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Healix International Opens Vancouver Office in Response to Growing Demand for Crisis and Security Risk Management Services

Healix International, the global provider of security, travel and medical risk management and assistance services, has announced the opening of its new office in Vancouver, British Colombia. The move comes in response to growing demand for its crisis, security, and risk management services.

Vancouver was chosen as the most strategic, practical, and advantageous location for a new office, as it provides access to clients that are already based there, as well as ease of travel to the U.S. The city’s world-class universities also provide a talent pool for recruitment for Healix’s growing team.

Charlie Butcher, CEO at Healix International, commented “Given the volatility seen in 2022, it’s clear that the services we provide are extremely important to businesses around the world. We already provide support to clients in North America and have teams based in multiple locations across the U.S., but the operational side was always run from the UK, Singapore, South Africa, or New Zealand. Opening the first operational location in the region will mean we can deliver even better services by working with clients more closely on a day-to-day basis. From a business perspective, it also provides a fantastic opportunity to expand further with more services to come later down the line.

“With the opportunity to work with multiple reputable universities and have access to such a wide talent pool, Vancouver was a natural choice and we’re looking forward to seeing the success of the team in 2023.”


ROUND TABLE: International Medical Cost Containment Strategies 2021

In a Closed Door Exclusive Round Table Business Forum, iPMI Magazine will speak with C-Suite Industry Leaders from the International Medical Cost Containment Market about International Medical Cost Containment Strategies For Global Medical Payors And Providers.

Although international risks have changed, the cost of healthcare around the world remains a key concern for the international private medical insurance market.

This exclusive round table will define the complex nature of international medical cost containment and how medical payors and providers may leverage cost containment strategies to improve the access and standard of care, whilst reducing the bottom line to the payor.

Talking Points

  • Real-time cost containment and medical case management;
  • Managing the costs in the advancements of new medical procedures and pharmaceuticals;
  • Discrepancies in pricing across global hospital networks;
  • iPMI Plan design to manage costs before emergency;
  • The use of technology to improve healthcare access and reduce the bottom line;
  • The financial pressures of COVID-19;
  • Combating international medical insurance fraud;
  • Provider network management and negotiations;
  • The challenges of cross-border regulatory and legal developments;
  • The future of medical cost containment and medical case management.

iPMI Magazine Cost Containment Network

Related Reading:

International Medical Cost Containment Strategies 2018


To apply for a seat at the table, please write to Christopher Knight, CEO, iPMIM: ceo[at]

About iPMI Magazine Round Tables

Leaders learn from leaders, and by invite only, iPMI Magazine Executive Round Table Business Forums feature leading C-Suite Executives from the world of iPMI. Limited in numbers and distributed to over 40,000 readers in 120+ countries, iPMI Magazine round tables are an educational, executive, and exclusive event.



Vaccine Passports: Balancing The Benefits Against The Risks

Dr Adrian Hyzler, Chief Medical Officer at Healix International provides his perspective on the current debate about Vaccine Passports ahead of the EU Commission’s proposals for a ‘Digital Green Pass’, set to be published on 17th March.

“There’s no question that any initiative that can enable international travel without increasing the risk of infections from COVID-19 will be welcomed by the much beleaguered travel industry and all its associated services. But the lack of discrimination from COVID-19 – it affects every age group, every gender, every race, every socio-economic group – could actually be the potential for a very high risk of discrimination if ‘Vaccine Passports’ are adopted as the only way to allow international travel.

“I want to be clear. I see no harm in a ‘digital immunity certificate’, per se, for ease of verification of vaccination status, especially as this will be easier to verify by authorities and less susceptible to a range of forgeries or indecipherable documentation.  However, I do worry about the further implications of a ‘passport’ or ‘green pass’ that enables those that are vaccinated to do things that others cannot. This form of immune-privilege will disadvantage a number of people, many of whom are already victims of inequity and discrimination, not just as a result of COVID, but dating back well before the pandemic.

“In the last week European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced plans for the creation of a ‘Digital Green Pass’ for EU citizens to travel safely. The proposal is due on March 17 and is being developed in response to pressure from tourism-dependent countries to help them salvage the summer season. However, across the EU there isn’t currently a clear consensus on this approach.

