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Club Med And AXA Partners Sign An International Partnership To Offer Optimal Protection For Club Med Customers

Club Med, the world leader in high-end all-inclusive vacations for families and active couples, and AXA Partners, a key player in the travel assistance and insurance sector, have signed a new strategic international partnership to offer optimum protection to Club Med customers through its flagship "Serenity Protection Plan" insurance product.

After long months of lockdown, the desire to travel is stronger than ever. In fact, travel is the activity Americans have missed the most during the pandemic and a majority feel an increased desire to travel because of it.

The pent-up desire to travel is accompanied by a strong need for reassurance and support from the moment the trip is booked until the return home.

In order to support travelers when making travel plans, Club Med and AXA Partners have signed an agreement to offer optimum protection with the "Serenity Protection Plan" insurance policy.

By purchasing this insurance, Club Med customers will benefit from exclusive protection specially designed to cover any unforeseen events they may encounter before, during or after their trip. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, including contamination by COVID-19, the stay and transportation can be reimbursed by this insurance. Clients will also benefit from a "missed flight" guarantee, baggage insurance and compensation in case of interruption of their stay.

This global offering, rolled out in just three months with the support of Club Med's long-standing partners Marsh and E-Thaque, provides a tailored response to Club Med's international clientele. The program has been rolled out in more than 20 countries, taking into account local conditions. It is based on operational procedures that guarantee consistent quality of service for customers.

Blessy George, CEO and Country Manager of AXA Partners US stated, “Following a year of restricted travel with many uncertainties related to the pandemic, we are proud of the added security and support offered to Club Med customers through travel insurance programs provided by AXA Partners. The partnership between Club Med and AXA Partners will enable customers to once again enjoy their vacations while feeling secure and at ease knowing they have access to travel assistance and insurance coverage if the need arises.”

Carolyne Doyon, President and CEO of Club Med North America and the Caribbean stated, “With more than 70 years of experience in the all-inclusive resort industry, it is important we continue to meet traveler expectations as we enter this new era of travel. Our partnership with AXA Partners exemplifies our long-standing commitment to ensure guests travel with complete peace of mind so they can focus on what matters the most – whether it’s a change of scenery, family togetherness or relaxation – during their Club Med vacation.”

Club Med, founded in 1950 by Gérard Blitz, is the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept, offering approximately 70 premium resorts in stunning locations around the world including North and South America, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean. Each Club Med resort features authentic local style and comfortably upscale accommodations, superior sports programming and activities, enriching children's programs, gourmet dining, and warm and friendly service by its world-renown staff with legendary hospitality skills, an all-encompassing energy and diverse backgrounds. 

Club Med operates in more than 30 countries and continues to maintain its authentic Club Med spirit with an international staff of more than 23,000 employees from more than 110 different nationalities. Led by its pioneering spirit, Club Med continues to grow and adapt to each market with three to five new resort openings or renovations per year, including a new Alpine ski resort annually.

AXA Partners is an international entity forming part of AXA offering a wide range of solutions in assistance services, travel insurance and credit protection & welfare. AXA Partners also plays a major role in deploying innovative solutions developed by AXA's Innovation Division. Our mission is to help our corporate clients enhance the experience of their own clients. Our 9000 employees are on hand to help and support them anywhere, at any time. In 2020, AXA Partners posted revenue of €2.98 billion.

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Pacific Prime Reveal Corporate Employees Require Better Singapore Health Insurance Benefits

As an end of 2014 review reveals an increase in health care costs, Pacific Prime reports on the increasing value of providing employee health insurance benefits in Singapore.

Pacific Prime have released an update on the current state of employee health benefits for corporates as part of their compensation packages in Singapore. The agency have claimed that over time, expat packages inclusive of added benefits such as housing, medical insurance and return flights home have mostly diminished in order to achieve reduced costs in corporate structures. By eliminating inclusive expat packages, there has been a shift of focus onto the next generation of locally-hired expatriates, who now compete for corporate roles.

