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Report: Insurance Is Absorbing Only A Fraction Of The Economic Impacts Of Terrorist Attacks

JLT Re and JLT Specialty Limited have launched a new report – Rising to the new terror challenge. The report is a detailed look at the evolving terrorist threat and the implications on terror (re)insurance cover.

Following a series of devastating bombings and shootings around the world in recent months, including the attacks in Brussels this week, the likelihood of a major terrorist attack is set to remain high, according to the report.

Commenting on the report, Chris Holt, Head of Credit, Political & Security Risk Consulting, JLT Specialty, said, “Terrorism has evolved into a more complex threat for businesses and insurers, with both attacks and fatalities seeing steep increases since 2011.”

“But this isn’t just about an increase in activity. The rise of Islamic extremism, combined with the potential access to weapons, explosives and toxic materials, comes at a time when modern communications and technologies are being exploited by groups as recruitment tools, communication channels and potential attack vectors. This means today's terrorist threat is more dynamic with impacts that are difficult to accurately predict”.

Paul Upton, Partner, Marine, Energy & Political Risk, JLT Re, said, “Clearly all of this has implications on the provision of terror (re)insurance cover. The market has been slow to respond and the fallout from several recent attacks has reinforced the need for new products. We are working with a number of market participants to deliver new and innovative products in this area. This can be done through the development of holistic solutions or, what is more likely in the short term, a suite of products that plug existing gaps.”

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HBF Keeps Health Insurance Premium Increases To A Minimum

HBF’s average premium increase for 2016 will be lower than the industry average for the fourth consecutive year.  

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley today approved an average increase of 5.59% for all health funds. HBF’s average increase will is 4.94%. 

HBF Managing Director Rob Bransby said the fund had been determined to keep its premium increase low despite escalating health costs and increasing member claims. 

“As a not for profit fund our goal is simple - to keep premiums to the minimum we need to pay the claims we know our members will make in the year ahead. But doing this while health costs are climbing at the rate they are today is incredibly hard.” Mr Bransby said.
 
HBF’s forecasts show that claims will rise by an average of 6.4% per member in 2015/2016, and by a similar amount the following year. Hospital claims are expected to rise by over 7% per member in 2015 and 7.4% in 2016/17. 

Mr Bransby said HBF’s 2016 premium increase, which comes into effect on 1 April, had factored in promised reforms to address rising health costs.

“The Minister has said she is serious about addressing spiralling health costs, starting with the inflated prices health funds are currently obliged to pay for medical prostheses.”. 

“We’re taken her at her word and our premium increase assumes there will be significant savings in the prices we pay for prostheses in the future - savings we will pass on to our members,”
 
Mr Bransby said as a not-for-profit fund that had no obligations to shareholders or off-shore parent compaies HBF was free to prioritise the interests of its almost one million members.  

“This is another validation of our decision to remain as a not-for-profit fund.” Mr Bransby said.

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Empire Life Signs Agreement with MetLife Expatriate Benefits

The Empire Life Insurance Company (Empire Life) announced it has signed an agreement with MetLife Expatriate Benefits to administer its new Voyageur Global Benefits program for expatriate medical, disability, and life insurance.

"We're delighted to be launching Voyageur Global Benefits and working together with MetLife. With nearly 60 years in the market, they have vast experience when it comes to expatriates benefits," said Steve Pong, senior vice-president, Group Solutions at Empire Life. "MetLife administers the employee benefits of thousands of expatriates around the world. They have the breadth and depth of experience required to deliver the service excellence that both of our organizations are known for."

The number of Canadians living abroad has increased substantially in the past two decades, which has increased demand for expatriate benefits. Recent reports estimate 2.8 million Canadians are living abroad.1

Voyageur Global Benefits will offer world-class benefits for Canadians working abroad.2 A key feature of this new suite of benefits is the MetLife Regional Service Centre model. Located in key areas around the world, this puts local resources closer to members while on assignment. Experienced staff provides local expertise and understanding of regional differences, making it easier to obtain quality medical care, get services paid, and receive local support.

