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New Online Store Offers Travelers Travel Insurance And Assistance Services Needed To Meet Schengen Visa Requirements

Europe remains a popular tourist destination with more than 15 million Schengen visas sold each year and rising. To meet this growing demand, Europ Assistance today announced the Schengen e-Shop—a new online store that makes it easy for travelers to get the travel insurance, assistance services and visa information they need to visit the Schengen area. 

The Schengen e-Shop is an exciting, new, easy-to-use resource that’s going to help millions of travelers prepare for and protect their European vacations and business trips,” said Pierre Brigadeau, chief sales and marketing officer at Europ Assistance Group. “Europ Assistance has always been focused on developing products to meet customer needs and address new market trends. This initiative is perfectly aligned with our long-term strategy to develop global products that leverage our 50 plus years of experience in the travel assistance industry.”
 
A responsive, multilingual site, the Europe Assistance Schengen e-Shop helps travelers determine if they require a visa; how to obtain a visa; and provides the travel insurance solution to protect them while they are in the Schengen area. Catering to an international audience, the e-Shop supports desktop, mobile and tablet devices and is available in six languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese.
 
Once granted a Schengen visa, visitors equipped with Europ Assistance Schengen travel protection have access to 24/7 emergency travel and medical assistance as well as repatriation and health insurance coverage (up to 60.000€) in all Schengen area countries.
 
The Schengen e-Shop is available now at http://schengen.europ-assistance.com
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Pablo Moreno Appointed Group Executive VP Travel Global Business Line Europ Assistance

Pablo Moreno has been appointed as Group Executive VP Travel Global Business Line since December 1st.

He is member of Sales Board, Travel Steer Co & ExCom and reports directly to Pierre Brigadeau.
 
Pablo joined Europ Assistance Spain in 2005 as the Head of Commercial and Marketing. He previously had an experience in Corporate Banking at Banco de Sabadell Spain before becoming the Head of Client Management at American Express Spain.
 
Pablo Moreno has a Bachelor in Economics (Complutense University).
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Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corporation to Begin Offering Bancassurance Products to China Bank Savings Clients

The Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corporation (MCBL) further strengthened its alliance with China Banking Corporation (China Bank) following the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ grant of the license to cross-sell bancassurance products to China Bank Savings (CBS), the thrift bank arm of China Bank. The grant will allow China Bank Savings to offer low premium-protection products that covers insurance, savings and investment plans.

"With MCBL as our bancassurance partner, world class life insurance products are easily within our client’s reach," said CBS President Alberto Emilio V. Ramos. "This supports our goal of providing them with a comprehensive range of financial products and services to suit their evolving savings and investment needs."

The strategic alliance between Manulife Philippines and China Bank began in 2007, through Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corporation. MCBL provides China Bank clients with exclusive insurance and investment solutions to address their needs. In 2014, Manulife and China Bank renewed their partnership, with China Bank increasing their stake in the bancassurance company. China Bank Savings is a fully owned subsidiary of China Bank.

"The extension of the Manulife-China Bank relationship to CBS further strengthens our partnership across multiple fronts. It provides Chinabank Savings with a broader set of financial solutions to meet the needs of CBS customers, while providing MCBL with additional channels for growth," added MCBL CEO Robert Wyld. "It is a win-win partnership that will benefit both companies and, more importantly, extend to clients as well."

 

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Philippines Travel Warning: Typhoon Melor (Nona)

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

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

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

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Willis Group Urges Willis And Towers Watson Shareholders To Support Value Creating Strategic Combination

Willis Group Holdings today urged its shareholders, and those of Towers Watson to vote "FOR" the proposed merger of equals between the two firms.

For Willis shareholders, the proposed deal further strengthens the powerful standalone Willis value proposition. The proposed deal enables Willis shareholders to participate in the significant economic opportunity ($4.7 billion of estimated incremental value) generated by the planned combination.

For Towers Watson investors, the deal accelerates the firm's publicly stated long-term strategy. It delivers value to Towers Watson shareholders through clear, compelling synergies and new client opportunities. For Towers Watson shareholders, as Towers Watson has stated, the combination is expected to result in projected cash net income accretion of an estimated 45% by calendar year 20181.