There has however been a reported resurgence in the value found in Singapore health insurance benefits, with HR directors now frequently taking into consideration the evaluations of certain medical insurance plans for their employees. This revival in the industry in a place like Singapore has mainly come about due to foreigners being unable to benefit from the socialized healthcare, and it being “impossible to hire or retain expats without providing solid benefits for medical insurance,” according to the Corporate Sales Team at Pacific Prime Singapore.

With the subsequent exposure to risk somewhat higher for expatriates, the standard ‘Hospitalization Surgical’ benefits offered on ‘local-hire’ contracts are not sufficient to cover most treatments or surgeries in hospitals. Pacific Prime demonstrate the distinction between corporate expats and Permanent Residents, who benefit from the CPF (Central Provident Fund) which mitigates costs. On the other hand, with medical care costs increasing at a substantial rate, and a reported estimated medical inflation at a 9% increase per year (an MRI that cost SG$1,000 in 2010 would now cost SG$1,500), expats with no opportunity to subsidize are being charged the full cost of treatments.

There is an insistence that HR managers must be aware of the needs and requirements of foreigners and the necessity of medical insurance benefits as part of their compensation. In light of this, Pacific Prime have begun to offer new ‘hybrid’ solutions for corporate employers in Asia, where employees are assigned specific policies based on category of class (seniority). This is hoped to lead to improvements for local nationals as well, since their benefits are likely to be reviewed similarly as a result.

Attractive benefit plans increase staff retention, and where employers used to provide basic cover in a city concerned with rising medical costs, comprehensive insurance benefits are needed for employers to enhance their hiring potential.

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Paraguay Travel Advice: General Strike 26 March 2014 Demonstrations Expected

A general strike has been called for 26 March. Demonstrations are expected across the country, particularly in downtown Asuncion. Some roads may be blocked. You should avoid all demonstrations as they may turn violent.

Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities. The British Embassy in Asuncion will be operating with limited staff on 26 March. For emergency Consular matters, call +595 21 328 5507.

There are multiple outbreaks of dengue fever in Paraguay. You should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Paraguay.

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Yemen Travel Warning: 20 Soldiers Killed Attack In Hadramawt 24 March 2014

24 March 2014 at least 20 soldiers were killed during an attack in Hadramawt;

13 February 2014, an attack on Sana’a Central Prison killed 7 guards killed, injured 4 others and allowed 29 prisoners to escape, including 19 convicted of terrorism offences;

2 February, rockets were fired into central Sana’a;

December 2013, an attack on the Ministry of Defence Hospital in Bab Al-Yaman, Sana’a, left at least 52 people dead and over 160 injured;

October 2013, the 11th Brigade base in Ahwar, Abyan was attacked, with reports of at least 12 dead and others injured;

September 2013, the Yemeni Army Headquarters in Mukalla, Hadrawmawt, was attacked, with reports of at least 30 dead and others injured;

September 2013, there were a series of co-ordinated attacks on army and police posts in Shabwah, with reports of least 56 soldiers and police dead;

August 2013, there was an explosion on a Sana’a bus carrying Yemeni military, with reports of at least 20 dead and others injured;

The level of consular assistance available to British nationals is limited. If you don’t leave the country now while commercial carriers are still flying it is extremely unlikely that the British government will be able to evacuate you or provide consular assistance. If you need urgent consular assistance call either +967 1308 114 and follow the instructions given, or +44 (0) 20 7008 1500.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. You are reminded of the ongoing threat against foreigners and are strongly advised to avoid places visited on a regular basis by foreign nationals.

Terrorists continue to threaten further attacks. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has previously targeted western interests and there could be a threat to commercial sites, transport infrastructure, diplomatic missions and any place where westerners gather. There is a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists. So far in 2014, a number of foreign nationals have been kidnapped, and groups actively continue to target westerners. In late February, there were 2 separate kidnap attempts against well-protected westerners.