"Working abroad can be both exciting and challenging for expatriates and their families," said Dan DeKeizer, senior vice president, Global Employee Benefits, MetLife. "With Voyageur Global Benefits, customers will have access to more than a million healthcare providers in over 180 countries, which helps deliver peace of mind no matter where they are in the world. We are very pleased to be working with Empire Life, and together, look forward to bringing innovative solutions to the Canadian market."

(1) Courtesy APF Canada 2011.

(2) Voyageur Global Benefits will be available in Quebec at a later date.

(3) The Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine, June 2015, based on revenue.

(4) As at May 19, 2015.

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International Travel Risk Security Advice, Warnings, News And Intelligence

Kenya Travel Advice: Heightened Personal Security During The Christmas Holiday Season

The Kenyan authorities have advised heightened personal security during the Christmas holiday season; on 21 December 2015, the Kenyan Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government issued a public watch notice urging citizens to play a role in counter terrorism and prevention of criminal activities by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity, items and people. 117,000 British residents visited Kenya in 2014. International Private Medical Insurance For Kenya Take out comprehensive international private medical insurance before you travel to Kenya, to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad or emergency repatriation and evacuation. Be sure to read…Written on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 15:32 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Turkey Travel Warning: Reports Of An Explosion At Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Reports of an explosion at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul at around 2am on 23 December 2015; the circumstances of the incident are currently under investigation; the airport remains open. Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. Visas British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours. If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel. Only use the…Written on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 12:03 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


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

State of emergency has been extended for 2 months from 24 December until 21 February 2016. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. Security forces are on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations. You should be especially vigilant and avoid crowded places over the holiday period, including around Mouled (24 December), Christmas and New Year. If you choose to travel to or remain in Tunisia then you should check that your insurance policy provides adequate cover. You should be especially vigilant and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities. There are no direct flights…Written on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 11:08 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


USA Travel Advice: Changes To Visa Waiver Programme (VWP)

18 December 2015 and the US Congress passed a Bill updating the requirements for the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). Under the new rules, with effect from 1 April 2016, all travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP will need to hold a passport with an integrated chip. Around 3.8 million British nationals visit the United States every year. Most visits are trouble free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa, but…Written on Tuesday, 22 December 2015 11:05 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Brazil Travel Warning: Cases Of Zika Virus Reported

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in a number of states; you should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Brazil. Foreign nationals are entitled to emergency medical treatment in Brazilian public hospitals. Public hospitals in Brazil, especially in major cities, tend to be crowded. Private hospitals will not accept you unless you can present evidence of sufficient funds or insurance. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency…Written on Monday, 14 December 2015 15:20 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


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…Written on Monday, 14 December 2015 12:26 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Lebanon Travel Security Warning: Explosions In Southern Suburb Area Beirut

12 November 2015 and there were explosions in the southern suburb area of Beirut. Reports indicate that many people have been killed and injured. iPMIM advises against all travel to the southern suburbs of Beirut. Avoid this area and monitor local media for updates. On 10 January 2015, 9 people were killed and over 30 wounded in a suicide bomb attack in the Jebel Mohsen area of Tripoli. On 28 January 2015, there was an attack on the Israeli military in the Shebaa Farms area with reports of cross-border shelling near the towns of Majidiyeh, Kfarshouba, Abbasiye and Wazzani. A…Written on Friday, 13 November 2015 14:00 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence

iPMIM Advises Against All But Essential Travel By Air To Or From Sharm El Sheikh Airport

Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free. 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. There is a significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive device. As a precautionary measure, we are now advising against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh. UK carriers will not take passengers directly to Sharm el Sheikh airport. FCO are working with the Egyptian authorities and air carriers to put special security measures in place…Written on Thursday, 05 November 2015 07:39 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence
Philippines Travel Advice: Security Ramped Up For APEC Summit

