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Aviva Appoints David Lovely General Insurance Claims Director

Aviva announced the appointment of David Lovely as Claims Director, reporting to Maurice Tulloch, Chief Executive Officer, UK&I GI. Dave is currently Senior Vice President, Global Claims at ACE Insurance Limited in the United States.

Since his career began in 1985, Dave has held a variety of positions in claims and operations with Liberty Mutual, General Electric and Allianz, specialising in improving operating efficiency and quality.

Maurice Tulloch, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva UK&I General Insurance said, “Dave brings nearly thirty years of insurance industry expertise and market insight to Aviva. As the UK’s leading general insurer, our number one priority is to get our customers back on their feet when they make a claim with us, Dave will help Aviva maintain its market leading claims function, whilst further improving the service we provide to our customers.”

Rob Townend, who was appointed Deputy Claims Director in October 2013, will continue to run Aviva’s general insurance claims operations in the UK and Ireland.

Dave Lovely commented, “Aviva has a reputation as a company which provides exceptional support when customers need to make a claim - settling over 2,000 claims every day on average in the UK, paying out £2.6 billion in 2013 - and I am excited to be taking on the challenge of leading a team which delivers world class claims capability."

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Travel Insurance Gross Written Premiums Are Forecast To Grow At A CAGR Of 2.20% Over 2014–2018, Reaching A Total Of GBP829 Million In 2018

Gross written premiums for travel insurance were valued at GBP724 million in 2012, and an estimated GBP742 million in 2013.

Volatile premium growth was recorded during the review period (2008–2012), as demand was strongly influenced by the UK’s recessionary economic backdrop limiting demand for overseas travel. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) registered during the review period was more stable at -0.53%.

UK residents made fewer trips abroad during the review period, with discretionary spending on holidays constrained by weak growth in earnings, employment uncertainty and rising travel costs, while businesses reduced budgets for corporate travel. A preference for domestic holidays induced a 12.5 million dip in the number of leisure and business trips abroad during the review period.

Medical costs represented 56% of travel insurance claims in 2012, and, despite fewer overseas trips being made, costs relating to claims have risen sharply.

The average medical claim totaled GBP900 in 2012, 50% higher than in 2004.

The reported refusal of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in hospitals in Spain, Greece and Cyprus added to insurers’ cost burdens.

The travel insurance category is highly competitive and has become increasingly commoditized, with insurers competing on price to maintain market share. Online distribution – through direct and price-comparison website channels – is well established, and has fostered an increase in the number of low-cost internet-only brands. The underwriting capacity for these products is dominated by the 10 largest insurers in the category. Stronger UK economic growth from 2014 will spur an improvement in consumer confidence and spending to provide the impetus to growth in demand for travel insurance over the forecast period.

Gross written premiums are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 2.20% over 2014–2018, reaching a total of GBP829 million in 2018.

Opportunities exist to deepen penetration in the category. An aging population and trends for a more active retirement are increasing demand for travel insurance policies with no age limits.

A parliamentary review in 2013 found that 91% of travel policies available in the UK imposed an upper age limit, and age-related charities have begun lobbying for market changes. Customer education also allows insurers to highlight the shortfalls of the basic cover offered through the EHIC and Civil Aviation Authority compensation schemes.

Key Highlights

Gross written premiums topped GBP720 million in 2012 and 2013, Economic conditions discouraged overseas travel, Rising medical costs have increased claims, Internet sales are a major distribution channel, Premium growth will be maintained over 2014–2018, Penetration can be deepened through policy innovation and customer education. The Companies Mentioned in this report are ACE European Group Ltd Ageas (UK) Ltd AIG Europe Ltd Allianz Insurance Plc Aviva Plc Axa UK Plc Chubb Insurance Company of Europe SE Direct Line Insurance Group Plc Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) Plc Mapfre Asistencia Compañía Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros, SA.

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InsureMyTrip Now Offers AXA Travel Assistance USA Travel Insurance Plans

InsureMyTrip, announced it will now offer travel insurance plans from AXA Assistance USA. InsureMyTrip customers can now view and compare and buy plans from 28 top travel insurance providers, making it the largest network of travel insurance plans and providers in the U.S. marketplace.

"Millions of travelers trust the expertise of InsureMyTrip when choosing the right insurance coverage. With the addition of AXA travel insurance products, we can provide even more options for our loyal customers. Trip cancellation policies, for example, generally offer coverage for natural disasters, but AXA also provides unique coverage for man-made disasters. It also offers unique benefits for sports enthusiasts, including coverage for missed golf or ski days. We believe these innovative products will appeal to our customers and provide an additional benefit," says Jim Grace, CEO and President of InsureMyTrip.

