IPMI and PMI are no longer separate
  • Locals, students, NGO workers and travellers need cover
  • Many countries have made health insurance compulsory
  • Healthcare and health insurance are becoming intertwined
  • Top up cover and micro health have massive potential
  • Tele-health, AI and other new technology will change how insurers, brokers and customers interact

International Private Medical Insurance Key Topics Covered:

  • 2021 population
  • 2030 population estimate
  • 2020 UN international migrants IN
  • 2020 UN international migrants OUT
  • 2020 UN refugees
  • Global diaspora
  • Expats in country
  • Healthcare
  • Healthcare for expatriates
  • Healthcare regulators
  • Healthcare regulation
  • Healthcare price regulation
  • State health insurance
  • State health insurance top-up
  • Compulsory health insurance for locals
  • Compulsory health insurance for expatriates
  • Compulsory health insurance for overseas students
  • Compulsory travel health insurance for visitors
  • Health insurance for locals overseas
  • Private health insurance
  • Micro health insurance
  • Insurance company and broker regulators
  • Foreign insurance companies
  • Health insurance regulation
  • Health insurance price regulation
  • Countries where expats come from
  • Leading local health insurers
  • Head office of leading health insurers and brokers
  • International health insurers/ brokers/agents activity

For more information about the International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Market Report 2021 report visit:



Healix International Announces Management Changes

Healix International has announced the appointment of Mike Webb as Chairman of Healix International. Taking over Mike Webb’s role is Charlie Butcher, currently Commercial Director of the business, who has been promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

By becoming Chairman, Mike Webb, who has been Healix International’s CEO for four years, will continue to be actively involved in the company’s ongoing activity. Under his leadership, Healix International has significantly improved its financial performance as well as growing its range of products and services and has seen a very strong commercial performance despite the challenges of Covid, with the Company consistently driving innovation and fostering a customer centric culture.

Charlie Butcher becomes CEO of Healix International from June 2021. Charlie joined the Company in 2006 as Finance Director and was promoted to Commercial Director in 2019. Over the last two years he has achieved considerable sales success in Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific. 

“I am very much looking forward to this exciting new role, building on my extensive experience of the Healix International business over the last 15 years”, said Charlie Butcher.  “More than ever, companies are looking for the safest and most effective ways to get their employees working abroad again. It falls under a company’s duty of care to ensure the personnel they send abroad receive the best possible support measures to enable this to happen.

“Local security and medical facilities can vary dramatically across borders, and employers need to know their workforce has a support network in place. That is where Healix International comes in. Healix medical and security teams work closely together to deliver an integrated risk management and assistance operation, helping to fulfil employers’ duty of care responsibilities.

“I look forward to continuing to oversee the onward commercial success of Healix and working closely with Mike Webb and the Executive Board and feel very confident that we have the right team in place to achieve on-going success.”

Mike Webb added: “I am very proud of the part I have played as a member of the team that has enabled Healix International to deliver profitable growth and be seen as one of the most successful medical and security risk management companies. Healix is a great business that has a proven track record for delivering high quality services to many blue chip companies and government organisations.  I look forward to working with Charlie and the rest of the Executive Board in my new role as Chairman, building on great foundations.”

“We would like to thank Mike for his strong leadership and contribution to the success of Healix International” said Peter Mason, Founder.  “As for Charlie, he brings talent, commitment, vision and years of solid experience to the job. I wish them both much success in their respective future roles and challenges.”


AOC Insurance Broker Launches A Partnership With Mission Internationale To Support Professionals Around The World

AOC Insurance Broker is a marketplace of more than 25 insurers that allows expatriates and professionals to compare international health insurance in order to access the protection they need according to their destinations.

Recently, they partnered with Mission Internationale, another marketplace for connecting international experts / consultants and business leaders wishing to expand abroad.

A partnership focused on supporting professionals:

Like AOC Insurance Broker, Mission Internationale shares the human values ​​of diversity, in a multicultural and multidisciplinary spirit. A true exchange and information platform, this marketplace is based on a dual objective:

  • On the one hand, it allows experts of international support to showcase their talents to business leaders with ambitions abroad, to highlight their different capacities, to promote them throughout the world and to generate new sources of income.
  • On the other hand, it allows companies with projects abroad, particularly SMEs / SMIs and ETIs, to seek, find and select reliable and competent consultants around the world, to guide them successfully.

With more than 15 years of experience, Mission Internationale creates the conditions for trust between companies and experts / consultants. It is therefore natural that the two marketplaces have entered into a partnership to support these professionals from all over the world.