“Concerns about the impact on those not yet eligible or unable to have the vaccine have been raised highlighting the very complicated picture. And that concern must be recognised as a global issue.  For example, South Africa has declined to use its supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine claiming that data shows that it is ineffective against the variant in wide circulation. So will they allow travellers who are vaccinated with this vaccine to enter the country? Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland have made a political decision not to allow the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to be used for their citizens - will they allow travellers entry who have received this vaccine? Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic have authorised the Sputnik V vaccine from the Gamaleya Institute in Russia for their citizens, in response to the perceived slow rollout of EMA approved vaccines from the European Commission - will this be an accepted vaccine for the rest of the European Union member states? Similarly, Hungary and the Czech Republic have licensed the Chinese vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm, respectively…

“Of course, it is in the interests of governments of countries that depend on tourism for their economies and have been hardest hit by the devastating drop-off in leisure travel to promote whatever means are available to encourage inbound travel. Greece has led the drive in Europe and is lobbying the European Union to introduce legislation around ‘Vaccine Passports’ (VPs). Italy, Cyprus, Spain and Malta are supporting the Greeks - all are highly dependent on tourism revenue. Denmark is to introduce VPs this month and Sweden is soon to follow. However, the UK government has put on hold any decision on VPs, pending further discussion. The US has adopted a similar policy of further debate on the matter.

“So what’s the answer? There is undoubtedly a demand for a ‘Digital Immunity Document’ and this will simplify the process of: verification of inoculation; confirmation of positive COVID test within a time period of between 3 and 6 months; and COVID test notification. From an international travel point of view you could look at this as the equivalent of an airline’s app that enables you to store your boarding pass, airline membership card and flight details electronically. Some people use the electronic version but others continue with paper documentation and the process still functions.

“But let’s not forget that 3.4 billion people worldwide do not have internet access and over 1 billion people do not have a cellphone of any kind. Therefore, any such scheme will require close cooperation of governments in allowing access to an individual’s vaccination records.  And that, of course, brings up another issue – data privacy.

“There are two clear discussion points here: the first is the concept of an electronic means of verifying ‘immunity/infection status’ as opposed to a paper document; the other more complex discussion, that is often confused by the concerns around the ‘passport’ or ‘pass’, is what will governments, organisations and businesses choose to do with that information.  Will there be a requirement for vaccination for entry to a country/a restaurant/a gym/a music festival etc or will it form one of a layer of requirements that will determine what restrictions will be required on entry? This implies that there will be a need for ‘immunity security’ to prevent entry for the unvaccinated - is this really what the hospitality industry wants?

“My thought is that vaccination status should be one of the determinants of entry quarantine requirements, in combination with natural immunity and testing. The whole approach to prevention of COVID-19 transmission is dependent on layers of protection - it is not just about masking or physical distancing or even vaccination. No preventive measure is fully protective but each tool of prevention is layered on top of the next and together they form a stronger barrier.”


The 6 Big Risks For 2021

International risk management and assistance expert, Healix International, has identified six key areas of risk – besides the continued impact of COVID-19 – for global organisations in its 2021 Risk Oracle report.

  1. Natural Disasters - The increasing frequency of extreme weather events with natural disasters becoming more pronounced both in terms of frequency and severity. Building resilience to natural disasters is a significant exercise.

  2. Faceless Threats - In a context of increased isolationism, and more time spent online, individuals will become increasingly disconnected from normative community activity with a comparative increase in crime and incidents of violence perpetrated by 'faceless' lone actors.

  3. Supply Chain Disruption - The highly complex logistical webs that make up the global economy have predominantly been designed with cost and efficiency in mind. Unless resilience starts to be factored into these considerations, disruption to supply chains will remain a significant operational risk factor.

  4. Cyber Attacks - No longer just an inconvenience, they are potentially calamitous. More worrisome, attacks targeting government infrastructure are on the rise, and any cyber breaches in this space could have unprecedented implications.

  5. Decay of the ‘social contract’ - Mounting frustrations over inequality, cynicism of perceived corrupt political elites, and distrust of wider civil society including the media and big business amid the pandemic of ‘Fake News’ are likely to lead to increased public agitation and worsening levels of political cohesion.

  6. Erosion of domestic political cohesion fuelled by social media - Complex political issues find themselves being misrepresented in the form of a ‘post’, ‘share’, or ‘tweet’. This dynamic will become more prevalent in 2021 and result in even more social and political divisiveness, with rising levels of political risk in locations where the ‘culture war’ is most pronounced.