This transaction was unanimously agreed upon by both boards of directors. Willis will contribute 55.8% of the projected combined EBITDA2 in 2016 excluding synergies, is enabling a significant portion of the merger synergies through its Irish domicile, and its CEO and CFO will not hold those roles in the new company. On the day before announcement, Towers Watson contributed 53.6% of the combined market capitalization3. Taking both these positions into consideration, the final terms were negotiated such that the overall economics (including the dividend to Towers Watson shareholders) were split virtually down the middle: 50.9% Towers Watson, 49.1% Willis. This resulted in a modest premium to Willis' unaffected share price, well within the range of "merger of equals" transactions.

Willis continues to believe strongly that the combined Willis Towers Watson will generate significantly higher shareholder returns than either company could have generated on their own. We urge both sets of shareholders to vote for the deal. We would also like to refute ISS' claim that, "Willis may have more riding on the approval of this transaction than Towers". As we displayed this past quarter, we expect to continue to achieve strong growth coupled with significant margin improvement as a result of our operational improvement program. We remain highly confident in our standalone plan and believe we are positioned for several years of strong earnings growth. 

Both Willis and Towers Watson investors will benefit from the significant incremental value the two companies expect to create together. As previously disclosed, the merger can create more than $375 million in incremental annual revenue in the healthcare exchange, large market property & casualty insurance broking, and global benefits consulting business. The companies also project approximately $100 million - $125 million in annual cost savings and $75 million in annual tax savings.

Dominic Casserley, Willis Group Chief Executive Officer, said: "This transaction is expected to generate significant value through very achievable cost savings, incremental revenues and tax benefits. Shareholders should support this deal as it will drive value creation and accretion to earnings. Willis remains committed to closing the transaction on the agreed terms."

James McCann, Chairman of Willis Group, said: "At the negotiated terms, this is a ground-breaking, strategic transaction that enhances the competitive position and value creation potential of both companies. We call on shareholders of both firms to support the agreed deal."

Willis will hold an extraordinary general meeting of its stockholders to vote on the proposed merger with Towers Watson at 9:30 a.m. on November 18, 2015 at the Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065. Willis stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 2, 2015 will be entitled to vote at the meeting. Towers Watson will hold a special meeting of its stockholders to vote on the proposed merger with Willis at 8:00 a.m. local time on November 18, 2015 at the Royal Palm South Beach, 1545 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139. Towers Watson stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 1, 2015 will be entitled to vote at the Towers Watson special meeting.

Willis investors with questions about the transaction or how to vote their shares may contact the firm's proxy solicitor, Morrow & Co, LLC at 1 (800) 278-2141. Additional information on how to vote is available at www.willisandtowerswatson.mergerannouncement.com

1 See Towers Watson presentation filed with the SEC on 9th November 2015.

2 See projections on page 108 of the S-4 regarding Towers Watson Adjusted EBITDA and WIllis Underlying EBITDA.

3 Prior to adjustment for the pre-closing dividend to Towers Watson shareholders.

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Security Risk Management Experts Join Forces To Address Safety Concerns of Business Travelers

In response to a growing global demand for travel risk management services, AFIMAC Global and FocusPoint International have joined forces to introduce unique products and services and penetrate the underserved global travel security market. The combined company will track business travelers and assets worldwide and help manage all types of health, safety, and security-related crises across all points of the globe.

“While demand for travel risk management has continued to skyrocket as executives, international assignees and expatriates increasingly have to travel to and operate in less safe areas worldwide, organizations have had nothing more than paper insurance policies and reports on risks to address their global security concerns,” said Peter Martin, Group President & CEO of U.S. Crisis Inc., the holding company for AFIMAC that recently acquired FocusPoint. “As industry leaders and noted experts in global security, asset tracking and crisis response, the teams at AFIMAC and FocusPoint will work together seamlessly to provide advanced TRM solutions for organizations looking to meet their duty of care obligations and eliminate the cost of response.”

Key TRM products developed by FocusPoint include MyTrac, a location-based asset-tracking solution, and Crisis Assistance Plus, a fully funded travel assistance membership program that guarantees assistance for health, safety, and security-related crises that affect members during travel. “These products are the missing link in all security-provided programs to the travel and corporate industry and align perfectly with our overall growth strategy of seizing the tremendous market opportunities within our core competency of global travel risk management,” Martin added.