Whether you are an international expert or a business leader:

Discover Mission Internationale and create an account on the marketplace

... resulting from a desire to offer effective solutions.

The origin of this partnership stems from Mission Internationale’s commitment to educating its users on the importance of subscribing to travel insurance. AOC Insurance Broker jointly wanted to make a contribution by guaranteeing suitable cover: the AOC Business Travel Insurance offer.

It is a professional travel insurance to deal with unforeseen events and incidents that may occur before and during your journey abroad. In particular, it allows you to benefit from a set of guarantees in all areas: coverage of medical and hospital costs, assistance and rescue, insured professional equipment and personal effects, etc.

This partnership is therefore part of a logic of offering international experts and business leaders viable solutions on all continents that meet everyone's requirements. To highlight your expertise or to develop internationally, think about the opportunities offered by Mission Internationale  and protect yourself effectively with AOC Insurance Broker.

About Mission Internationale

Mission Internationale is a marketplace which facilitates business relationships between experts and business owners who wish to develop their activities abroad. Boasting a powerful professional network in several international markets and accredited by public institutions, as BPI France and Business France, Mission Internationale is the new trusted partner both for consultants and entrepreneurs who would like to achieve with success their export development project. 

About AOC Group (AOC Insurance Broker & Think Insurtech)

AOC Insurance Broker/Think Insurtech (LF Finance SAS) is a comparator & a software publisher specialized in PMI & IPMI with a SaaS Platform to manage A to Z the distribution of medical insurance (Individual/families - Corporate - Community module - Compliance - Travel Insurance API) in a global and connected environment. We offer a comprehensive approach and process in working with clients to place both international and domestic healthcare cover including group life and protection income.




How Can Expats Manage A Lonely Christmas?

With Kevin Melton, Sales and Marketing Director, AXA - Global Healthcare.

It’s been said already, but 2020 has really been a year we won’t forget in a hurry. Almost the entire world has felt the impact of Covid-19, and the precautions we’ve all taken to prevent the spread of the virus have changed our lives in unimaginable ways.

As we approach Christmas time, many of us who celebrate will be experiencing a very different festive season than we usually enjoy. Whilst this can still be a time of joy and happiness, it can also magnify any underlying feelings of loneliness for those that are separated from loved ones. International travel may not be an option for some expats, making it impossible to see their extended families and friends.

Here are just a few ways to combat these feelings:

Stay connected

For those of us living abroad, staying connected to family and friends in different countries is likely to be second nature. During this time, however, you might need to step this up and think even more creatively about how to share experiences with your loved ones. If you know they’re attending a festive quiz or tuning in to a remote carol concert – why not dial in too or get them to video call you? Not only will you feel closer to the action and more connected, but it’s a great way to fill any time you may be facing alone.

Connectivity has been so important throughout 2020, so try to maintain these vital lines of communication. Those on the receiving end of the phone will undoubtedly enjoy your presence during the festivities, so try to resist feeling as though you might be a burden.

Pack your schedule

If you do find yourself alone on Christmas Day, try to keep as busy as possible. Set a schedule for the day and fill it with fun and engaging activities that you will enjoy. Cook your favourite foods, watch your favourite shows or films and try to spend some time outdoors. Keep busy so you don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the situation. To some, eating alone can be upsetting, so if your respective time zones line-up, consider even organising virtual drinks or meals with your families and friends.

Focus on the positives

Whilst this might be a case of easier said than done, there may be some enjoyment to be had if you’re elsewhere this festive season. Perhaps by doing something you normally wouldn’t – getting up to watch the sunrise, walk by an historic location, cooking an alternative Christmas meal. The fact that it’s different to what you’re used to could even be what makes this a Christmas that you always remember. Try to accept the situation and appreciate where you are. The benefits this has may go a long way towards soothing yourself and will help make your Christmas feel as special as it should. 

Try not to overindulge

Something that many of us look forward to at Christmas is the wide array of food and drink. Whether it be Christmas pudding or roast turkey, there’s plenty to enjoy. However, the festive season can often be a time of overindulgence. If you’re feeling lonely and down, it can be especially easy to slip into bad habits and find yourself grazing or drinking more than usual throughout the holiday. Try to be aware of this and set yourself limits; you’ll feel much better – both mentally and physically – if you maintain a healthy balance.

Similarly, we all know that keeping busy is vital for staying fit and healthy, but it also has a huge impact on our mental wellbeing. If you do find yourself feeling particularly low, or at a loose end, take yourself out for a walk or a jog. You’ll feel better for the fresh air and the exercise, and you might burn off some of those Christmas calories.