As Chris Job MBE, Director, Risk Management Services, Healix International explains, it is vital for organisations with an international footprint to ensure that the myriad of risks beyond the coronavirus remain a focus. “2021 is likely to be as busy a year for challenging global events, some predictable and some unprecedented. Overlay this expectation with a new and as yet undefined normal and a global drive for economic growth, the need for robust organisational resilience plans is clear. The key now is to ensure consistent and reliable monitoring is combined with access to the most appropriate resources to ensure employee wellbeing remains the priority.

“With our deep-rooted, in-house medical and security expertise underpinned by modern technology, Healix offers a single-source comprehensive, compelling and powerful risk solution for 2021 and beyond.”

The 2021 Healix International Risk Oracle Report, along with a global Security Risk Map, can be downloaded from


Healix Sentinel Enables Businesses To Get People Moving Again

There’s no question that the landscape for international business travel has changed beyond recognition.

Recent research by the Institute of Travel Management found that 38% of corporate travel managers expect their firm’s travel plans and budgets for 2021 to be down by 25% to 50% compared to 2019. However, for many organisations that operate on an international footprint there is also an imperative to get employees moving again, and for expat workers to be located abroad. And with this requirement comes all the usual risks – as well as COVID-19.

In response, Healix International, the security and health risk management business has developed a new suite of tools to give risk managers vital control to meet their duty-of-care obligations. Healix Sentinel brings together five solutions to provide global organisations with vital tools to stay informed of the risks their employees and operations may face and take appropriate action wherever they are across the globe. 

“This year has been extraordinary and organisations around the world are adjusting to a new way of working to ensure business continuity and productivity,” explained Mike Webb, CEO of Healix International. “But remote working can only go so far, and it is critical for many businesses that travel resumes. While COVID-19 brings a new dynamic, all the other risks associated with working abroad, such as earthquakes, terrorist activities or staff experiencing other health related emergencies, remain.

“Whether it is risk associated with COVID-19, or a country’s political landscape, we understand the importance of balance. Excessive risk management programmes can be burdensome and costly, while inadequate cover leaves an organisation vulnerable to operational disruption, reputational damage and potential litigation.”

Developed by experts in crisis management and risk mitigation, the Healix Sentinel suite of services goes beyond the traditional travel risk space to focus instead on ‘people’ risk management, whether they are travelling or not. Another refreshing way the Sentinel platform stands out is the way the client risk manager – rather than the employee - is seen as the primary stakeholder. As Mike Webb adds; “Often the client only has a small team, or a single individual, responsible for risk mitigation. That’s a heavy burden. The Sentinel platform addresses that by making their lives easier and acting as a force multiplier.”

Risk managers can tailor Healix Sentinel to fit their own specific requirements, choosing the mix of services that will complement and support existing security resources. Alternatively, Healix International can provide a fully managed 24/7 ‘virtual’ security department, delivering timely, actionable intelligence using cutting-edge technology to provide location specific insights and monitoring of incidents. In doing so, it gives risk managers peace of mind that they are providing employees with the highest level of duty-of-care.

“Our holistic approach encompasses planning, preparing and taking appropriate action as and when required. By providing a solution scalable to specific needs, this new suite of offerings allows risk managers to capitalise on opportunities in challenging environments within their own risk parameters,” concluded Mike Webb.

“As well as helping tackle an organisation’s risk management concerns and giving peace of mind, Healix Sentinel helps an organisation maintain a competitive advantage and will enhance its reputation as a secure and compliant organisation.”

The Healix Sentinel range includes:

Healix Sentinel Protect

The flagship service gives risk/security managers 24/7 access to a team of crisis and risk management experts. From travel security briefings and situation updates to incident and crisis response and evacuations, it is a virtual 24/7 Global Security Operations Centre (GSOC). Risk managers benefit from tailored analysis, second opinions and bespoke risk assessments to proactively mitigate risks before they become problematic, and expert assistance when incidents do occur. Furthermore, the service can be tailored to be, or support, an organisation’s in-house resources.

Healix Sentinel Tracker

This tool allows risk/security managers to seamlessly monitor and account for their globally mobile workforce via integration with the Healix Sentinel Travel Oracle mobile app. Security alerts and notifications are issued in a timely manner and managers can quickly locate and communicate with employees during a critical incident to ensure their safety.  With ‘Location Services’ activated by employees on their app, risk managers are provided with an accurate, real-time global view of their employees on an interactive map.