"AXA Assistance USA could not be more delighted to begin the distribution of travel insurance policies through our partnership with InsureMyTrip," said Olivier Van Poperinghe, CEO of AXA Assistance USA. "By combining our expertise in assisting travelers through our global presence, quality coverage for the unexpected, unparalleled service and InsureMyTrip's unbiased and transparent comparison engine, we feel that we will provide travelers a unique solution."

AXA Assistance USA offers affordable comprehensive travel insurance options to protect United States residents with either domestic or international travel destinations. Plans include coverage for emergency medical expenses, evacuation, trip cancellation and interruption expenses, travel delay, baggage loss and delay, and more for leisure travelers.

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Air Energi And Queensland University Of Technology Unveil Findings Of Ground-Breaking Research Into Workfroce Risks Within LNG Industry

Air Energi Group and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), have published ground-breaking research providing extensive analysis of the potential workforce risks related to Australasia’s LNG sector, particularly involving a contingent workforce.

Entitled ‘Workforce Related Project Risks’, the report is based on in-depth interviews with a panel of industry experts drawn from a wide cross-section of perspectives, including operations, HR, project management, advisory functions, and contractors. A high level of rigour was applied to the process, with the use of QSR NVivo 10© software to identify, and analyse the key themes.

The research was conducted by Dr Karen Becker and Ms Michelle Smidt; QUT researchers with expertise in addressing workforce-related issues. With an unprecedented level of LNG projects in the pipeline, there are concerns that workforce costs and continued personnel shortages could contribute to further project delays or cancellations. This will be critical to the future development of projects in Australasia, as well as those firms looking to benefit from the booming LNG markets of North America and East Africa.

“Engineering-based organisations have historically focused on technical risk and safety, whereas the people element has proved much harder to manage and quantify,” says Dr Karen Becker, Senior Lecturer in the QUT Business School and lead researcher for the project. “The industry professionals we spoke to were cognisant of the fact that the people aspect of a project presents many potential risks, but also acknowledged how difficult it is to say which risks will be pertinent for a specific project. The findings of our report enable us to identify the highest risks that must be considered for any given project, providing real-world answers to a real-world problem.”

The report considers the impact of people-related issues on project schedules and costs in capital-intensive environments, and warns that time and cost overruns cascade through the supply chain. It also reinforces that the attraction and retention of talent has become a critical issue for the oil and gas industry at a time when the available pool of talent is shrinking due to high demand and an ageing workforce. With the major overarching risk of being unable to deliver a project on time and within budget, risks are broadly categorised into six core areas: project appeal, recruitment, onboarding and induction, retention, demobilisation, and compliance.

“Despite increasing demand, the future growth of the industry remains uncertain,” states Matt Smith, Director – Global LNG Development, Air Energi. “The cost overruns and schedule delays being experienced in Australia’s LNG sector currently are just as applicable to any industry and region where projects have capital-intensive and highly-technical requirements. This is why it is so important that businesses take these lessons learned, and think differently about identifying and managing their people-related risks, particularly in large and complex projects. Our report findings have enabled the development of a comprehensive tool for identifying and analysing the potential workforce-related risks for projects, and we will be making this tool available in Q2 of this year.”

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South Korea Ferry Sinks - Major Rescue Effort Underway

A ferry, carrying 476 people, mainly school students, travelling from the port of Incheon, in the north-west, to the southern resort island of Jeju has capsized and sank.

Local media reported that several hours after the disaster, at least 290 people remained missing, South Korean officials had earlier said that 368 people had been rescued but later said there had been a counting error. Further reports say two people are known to have died and at least 13 others have been injured, Images showed the ferry listing at a severe angle and then later almost completely submerged, with only a small part of its hull visible.

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Overcoming Seasonality To Support Economic Diversification

Overcoming seasonality to strengthen the competitiveness of mountain regions also as summer destinations was the topic at the centre of the 8th edition of the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism.

International experts identified sustainability, innovation and accessibility as key success factors to address this challenge (Andorra la Vella, Andorra, 9-10 April 2014). The seasonal distribution of tourism activities is highly uneven in most mountain destinations, with the main turnover concentrated in the winter season in contrast with a clear decline of demand during the summer.