Traditionally, security programs have focused on the C-suite and upper executive management levels, but the combined company will serve all business travelers regardless of their positions in their organizations, genders and ages. The companies expect demand for these services to continue to increase. Studies show that business travel contributed more than $1.8 trillion to the global economy in 2014, with spending expected to grow almost 9% in 2015 and more in coming years.

During the past 30 years, Miami-based AFIMAC has built a strong presence throughout most of the United States, Latin America, and parts of Africa. FocusPoint, with headquarters in San Diego, has expanded into portions of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The acquisition immediately doubles the footprint of both companies beyond their core geographic areas, expands their global reach, and brings additional services to their customer base.

Greg Pearson, President & CEO of FocusPoint International, added: “This transaction capitalizes on the natural synergies between AFIMAC and FocusPoint and provides FocusPoint with access to new distribution channels, infrastructure, and technical talent. We are thrilled to work with the top-notch professionals at AFIMAC.”

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VIDEO: Intrepid 24/7 Informs, Protects, And Empowers Millions Of Travellers With Mobile And Web Application For International Business Travel

Intrepid 24/7 is changing the landscape of business travel with its award-winning, white-labelled native mobile and web application, Travel Navigator™.

Travel Navigator™ was launched by ACE Group, a global insurance provider, as the ACE Travel Smart mobile app and is now available to millions of business travellers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices, with options for BlackBerry and Windows. ACE Group's Asia-Pacific division is also reviewing opportunities to offer the app to their clients as part of their business strategy and duty of care mandate.

"We are pleased to have worked with ACE Group and to see our partnership flourish across their network," says Robin Ingle, Chairman and CEO of Intrepid 24/7. "Working with ACE, we developed the ACE Travel Smart app that travellers can use for pre, during, and post travel information, with real-time interactive communication. The app is a collaboration of research, security analysis, global medical expertise, and technology that engages, informs, and protects its users." explains Ingle.

"What makes Travel Navigator™ so unique is its white-label options and integration with the client's core business features. Our team will assess each client's needs and customize the app to keep travellers safe, informed, and protected," says Ingle. Travel Navigator™ is a customizable service for any organization with travellers—from corporations to governments. The app is useful for everyday business travellers to C-level executives, and travel managers. Travel Navigator™ integrates with clients' core business functions, such as travel bookings, claims, assistance, and insurance portals. The app also integrates with other travel and financial service applications, including e-wallets, e-commerce, transportation information, guides, and expense tracking tools.

As a content-rich platform, Travel Navigator™ is equipped with interactive functions and resources such as real-time alerts, flight tracking and re-routing, geo-tracking options, immediate access to assistance, and a geo-pointing/geo-mapping health care provider search tool. Users also have access to downloadable, location-specific information, such as embassies, emergency numbers, and a library of travel health conditions and medications. Clients can implement Travel Navigator™ as part of their corporate strategy and duty of care mandate.

Intrepid 24/7 and ACE Group have recently launched the second phase of the ACE Travel Smart app, which includes new market-leading functionality, such as an innovative online dashboard for risk, insurance, HR, and benefit managers that will help them track and communicate with their travelling employees in real time. It also provides ACE Group's multinational customers with access to the award-winning ACE Worldview technology platform.

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ACE Launches ACE Business Class In Sweden; New Corporate Travel Solution Including Wording And Mobile App

ACE Group have launched its new corporate travel proposition ACE Business Class in Sweden, as it continues to enhance its multinational offering for companies in the Nordic region.

ACE Business Class provides comprehensive travel insurance cover by means of a dedicated policy wording for Sweden, combined with market-leading medical and travel assistance services. Features include:

  • 24/7 worldwide insurance and assistance coverage supported by a hotline for travellers
  • New benefits related to personal belongings such as cover for fraudulent use of SIM card and stolen credit cards
  • Personal security and assistance cover including for cases of kidnap
  • Security evacuation covering a wide range of perils, including political and social unrest, terrorist attack and natural disaster
  • ACE Travel Smart, a new mobile app for travellers giving direct access to ACE’s medical and emergency assistance partners, live location-specific safety alerts and pre-travel destination advice and information.