Healix Sentinel Critical Watch

Providing a cost-effective solution to extend a security team’s capabilities, Healix Sentinel Critical Watch is ideal for organisations lacking the in-house resources to monitor employees’ safety around-the-clock. The Healix International team provides 24/7 monitoring of global incidents. And in the immediate aftermath of a critical incident, the team reaches out to employees in the vicinity who could be impacted. Their safety is ascertained, and appropriate action can be taken according to the situation.

Healix Sentinel Travel Oracle App

Available on Android and iOS, the Healix Sentinel Travel Oracle app is an invaluable travel safety companion for a global workforce. Through alerts and comprehensive background travel and security briefings on over 200 countries, it provides instant access to critical insight and support before and during overseas assignments. As well as providing current travel safety information, advice and real-time alerts on breaking news, the app has a tracking function and enables travellers to share live location data or manually ‘check-in’ at pre-agreed milestones with a direct feed into the Healix Sentinel Tracker platform.

Healix Sentinel Intelligence Portal

This portal is designed to provide risk managers with up-to-date intelligence on global risks that could impact their operations. The dashboard displays a concise summary of information relating to ongoing incidents, risk levels and trends. Alerts are updated to the platform in real-time by our risk analysts who monitor, verify and assess the impact of incidents as they happen.

The Intelligence Portal also has detailed intelligence summaries on every country worldwide, providing risk managers with in-depth contextual information. A number of different reports can be accessed such as a weekly forecast, evacuation watch and threat report.

Healix International is a global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services. Working on behalf of multinationals, governments, NGOs and insurers they look after the welfare of expatriates, travellers, offshore workers and local nationals in every country of the world. Healix provide a comprehensive, integrated range of solutions to help safeguard the health and security of their clients’ employees, providing a single point of contact to access the expertise and help they may need, wherever they are in the world, 24/7.

For more information about Healix Sentinel please visit:


'COVID Travel Safe' Online Tool Set To Help Employers Resume Business Critical Travel Safely

Healix International combines cutting edge technology with best in class medical and risk intelligence for highest levels of duty of care.

While the debate continues about 'air bridges' to open up international travel between certain countries, there is a clear imperative for business to re-open around the world. But for many organisations the big issue is how to keep employees safe and well while simultaneously resuming global operations and maintaining profitability.

"Businesses cannot operate via virtual conference tools forever; business critical travel needs to resume, and for many, that needs to happen now", commented Mike Webb, CEO of Healix International. "However, employee expectations and legislation have drastically changed in the wake of COVID-19 and organisations across every industry are faced with the difficulty of demonstrating their duty of care obligations to their employees in an incredibly complex operating environment, particularly when it comes to weighing up the risks of international travel.

"COVID-19 has turned the entire concept of travel risk on its head. For the first time in a generation, risk is highest in parts of the world that have historically been considered the safest, and these countries account for more than 90% of global business travel. Logistical and operational restrictions across the world are changing by the day. And information related to COVID-19 and necessary measures to reduce transmission remains vast, ambiguous, highly complex and often incomplete. Even the most well-resourced organisations are struggling to stay on top of the magnitude of information that is published each day."

In response Healix International is launching 'COVID Travel Safe'. This one-of-a-kind product is a layered risk assessment tool that has been designed to enable business travel within a pandemic, and to provide instant assessments of the medical and logistical risks posed by each and every unique proposed travel itinerary.

Healix International Chief Medical Officer, Dr Adrian Hyzler explained: "We know that in this incredibly challenging time, all businesses need to be supported in resuming operations and providing an increased duty of care to their travellers. This tool allows any organisation to have the confidence to deploy employees safely and with the knowledge that those travelling do not pose a high medical risk of severe disease."

The 'COVID Travel Safe' tool works to protect employees and organisations as follows:

LAYER 1: 'COVID Travel Safe' online tool

The platform experience begins with the user answering a number of questions about their intended trip alongside a COVID-19 specific medical questionnaire. The 'COVID Travel Safe' tool will then generate a medical risk assessment. This assessment combines information about an individual's medical risks with data around the local pandemic conditions and logistical factors in the country of destination. This information is incorporated into an instantly available risk assessment document that the traveller can download.