The Philippines hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Manila on 16 to 20 November. There will be a heightened security presence across the city including at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Scheduled road closures and security checkpoints will cause delays in travel across the city and many schools, government offices and businesses will be closed. If you are flying to or from Manila during this period check with your airline, as flight delays, diversions and cancellations may occur. Around 133,665 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2014. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance…Written on Monday, 02 November 2015 14:14 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence

Egypt Travel Advice

31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai; Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. Over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place from 18 October to 23 November. There may be rallies around the country in the run up to the elections. You should avoid all rallies and demonstrations. On election days tight controls will be in place around polling stations with access restricted to voters and officially accredited observers. In previous elections British nationals have been arrested close…Written on Monday, 02 November 2015 11:20 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


UK FCO: Concerns About Quality Of Medical Treatment In Holiday Resorts In Egypt

The South Sinai Hospital in Sharm el Sheikh is currently under investigation by the Egyptian Ministry of Health; there are alternative state and private hospitals in Sharm el Sheikh. You can find a list of most commonly used hospitals in Egypt on the British Embassy website. In an emergency dial 123 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your travel company and your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. There are reports of some hotel doctors overcharging for treatment and medicines. Examine your bill closely and challenge excessive charges. Pharmacies outside…Written on Monday, 05 October 2015 11:21 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


Tajikistan Travel Warning: Armed Clashes Involving Security Forces Resulting In A Number Of Deaths Reported Close To Dushanbe International Airport

4 September, armed clashes involving security forces resulting in a number of deaths were reported close to Dushanbe International Airport. Tajik authorities are investigating and there is an increased security presence in the area. Given the possibility of further incidents, you should take extra care and monitor the local media. Tourism, health and transport infrastructure is poor and travel requires careful planning. Avoid off-road areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, which may be mined. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance including evacuation by air ambulance before you travel.Written on Friday, 04 September 2015 10:56 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


International Trains From Budapest Have Been Suspended Until Further Notice

International trains from Budapest Keleti train station have been suspended until further notice due to disruption. Monitor the local media, and check with your carrier and the Hungarian Railways (MÁV) website for further information. Since the end of August 2015 there has been considerable disruption to rail and road transport from Budapest to the Austrian border. This is due to police and border enforcement action as a result of significant numbers of people seeking to transit through Hungary. Around 400,000 British nationals visit Hungary each year. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.Written on Friday, 04 September 2015 10:53 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence


India Travel Warning: Flood Warnings For Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam And West Bengal

A flood warning has been issued to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and West Bengal due to the possibility of heavy rainfall in the foothills of the Himalayas over the next few days. The rainfall will also lead to swelling of rivers Kosi, Gandak and Ghaghara, tributaries of Ganga and all tributaries of Brahmaputra. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Indian Meteorological Department and follow the advice of local authorities and your travel company. Over 800,000 British nationals visit India every year. Before you travel to India, take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance and read the…Written on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 06:20 in iPMI Magazine Travel Warnings and Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) For Tunisia

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

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UK Niche Insurance

A new series of research reports about niche insurance lines in the UK indicates that these generally offer better growth prospects for underwriters than mainstream motor, household and commercial lines insurance, and that for most of them distribution via affinity and corporate partners is key to success.

In total, the series covers 20 different niche insurance products ranging from motor cycle insurance to boat, yacht and pleasure craft cover, and from landlord rent guarantee policies to tax investigation insurance. In total, premiums associated with these 20 niche lines are likely to exceed GBP 5 billion by 2018 with their predicted weighted compound annual growth rate from 2014 to 2018 averaging out at 3.3% in nominal terms given that premiums were worth a total of around GBP 4.4 billion in the former year.

"Worth over GBP 1 billion in gross written premiums in 2014, the most valuable of these 20 markets is that for non-standard and listed property insurance", commented Francisco Leitão, Consultant at Finaccord. "However, in descending order of their forecast growth rate, those predicted to increase in value most rapidly in future are extended warranties for cars, landlord rent guarantee insurance, caravan and park home insurance, classic car insurance, landlord property insurance, excess protection insurance, and pet and personal equine insurance, premiums for all of which should rise at a nominal compound annual rate of more than 5% between 2014 and 2018. In fact, across the 20 niche policy types investigated, only GAP insurance is likely to fall in value up to 2018 with this probable decline due to new regulations affecting sale of this product via car dealers."