Find others like you

As an expat, you’ll know the importance of meeting people in a similar position to you. Thanks to the current climate, there are likely to be many others close by, who are experiencing very similar emotions. Reach out to these people and develop your own support network. This will help keep yourself occupied and cover any gaps where you might be facing time zone issues.

This isn’t forever

It’s important to always keep in mind that this situation is ever-changing. Whilst ‘normality’ may still seem a long way off, it is starting to feel as though it is within reach. Remind yourself that this is only temporary, and that next Christmas will hopefully be very different to what we have experienced this year.


How To Spend Your Christmas Abroad: Tom Wilkinson, CEO, AXA – Global Healthcare

If you celebrate Christmas, spending time away from home, family and friends can be tough at this time of year. And when you’re spending it in a country that celebrates the festive season in an entirely different way, or not at all, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out.

But there’s a lot to enjoy about spending Christmas abroad, so try and embrace the local traditions and customs. The more you invest yourself, the more you’ll get out of it. You might not have turkey, tinsel and mistletoe, but other celebrations could be just as festive and exciting. And, you never know, you might enjoy your new way of celebrating Christmas so much that you continue with traditions from abroad even after you’ve returned home.

So, here are some traditions from around the world that you could get involved with this festive season:


The perfect Christmas in the UK might feature a blanket of snow outdoors and a warm, cosy setting to escape the cold. But with temperatures usually in the high 20s, Christmas Day Down Under is more about cold bottles of beer and games of cricket on the beach. You might even spot a surfing Santa while you enjoy the sunshine, or see a family sharing a Boxing Day barbeque.

Australians do, however, enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner on the big day, very similar to how Brits celebrate Christmas in the UK. And there are always plenty of festive light displays to marvel at.

The Philippines

The Philippines may not seem an obvious place to celebrate Christmas, but as the third-largest Catholic nation in the world, the festive season is hugely important. A particular highlight though, is the spectacular Ligligan Parul Sampernandu, or the Giant Lantern Festival.

Taking place on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando, the Christmas Capital of the Philippines, the Lantern Festival draws spectators from around the world. Eleven local villages compete to build the most extravagant lantern, with some measuring up to six metres and featuring a variety of colours and patterns. It’s a new take on your Christmas light traditions, and it’s certainly a wonder to see.


Everybody knows that German Christmas goods are ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth. From gingerbread and marzipan to stollen and spiced biscuits, German Christmas sweets are renowned all over the world. Along with the sweet treats though, there are a lot of other German Christmas traditions that we’ve even adopted over here in the UK.

From singing Christmas carols like Stille Nacht (Silent Night) through to decorating beautiful green Christmas trees and hosting festive markets, a German Christmas really isn’t that far from what we experience here in the UK. You might want to watch out for Feuerzangenbowle, though, also known as ‘Fire Tong punch’. This drink, that brings together hot mulled wine, strong rum and open flames is a popular Christmas tradition in Germany, but it really packs a punch!


On December 25th, expats in Ukraine might feel a little left out of the festivities going on at home, as Ukraine celebrates Christmas on January 7th in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox religious calendar. But the festivities continue to grow every year.

While the custom in many countries is to decorate Christmas trees with tinsel, lights and baubles, a slightly different approach is taken in Ukraine. Instead of the usual sparkling decorations, trees here are decorated with a fake spider and a huge web. Many also have snowflake-like spiderweb baubles, made of paper and silver wire, called 'pavuchky' (which means 'little spider'). This age-old tradition sprang from a story about a poor woman who couldn’t afford to decorate her tree, but woke up on Christmas morning to find that a spider had adorned it with a glistening web.


Christmas in Iceland really is beautiful, despite the skies being so dark, with Christmas lights and a blanket of fresh snow really brightening the place up. You might even be able to see the dancing Northern Lights on a clear night, too.

Meanwhile, in the days leading up to Christmas, 13 mischievous characters known as the Yule Lads visit children throughout the country, leaving gifts for nice girls and boys and rotting potatoes for those that have been naughty. Everybody loves a festive meal too, wherever they are in the world. The locals in Iceland don’t dine on turkey, though. The tradition is to eat pork on Christmas Eve, with smoked lamb and a flatbread decorated with seasonal patterns on the side.

Everyone has those special home comforts and traditions that they look forward to at Christmas, and being abroad is no different. But if you’re spending the festive season abroad for the first time this year, take every opportunity you get to explore local customs and make the most of Christmas, no matter where you are.

Whether it be having Christmas dinner on the beach or wrapping the tree in something extraordinary, make sure to approach the local traditions with an open mind. You never know what traditions you might end up incorporating into your own festivities, or perhaps you might even be able to share some of your home comforts with new friends.

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