Healix International's unique methodology measures a range of sub-risk factors including pandemic trend and COVID testing access, alongside practical concerns such as travel bans and curfews. Developed in-house by the Healix International panel of medical experts, the online tool calculates a medical 'risk score' for each individual. Behind the scenes, Healix International's team of medical and risk professionals closely monitor the science, government restrictions and logistical risk environments around the world. This ensures that the information driving 'COVID Travel Safe' is up to date and representative of the pandemic's evolution.

The online tool will provide an automated summary assessment of whether the traveller should proceed with their intended trip. This determination is delivered in the form of a 'traffic light' system of Red, Amber and Green. In the event that the traveller receives a Red assessment, risk factors warrant the individual reconsidering their need to travel. 'Green' indicates that the tool has not identified any major concerns with the intended trip, therefore booking can proceed. In the case of an 'Amber' result, a follow up consultation with Healix International's medical and/or logistical risk teams is recommended.  

LAYER 2: Personal Assessment

For those travellers who flag as 'Amber' there is the option to automatically integrate an escalation to the Healix International in-house medical and logistical risk teams for a personal assessment. The company's experts can review the report and provide customised advice on the associated risks. This advice then enables the traveller to make a more informed decision about the medical risks and the potential logistical complications. If required, Healix International can also work with employees to arrange pre-deployment COVID-19 tests and navigate unique logistical complexities. This layered approach provides the convenience of an easy-to-use online tool, seamlessly integrated with a more personalised expert service.

Further Customisation

The 'COVID Travel Safe' tool is highly customisable and able to sit on an organisation's own systems, conveniently integrating the risk assessment and trip approval workflow. Risk managers are given access to a separate login that allows them to track the requests and manage traveller support services where required. Healix International is also able to integrate travel policy rules, manager approvals, security information and ground support request forms to ensure that travellers can transition through the entire risk assessment and approval process in one efficient visit.

Employers can schedule a demo by contacting Healix International at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Post Pandemic Reality - How Businesses Can Prepare For Re-Opening Of Their Organisations

Healix International, the global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider has published the first in a series of whitepapers ‘The post pandemic reality’ exploring what businesses can do to prepare for the re-opening of their organisations.  

The white paper can be downloaded by following this link

The whitepaper covers:

  • What thresholds should be met before re-opening?
  • What site measures are needed prior to “day one” of return?
  • What should be included in a return to office plan?
  • How can you best take care of your employees?

Healix International are leaders in global travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services. Working on behalf of multi-national corporations, governments, NGOs and insurers, Healix International is relied upon to look after the welfare of millions of expatriates, business travellers and local nationals living and working in every country of the world, 24 hours a day. Many of these people reside in the most remote, challenging, and hostile of environments.


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 reported in the region, large-scale protest movements fuelled by economic inequality had already spread across Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon, and conflict continued to rage in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria. The COVID-19 outbreak will bring both political and economic changes to the region, which in turn have the potential to further worsen the already precarious security environment across the region.

Poor economic conditions have consistently been one of the most important primary drivers for unrest in the MENA region and the most immediate impact of COVID-19 will likely be on the economy. Tourism and the oil trade are integral parts of economies across the region. Tourism alone is worth between 6-8% of the GDP in the majority of the countries in the region (including in rich oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia) however in Egypt tourism contributes as much as 20% of the GDP. While the wealth received through oil revenues in the Gulf is well known, the oil trade also contributes significantly to non-oil producing countries in the region through expatriate remittance, particularly with the large Lebanese and Egyptian workforce in the Gulf.

A global fall in oil prices was indirectly caused by COVID-19 after a drop in demand from China led to Saudi Arabia cutting export prices in March. The fall in oil prices will cause a contraction in economies across the oil trade-dependent Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE) with the IMF predicting a loss of more than $230 billion in lost annual revenue. Likewise, the paralysis in the tourism industry as a result of border closures and travel restrictions will have just as dramatic an impact on economies of the region; in Tunisia alone, a loss of $1.4 billion is expected and up to 400,000 workers in the sector are predicted to lose their jobs.

The IMF predicts that as a whole, economies across the region will contract roughly 3.3%. While the Gulf economies are predicted to bounce back in 2021, outside of this sub-region the pain will be longer-lasting. Outside of the Gulf, governments do not have the funds to invest in fiscal stimuli packages and thus will be forced to turn to international aid packages increasing foreign debt or tap into already depleted foreign reserves. A substantial period of austerity is to be expected with public services facing huge cuts.