ACE Business Class has been designed to offer flexible cover for the bespoke needs of Swedish companies with different risk profiles. Equally important, the cover can be structured as a multinational insurance programme, with an insurance policy issued to the parent company and local policies issued to subsidiaries. This innovative business travel cover approach ensures compliant local insurance cover, backed-up by a comprehensive global service that can be adapted to suit companies of all sizes.

Over the summer, ACE Travel Smart app will be updated to incorporate additional innovative functionality, including an online dashboard for risk-, insurance-, HR- and benefit managers that will help them track and communicate with travelling employees in real-time and connect them to the award-winning ACE Worldview technology platform.

Stephane Baj, Regional Director of A&H Corporate & Affinity, for ACE in Europe, Eurasia and Africa said, “With employees increasingly travelling to less familiar destinations, European businesses need a solution that offers comprehensive insurance cover, combined with high-quality 24/7 emergency and medical assistance and the technology that helps them stay in control. ACE Business Class is an innovative solution that brings all the elements of ACE’s business travel proposition together, helping employers to fulfil their duty of care while providing the information that staff need to make their travel safer and easier.”

Anna Orhaug, Head of Accident and Health for the Nordic countries at ACE, said, “ACE Business Class brings to the marketplace a comprehensive proposition which has been well received elsewhere in Europe and combines the best of ACE’s knowledge and experience elsewhere around the world with a dedicated policy wording for Sweden. With ACE Business Class, we can tailor our offering to the specific needs of each client to ensure that they have the bespoke support they really need as their risks evolve.”

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Preliminary Economic Impact Of Nepal Earthquake May Reach $5bn

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during April 2015. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The report reveals that a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal during the month, killing as many as 10,000 people and causing catastrophic damage throughout Nepal, India, China, and Bangladesh. Preliminary economic losses were expected to reach and possibly exceed USD5.0 billion – which would equal to at least 25 percent ofNepal's gross domestic product (GDP) – with very low insurance penetration in the region. Government figures revealed that more than 700,000 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, as well as dozens of historical sites.

Adityam Krovvidi, Head of Impact Forecasting Asia Pacific, said: "While the level of damage and casualties was enormous, the seismological magnitude of the event in the Indo Nepal region was not unexpected. Scientists have been warning about a major event resulting from the 'central seismic gap' in the Himalayan fault system since the 1934 event. Unfortunately for the earthquake peril, timing is always the greatest unknown factor. The vulnerability of buildings and structures in Nepal poised a significant risk given the absence of good seismic code history and implementation practice. Impact Forecasting has already developed an earthquake scenario model forNepal, which it released at its Singapore conference this week, and is planning to send a team of seismic and vulnerability experts to conduct a reconnaissance study. Our findings will be published in the coming months."

United States severe thunderstorm activity increased significantly in April, with five separate events impacting central and eastern areas of the country. Dozens of tornadoes touched down, with parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast sustaining the worst damage. Total combined insured losses were expected to reach USD2.0 billion, including more than USD750 million from one event alone. Despite an active month for U.S. tornadoes (185), the annual total remained at a historically low level.

Also occurring in April:

  • Severe weather in Australia caused significant damage in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. The Insurance Council of Australia estimated insured losses would near USD350 million.
  • In China, four severe weather episodes caused widespread damage to properties and crops leading to aggregate economic losses of almost USD1.0 billion.
  • A rare F2 tornado prompted considerable damage in the Brazilian town of Xanxere, killing two people.
  • Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted three times and led to the evacuation of at least 6,500 residents. The eruptions were expected to cost the local economy up to USD600 million.
  • Torrential rainfall caused widespread flooding and landslides throughout parts of Brazil, Afghanistan, Haiti, Kazakhstan, and Kenya. In total, more than 100 people were killed.
  • Major wildfires engulfed parts of Russia's southern Siberia, killing at least 33 people and destroying nearly 1,500 homes. Total economic damages were listed at USD140 million.
  • A stretch of wintry weather caused heavy crop damage in eastern China. Unseasonably cold temperatures left vast areas of crops destroyed, with total damages recorded at USD174 million.

To view the full Impact Forecasting April 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:

http://bit.ly/1DSVovC

Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting's Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data become available:

www.aonbenfield.com/catastropheinsight

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