Separate research released by Finaccord in recent weeks indicates that the predicted compound annual growth rate of 3.3% up to 2018, while not sounding especially high, is nonetheless better than that forecast for personal motor, household and commercial lines insurance in the UK (at a respective 1.2%, 3.1% and 1.4% over the same period from 2014 to 2018). 

A further notable finding from the research series is that distribution via affinity and corporate partners is important to winning business in most of these 20 niche lines. In fact, as an unweighted average across all 20 of them, around 46% of new sales are attributable to such partners (including aggregators) ranging up to 90% or more in the case of extended warranties for cars and GAP insurance, both of which are mainly sold through the automotive trade (i.e. car dealers and manufacturers). Distribution via brokers (including those acting as tied agents or IFAs) is also very significant at an unweighted average of around 39% of new sales of these policies peaking at approximately 90% in the case of key person cover and related types of life protection insurance sold to business customers and at around 80% for bicycle insurance. On the other hand, an unweighted average of only 15% of new business is secured through direct sales by underwriters with a maximum of around 40% in the case of van insurance.

"Our research shows that there is usually a significant number of affinity and corporate partnerships for these niche insurance products the nature of which varies by product type", concluded Francisco Leitão. "These can vary from holiday rental companies for holiday and second home insurance to jewellers in the case of jewellery and watch insurance, and from universities for student contents insurance to retailers offering wedding lists when it comes to wedding and personal event insurance. Some of these relationships are controlled by underwriters but the majority have been set up by brokers and, clearly, holding the right partnerships is important for achieving success in many of these niche markets, especially as most of the products are not especially suited to being sold through the aggregator channel."

 

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Chase Templeton Completes Avanti Healthcare Acquisition

The acquisition brings a further £6.8m of annual premium income (API) and over 1,500 clients to the fast-growing business. Around 60 percent of that income is generated through SME policies, further strengthening Chase Templeton’s position in its core market within the company health insurance sector.

Following a series of acquisitions, including major deals with Atlas Consulting Group and Consilium Employee Benefits, Chase Templeton has now added some £40m API to its books in the last three months and £55m in 2015 as a whole.

Avanti Healthcare was founded in 1996 by chief executive Glen Smith who is exiting the PMI sector in order to concentrate on his Avanti Travel Insurance business. “I and my colleagues have spent nearly 20 years nurturing Avanti Healthcare into a very successful, well-respected and well-known specialist broker. When I decided to focus resource and attention on our growing travel business I sought a buyer who would not only let me realise the value of assets, but inspire confidence that Avanti Healthcare clients would continue to benefit from the best possible advice and service.

“Chase Templeton’s acquisition model is predicated on delivering both those things.”

Jeff Tate, Chase Templeton’s mergers and acquisition director, said the new deal supported one of the company’s key strategic aims. “Avanti brings to us not just a sizeable but a high quality SME client base as indeed did Atlas and Consilium. These and other acquisition, completed and to be concluded, place us firmly on the path towards becoming one of, if not the, key national player in the crucial SME space.” 

He confirmed that Avanti would be Chase Templeton’s last major acquisition this calendar year but added that further significant deals are pipelined for the first quarter of 2016.

Avanti’s SME clients will be serviced via Chase Templeton’s Corporate Centre of Excellence at its headquarters in Darwen, Lancashire. Nearly 1,000 private individual policies will be managed by a specialist team at the Individual Centre of Excellence in Bridgwater, Somerset.

 

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Accessing Medical Care Abroad: More Expatriates Look Locally

Cigna Global Health Benefits® (NYSE: CI) and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) recently surveyed more than 2,700 expatriates working in 156 countries to better understand how they and their families experience, perceive and value various elements of assignment terms and programs.

While many surveys tell the global mobility story from the perspective of the employer, this survey is unique because it gathers candid feedback from the globally mobile themselves—information employers are rarely able to gather on their own.