RELATED READING: iPMI Magazine Speaks With Mike Webb, CEO, Healix International

The deterioration in socio-economic conditions - the UN expects that roughly 8.3 million people will fall into poverty across the region by the end of the year - is likely to lead to significant periods of unrest in the second half of 2020. While large-scale protest movements in Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon that began in 2019 and carried over into the first quarter of 2020 have temporarily ended due to state-led curfew restrictions and fears of virus transmission, the drivers behind these movements will be exacerbated by the impending economic downturn.

Towards the end of 2020, when it is likely that restrictions on movement will be lifted, these protest movements are likely to be renewed with increased vigour and will likely continue into 2021 if key demands are not met.

Another potential driver for unrest is the increasingly authoritarian nature of governments across the region. While increased governmental powers are likely to be seen as justified in the short-term, states have already begun to exploit increased powers for political purposes. Iran and Egypt have increased repression of the press, using emergency laws to shut down all journalists who report anything critical of the government. In Algeria, the authorities have continued to arrest leaders of the domestic protest. Israel and Iran have given their intelligence services the ability to track the mobile phones of those suspected of having the virus. The increased use of authoritarian measures during the crisis could lead to an unwillingness from governments to relax these powers after the crisis ends. The resulting increase in authoritarianism could lead to large-scale popular unrest, similar to that of the 2011 Arab Spring.

RELATED READING: Healix International Ensures Successful COVID-19 Repatriations

In Libya, despite renewed calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations (UN) over fears of the effects of a substantial outbreak of COVID-19 in the war-torn country, the conflict shows no sign of stopping. The increased focus of international leaders on the crisis means that less time is being devoted to mediating a ceasefire. Domestic and international actors in the conflict may also use the distraction of the international community to make increasingly ambitious strategic decisions. Likewise, in Yemen the conflict is unlikely to be unaffected by the outbreak. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels have ignored a unilateral truce announced by the Saudi-led military coalition on 7th April and conflict on the ground has continued.

Exacerbated tensions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will feed and further entrench the proxy conflict waged by Iranian-backed Shia militias across the MENA region. Iran has repeatedly claimed that US sanctions constitute economic terrorism due to its impediment of medical aid during the COVID crisis. The tactic of channelling domestic blame towards the US, whether justified or not, will further entrench anti-US sentiment across the region and potentially mobilise further support for its proxy militias present in Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

The scale of 2020’s COVID-19 outbreak means that no country will escape its consequences, however, in the already unstable MENA region, the effects will be amplified. Economies will suffer, wars will continue and large-scale unrest will resume.

Healix International is a global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services. Working on behalf of multinationals, governments, NGOs and insurers they look after the welfare of expatriates, travellers, offshore workers and local nationals in every country of the world.

To learn more about Healix International please visit:



The Rugby World Cup 2019 – A Corporate Travel Conundrum

In this exclusive article Healix International highlights some of the risks businesses should account for when sending travellers to Japan.

In an age where the Far East doesn’t seem so far, over 400,000 visitors from across the globe are set to descend on Japan for the Rugby World Cup this September.  Among these will be die-hard rugby fans lucky enough to be part of a corporate delegation, alongside those already based in East Asia keen to take advantage of their close proximity to the major sports event.  

Most UK corporate rugby travellers are more used to weekend jaunts to Europe to watch the Six Nations. However, sending employees or clients on corporate trips further afield means a lot of unfamiliar risks will need to be considered.  That’s why Healix International, the global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services, has produced a report to help corporate travellers minimise these risks.  It includes guidance on everything from earthquakes to exposed tattoos, typhoons to travel etiquette – and also offers some top tips to companies treating their employees or clients to some amazing rugby hospitality later this year.

So, before businesses unleash the flags and vuvuzelas, what are the dangers facing their corporate travellers and what advice and risk management strategies can they implement to ensure it’s just world cup fever that their delegation catches during their trip to Japan?

Beware of the typhoon season

The Rugby World Cup is due to kick off in the midst of Japan’s typhoon season.  Every year, an average of eleven typhoons impact Japan - typically, three of these in September alone.  With the season ending in October, it’s the first half of the tournament that’s most likely to be affected.   If fans can play the waiting game and are confident their side will remain in the tournament, choosing to travel in October could make sense. But for those who’ve already got everything booked, the Healix ‘Travel Oracle’ app will alert travellers to in-bound typhoons as well as other major weather events flagged by the Japan Meteorological Agency. 