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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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10 Resolutions For Managing Globally Mobile Talent In 2014

Mercer’s surveys of multinational employers show that most intend to increase the number of employees they send on both long-term and short-term global assignments over the next two years.

While some employers have large, mature mobility programs with hundreds of expatriates in dozens of countries, others have small, newer programs. Yet all want to attract the right employees and send them on the right type of assignment for the right amount of time – all while controlling costs and the amount of effort it takes to administer their programs.

To help HR professionals better manage an expanding globally mobile workforce in 2014, Mercer suggests 10 resolutions:

  1. Step back and get some perspective Knowing where your assignment policies stand versus those of your peers is an important first step in maintaining an effective global mobility program. Some of your policies may vary significantly from those of your peer companies. That variation may be justified, but you should at least know its direction and extent. Also, the first of the year is a good time to check with leadership to confirm whether your global mobility program is meeting their strategic and operational objectives.
  2. Get assignee feedback from the right source Surprisingly, assignees rarely express dissatisfaction about their compensation and allowances in opinion surveys. But issues that typically bother them most – poor communications, lack of relocation support, ineffective service providers, and repatriation planning – cannot be fixed simply by spending more money. To get candid feedback that can result in meaningful policy improvements, consider using a third party that will keep assignees’ responses confidential.
  3. Look at your map, then ask directions Many employers are pushing beyond typical expatriate locations, such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, and Dubai to less typical ones (sub-Saharan Africa, smaller cities in China, Eastern Europe). Ensure that you have the proper incentives in place to support programs in non-traditional host locations. And look carefully at expatriates’ home countries; if they are leaving a relatively low-wage country such as India, the traditional “balance sheet” approach to compensation may not be appropriate.
  4. Check for the right mix of flexibility, complexity, and equity Flexibility can be built in at the business level (so managers can decide on certain optional compensation elements for expatriates) or at the individual level (using lump sums that expatriates can spend as they choose). While managers may be pushing for more flexibility, it can lead to greater complexity in managing your program and less equity among expatriates. Be prepared to give your leadership clear metrics to understand the balance of priorities.
  5. Scout host neighborhoods for new expatriates Housing costs are often the largest discretionary portion of total mobility costs (after salary and related taxes), and local housing markets can change significantly during the year. For expatriates heading out in 2014, be sure to use timely, accurate, neighborhood-specific housing cost data for “host” cities. Set appropriate rental guidelines and communicate them clearly to expatriates and relocation firms before they search for housing. Consider moving your approval process farther up the chain of command so that senior managers must approve exceptions to stated policies.
  6. Match expatriate programs to talent management strategies Define specific competencies for global leaders and then ensure their global mobility programs build “bench strength” to fill future leadership slots. As your company expands in other countries, it becomes increasingly important that senior executives have hands-on experience outside their own home countries. For each assignment, consider whether it is growing the business, developing global leaders, or filling a critical skill gap, but do not leave talent mobility to chance.
  7. Track your business travelers and short-term assignees closely As governments seek new areas of potential tax revenue, employers need to know precisely how many days per year their business travelers and short-term employees are situated in which locations, both domestically and internationally. It is critical to manage not only their presence, but their remuneration. Consider whether they should be on regular expense-reimbursement programs or set up in serviced flats with cost-effective per diem expenses.
  8. Consider “local plus” as a compensation program Are some of your expatriates locally hired foreigners or directly hired on one-way or indefinite assignments? If so, a “local plus” compensation package (adding a handful of allowances to local salaries) may be more appropriate than a traditional home balance sheet package premised on maintaining home country ties. Local-plus adjustments may be particularly appropriate in Asia, where this approach has gained traction in recent years.
  9. Localize when ties to a “home” country are loose It may make sense to hire locally rather than to send an expatriate from a home country depending on the country, the expatriate’s role and purpose, and talent availability. Or you may be able to “localize” existing expatriated employees by aligning their compensation and benefits package with local market levels. Look critically at the duration of your longer-term expatriates’ tenure in their host countries – if they have been in-country for five or more years, it may be time to consider localizing them.
  10. Tweak index-based allowances Re-examine assumptions made when computing cost-of-living allowances and hardship premiums based on differences between home and host locations. Most cost-of-living indexes embed assumptions about employees’ familiarity with host location spending patterns. Changing those indices can be both cost-effective and realistic. In an increasingly global economy with younger workers, you may be able to reduce them over time. Note: The 10 resolutions reflect considerations that are applicable to many multinational employers generally, but should not be deemed to be advice to any specific employer or with respect to any particular set of circumstances. Employers interested in reviewing their global mobility program should seek the advice of a qualified consultant.
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Archipelago Insurance Ltd Enters Malaysian Medical Insurance Market