Expat profile

Among people who work outside of their home country, three things are true: they are male (81%), middle-aged and have a family. Beyond that, all bets are off.

The globally mobile are growing older; Gen X is entering its peak earning years and Baby Boomers are remaining in the workforce longer than did previous generations. According to the survey results, many expats are leaving their families at home for various reasons. Today, many assignment locations are in emerging markets or a remote location, which is one reason expats might leave their families at home. In recent years, there has also been a dramatic increase in business and technology-related assignments with shorter durations; generally between six and 12 months. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported that they did not bring their children with them during assignment.

Although most expats still hail from the U.S., their numbers are down by 10% from just two years ago (and down 24% from the 2001 survey). Globalization is likely a factor with more companies having operations across the globe with access to qualified local talent. The U.S. tax regulations may also be a reason for the decline, making expatriation of U.S. nationals more expensive than expatriates from other countries.

Accessing medical care abroad: more expats look locally

The proportion of expats accessing medical care on assignment stayed consistent from 2013 at 79%. Seventy-five percent of expats said they access local providers for routine medical care.

Gender appears to play a role in which type and where expats and their families access care during assignment. While the rate at which men accessed care stayed about the same (78% this year versus 77% in 2013), the share of women accessing care rose five percentage points to 83%. Even though a larger percentage of women are accessing care while abroad, they are slightly less likely than men to seek care locally. However, more women (47%) said they were much more likely to seek treatment locally for serious medical care than they did in 2013 (38%).

Mobility benefits packages: Flexibility and customization

Greater flexibility in plan design was a common theme when employees were asked what employers might change or add to their global mobility assignment packages to make them more useful.

“Similar to what we saw in the 2013 results, a one-size-fits-all approach to mobility program services can lead to potential dissatisfaction, or worse, an unexpected end to a global assignment,” said Leah Cotterill, vice president, North America Client Management, Cigna Global Health Benefits. “Global mobility directors have to be cognizant of striking a balance between the needs of the business and those of the expats and their families. While the trend toward managing costs through benefits reduction might save companies money in the shorter term, the approach may not lead to longer term satisfaction, loyalty, trust or success.”

Support and communication

Results from this year’s survey indicate that certain gaps – whether real or perceived - still exist between the resources employers say they provide to expats in comparison to what employees say they need.

Communications – before, during and after assignment – are critical to expats and the success of their assignment. Survey responses indicate that employers shouldn’t be worried about over-communicating.

  • 38% of respondents received only one communication prior to departure and nearly a third received two to three.
  • More than 75% received information about their global mobility program benefits during assignment. Of this group, one in four received messages on a quarterly basis.
  • Email and phone calls with HR/global mobility representatives were the top two forms of communication with 90% and 70%, respectively.

Overall, the support employers have traditionally made available aligns with what expatriates say is needed. More than three-quarters of respondents said their employer provides help with moving household goods; setting up utilities and other settling-in needs, as well as help with finding doctors and getting vaccinations. Yet, globally mobile employees say they need more, particularly related to local culture and lifestyle.

Only 20% of information sent to expats before assignment covered local lifestyle resources such as grocery stores, child care, etc. “Prepare employees better for the cultural shock they will experience, particularly for newcomers,” said one respondent.

The use of digital communications, particularly social media, increased dramatically since the 2013 survey. More than twice as many expatriates chose Facebook this year than they did in 2013, which reflects the increasing use of social media as a human resources portal by employers.

There also appears to be a dramatic change in the perceived usefulness of digital resources. Nearly twice as many expatriates in 2015 said their employer intranet is an effective communication tool. Interestingly enough, almost half (44%) said that they either didn’t know or their employer didn’t offer online access to information concerning their mobility benefits program.

“Globally mobile employees and their families want reliable and consistent communication from employers from preparing them for assignments before they depart and ensuring they feel appropriately supported and connected while away,” commented Cotterill. “While many employers are making strides in this area, more can be done to better facilitate communication concerning global mobility program features and services for employees and their families.”