Seismic shifts

Japan is on major seismic fault lines, which means there’s no escaping the risk of earthquakes with 1,500 low intensity quakes every year.  In fact, one of the host cities for the Rugby World Cup is Sapporo in Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, which had a major earthquake only last year.

Healix advises corporate travellers to check that their hotels adhere to the strict building codes that ensure they can withstand a high intensity quake.  It’s also worth travellers downloading the Japanese National Tourist Organisation (JNTO) mobile app which posts English language notifications in the event of a natural disaster.

Keeping away from crime

Like any major city anywhere in the world, opportunistic crime like pickpocketing or alcohol-fueled incidents will increase during a major event like the Rugby World Cup, but happily there is a low risk of violent crime in Japan. 

In the unlikely event of something going wrong, Japan operates a 24/7/365 Visitor Hotline [(+81) 50 3816 2787] in English.  If travellers need to contact the police, the emergency number is 110, though an English-language service might not be guaranteed. In Tokyo, an English-language line runs during office hours.  However, Healix experts suggest that it’s worth enlisting the assistance of a Japanese speaker when seeking help from the police.

Say konnichiwa to respect the culture

The Healix International experts also advise the importance of understanding local cultures in Japan.  Tattoos are taboo because they are traditionally linked to members of the Yakuza criminal fraternity; those with tattoos may be banned from gyms, onsen hot springs and other public areas.  Other cultural sensitivities to be aware of include avoiding public displays of affection which are not common in Japan (that post- winning try man-hug may have to wait).  Also, refrain from tipping, it’s not customary in Japan and could be seen as offensive.

Corporates sending delegations of employees and clients to the tournament can familiarise themselves with etiquette tips before departure by using the Healix ‘Travel Oracle’ app. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office website is also a useful starting point for such information.

“With Japan set to be a first-time host of this year’s Rugby World Cup it looks set to be an incredibly popular corporate hospitality destination”, explained Mike Webb, CEO of Healix International.  “By publishing our Japan Rugby World Cup Travel Risks Report, we aim to help ease the burden for those organising corporate trips to what promises to be an outstanding sporting spectacle. 

“No-one is saying don’t travel to Japan.  But with appropriate prior knowledge and risk mitigation pre-travel, any medical and security issues will be far easier for companies to handle in a safe and effective manner once their staff are at the event.”

For full details on Healix’s risk management tips on travelling to the world cup please visit.

To learn more about Healix International please click here.


Security VP For Healix International In Second Place On Epic Row Across Atlantic For Veteran Mental Health

Tim Crockett, Security VP for the US arm of Healix International is well over half-way through his gruelling solo row across the Atlantic and the hard work is paying off, as he’s currently in second place amongst the solo rowers on The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Tim tweaked his knee on the second night of the epic row, but hasn’t let that stop him. The Healix International team of doctors and nurses remains on hand throughout, but so far Tim has fought through pain and fatigue in his battle against the Atlantic and the mental challenges of the solo row.

Tim celebrated Christmas Day out on the open water in his boat Tame the Kraken, as well as celebrating his 48th birthday at sea, on New Year’s Day. Despite battling against east and south-easterly winds, Tim currently sits in second place in the solo division of the race and in 24th overall. He has rowed over 1,760 nautical miles to date, spending over 960 hours at sea.

Healix International CEO, Mike Webb, said, “Tim is wowing us all with his resilience. This is a physically and psychologically gruelling event and Tim continues to battle against every adversity, including the tweak to his knee that he’s been dealing with since day two.

“Healix International’s team of doctors, nurses and fellow security experts are available via satellite communications, offering him the advice he needs to keep up the pace and reserve energy. He could have called on assistance for his knee, but so far he’s gritted his teeth and just rowed his way into second place.”

Known as the world’s toughest rowing race, The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge started in the Canaries at the beginning of December. Tim is one of just five rowers taking on the challenge solo. In total there are 28 boats crossing the 2,558 nautical miles. Depending on the weather, Tim is currently expected to arrive in Antigua on 9th February, giving him a race time of 57.

“Tim is rowing to raise awareness and funds for veterans coping with mental health issues, such as PTSD”, added Mike Webb.  “As a veteran himself, it’s an issue close to his heart and we are proud to support him in shining a light on the difficulties that veterans face, often as a result of traumas experienced in the line of duty. We look forward to welcoming Tim home and supporting him every nautical mile of his Atlantic row.”

To sponsor Tim, visit his website:

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