Archipelago Insurance Ltd Enters Malaysian Medical Insurance Market

Archipelago Insurance, a general insurer, licensed by the Labuan Financial Services Authority is launching Ultracare medical insurance plans, developed by InterGlobal, a UK private health insurer. Ultracare will be marketed through both offshore and locally registered insurance brokers, plus through licensed financial advisors at the Bank Negara Malaysia.

Commenting, Archipelago Insurance Group director Alan Chew Cheong Yew said: “We hope to attract 500 clients within our first year of selling the product, generating about RM7.5 million in gross premiums.”

According to Chew, the target market will be expatriates and high net-worth individuals looking for customized comprehensive international private medical insurance plans that will provide the right cover, at the right time. Target market will initially focus on the Klang Valley growing to include areas with high a concentration of expatriates like Johor Baru, Penang and cities in East Malaysia.

The International consultant company Roland Berger Strategy Consultants recently reported, that Malaysia’s medical and insurance sector is expected to more than triple by 2020 to reach US$5 billion, from its current US$1.5 billion, presenting excellent growth opportunities for the health insurance sector.

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Travel Advice Nicaragua

Travel Advice Nicaragua

There’s no British Embassy in Nicaragua.

If you need emergency consular assistance, contact the Honorary Consul in Managua - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or the British Embassy, Costa Rica.

The rainy season normally runs from May to November. Hurricanes can affect Nicaragua during this period.

Around 10,000 British tourists visited Nicaragua in 2011. Most visits are trouble free. Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean. There is a low threat from terrorism.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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Nominations open for The BIBA Young Broker of the Year Award 2014

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is inviting nominations for the 2014 BIBA Young Broker of the Year Award. The Award, which carries a cash prize of £1,500 along with an Industry Training Programme (courtesy of the Broker Academy), is now in its thirteenth year and is designed to recognise young brokers for their outstanding performance and encourages commitment to the future professionalism of the insurance industry.

The Award will be presented on 14 May at the 2014 BIBA conference, which is being held at Manchester Central on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 May. Award judges say they are looking to reward a rising star who has made a valuable contribution for the benefit of their company. To be eligible, the young broker should be able to demonstrate excellent performance, initiative, team spirit, and personal progression and professional commitment to broking.

Steve White, BIBA Chief Executive, said: “BIBA is proud to recognise the emerging talent in the broking sector and we actively encourage members to nominate their young achievers for this prestigious award. We are exploring how BIBA can play a larger part in supporting the development of the next generation of broking leaders and this award is an integral part of that support”. Entries should be submitted to the appropriate BIBA region, and the regional winners will then be put forward for the national award. The national award judges are: Graeme Sutton CII, Grant Scott, R A Cowen & Partners Ltd; Neil Grimshaw, Ravenhall Risk Solutions Ltd; Stephanie Butterick Giles Insurance Brokers, Ian Jerrum Searchlight Solutions, Andy Thornley and Kirsty Wingrove, BIBA. The deadline for entries is Friday 7 March 2014.

Brokers wishing to nominate an individual for this award are advised to contact Kirsty Wingrove on 020 7397 0224 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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iPMI Magazine Industry News

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