“As businesses continue to expand and compete in today’s global marketplace, the importance of global mobility has never been greater,” said Bill Sheridan, NFTC Vice President of International Human Resources. “This year’s survey results not only reflect this, but also reveal key insights into how global mobility and the expectations of expats have changed since 2013 – insights that should influence how employers meet the needs of their expats going forward.”

Expatriation: A lifestyle choice, not just an economic obligation.

This year’s results demonstrate that global mobility is no longer just an economic obligation, but is instead a lifestyle choice evolving into a career unto itself. The spirit of adventure, the potential to hone one’s qualifications and the appeal of living abroad remained the greatest influences on the decision to accept a first assignment.

One key difference to note is the proportion of expats who indicated they went abroad because they wanted to versus feeling they had to—down by 12.5% since the 2013 survey. Additionally, the number of expats who have been on five or more international assignments increased sharply to 25% from 18% in 2013. This may indicate that global mobility is becoming an occupation in its own right.

Repatriation: Just as difficult as expatriation.

Slightly more than half (54%) of expats who responded to the survey say their employer has a formal repatriation program – and yet most employers report they offer one. In fact, many respondents expressed that repatriation is effectively as difficult as expatriation.

Expats find a return home can result in culture shock. Changes in finances and taxes for the household were a big concern, as was finding new employment. “My family and I will probably need as much (if not more) help repatriating than we have needed on assignment,” said a respondent.

Many expats recommended beginning repatriation arrangements at least three months before departure. Commenting on a return home after assignment, one respondent said, “I’d like to see a repatriation program in which we are given news of the return home at least three months prior to the move so we can prepare.”

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OUT NOW: International Private Medical Insurance Companies and Providers V1.3 - Adds NEW Wellaway Advertising Campaign

Version 1.3 of the International Private Medical Insurance Provider Directory is out now.

Medical insurance underwriters and providers are represented and International Private Medical Insurance Magazine would like to take this opportunity to say a warm thank you to all of the guide sponsors including ALC Health, Antaé, Cigna Global iPMI, Expatriate Group, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Healthcare International, Integra Global and Wellaway.

GET LISTED

List your company in the iPMI Magazine iPMI company guide. Working hand-in-hand with your own company micro website on iPMIM, this guide can land-your-brand on the desk of an eclectic worldwide readership.

 

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Cigna Global Health Benefits Expands Sales With New Expatriate Health Insurance Plan

Designed for expatriate employees of multinational companies with offices in Africa, Cigna Global Health Benefits® is now offering its new Cigna Africa product. Expats in regions of Africa will benefit from Cigna's local experience and facilities, global medical network, and ongoing commitment to investments in this region.

Cigna Africa has been designed specifically for multinationals’ globally mobile, key local and third-country nationals (TCN) staff in Africa. The product has been tailored to the needs and local practices of the region, making the plan affordable and giving multiple options to individual preferences such as area of cover, cover levels and supplementary coverages. It includes health benefits, dental and vision cover, evacuation and health management services.

“Africa is an emerging economy, with significant growth of almost 1,000 billion US$ over the last decade1. This trend makes it an attractive expansion target for us. With our already existing infrastructure and experience in Africa, we are in a good position to give regional expats and key nationals a premium service,” says Bart Jordens, General Manager International Organisations and Africa at Cigna.

Currently, Cigna Global Health Benefits already supports the health, well-being and sense of security for numerous customers in Sub-Saharan Africa, employed by multinationals, non-profits and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). It employs local communication officers and medical consultants in key hubs and claims intake office in Kenya.

Africa is emerging as a significant point of growth, making it an attractive expansion target for companies in search of new markets. The EY attractiveness index 2013 for Africa shows that Africa’s growth is real and sustainable, with the economic output of Sub-Saharan Africa having grown strongly from US$344.1 billion in 2000 to US$1 334.2 billion in 2012. Sub-Saharan economic output is projected to reach US$1 844.6 by 2017.

1 Source: EY 2013/14 Sub-Saharan Africa talent trends and practices survey report.

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