Overcoming seasonality is key for both a more even spread of the economic benefits of tourism and to reduce environmental pressure on destinations. Mountainlikers: New Trends in Mountain Tourism for the Summer Season, the theme of the 8th World Tourism Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism, addressed the need for mountain destinations to identify new marketing strategies and develop a more diverse tourism offer to remain competitive throughout the year.

Opening the Congress, the Prime Minister of Andorra, Mr. Antoni Martí, stressed the direct link between innovative tourism products and economic diversification: “The tourism strategy driven by the Government of Andorra is perfectly in line with the theme of this Congress. Andorra is currently aiming to further diversify our snow and mountain tourism offer with other compatible activities in the areas of wellness and conference tourism, among others."

Developing new approaches to mountain tourism is of strategic importance, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “Visitors are increasingly interested in mountains in search of new experiences linked to nature and sports. Combined with the need for mountain destinations to adapt their tourism offer to the impacts of climate change and expand the tourism season, now is the perfect time for destinations and operators to look into new products that will expand and adapt the tourism season while creating sustainable tourism experiences”.

Environmental sustainability, the active engagement of local communities, creating new experiences for visitors to enhance destination competitiveness, and state-of-the-art facilities for increased accessibility, were underscored as critical to diversify tourism products, which should also incorporate innovations ranging from the latest developments in outdoor sports and activities to mobile applications.

The Congress was organized by UNWTO and the Government of Andorra, in collaboration with the parish of Andorra la Vella. Gathering more than 450 participants from 31 countries, the Congress was the biggest event of its kind so far, a clear sign of the growing importance of mountain tourism.

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Turkey Travel Advice: UK Visitors Should Get E-Visa Before Travel

From 11 April 2014, the Turkish authorities will start to phase out issuing visas on arrival. UK visitors arriving in Turkey on or after 11 April, should get an e-visa online before travel.

For a transition period, visas on arrival will be available but we recommend consumers obtain an e-visa as this will be cheaper and also remove the need to queue for a visa on arrival. The cost is $20 USD for an e-visa and effective from 11 April, $30 Euro, $25 USD or £20 for a visa on arrival.

Cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports entering the country for a day trip, remaining in the port of embarkation and returning to the ship the same day will continue to be able to enter Turkey without a visa or an e-visa. 

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Supplementary Healthcare Plans For Employees Of EU Institutions

Allianz Worldwide Care’s new EuroSanté health plans provide employees of European Institutions with cover which is supplementary to EU’s Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme (JSIS).

While the JSIS scheme reimburses members with approximately 80 per cent of eligible medical expenses; Allianz Worldwide Care’s EuroSanté plans offer cover for the medical costs which are not reimbursed by the JSIS scheme, giving members, and their dependants, access to a more comprehensive level of healthcare cover and associated peace of mind.

Commenting on the new plans, Hendrik Boelens, Head of Inter-Governmental Organizations at Allianz Worldwide Care, said: “We already have a strong presence in the IGO market, so providing supplementary cover to staff employed by European Institutions was a natural extension of our existing offering. Allianz Worldwide Care has developed EuroSanté as one of the strongest supplementary insurance plans available in this market, offering individuals greater choice than ever before as well as a market leading level of service.”

There are three plans to choose from - EuroSanté Optimum, Equilibre and Tranquillité – each offering different levels of cover for a wide range of in-patient, out-patient and dental expenses which are not fully reimbursed under JSIS. These include hospital accommodation, surgical fees, diagnostic tests, MRI scans, complementary therapies, rehabilitation, speech therapy, prescribed glassed and contact lenses, periodontics and orthodontics.

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Medical Costs Represented 56% Of Travel Insurance Claims In 2012

Gross written premiums for travel insurance were valued at GBP724 million in 2012, and an estimated GBP742 million in 2013.

Volatile premium growth was recorded during the review period (2008–2012), as demand was strongly influenced by the UK’s recessionary economic backdrop limiting demand for overseas travel. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) registered during the review period was more stable at -0.53%.

UK residents made fewer trips abroad during the review period, with discretionary spending on holidays constrained by weak growth in earnings, employment uncertainty and rising travel costs, while businesses reduced budgets for corporate travel. A preference for domestic holidays induced a 12.5 million dip in the number of leisure and business trips abroad during the review period.

Medical costs represented 56% of travel insurance claims in 2012, and, despite fewer overseas trips being made, costs relating to claims have risen sharply.

The average medical claim totaled GBP900 in 2012, 50% higher than in 2004.

The reported refusal of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in hospitals in Spain, Greece and Cyprus added to insurers’ cost burdens.

The travel insurance category is highly competitive and has become increasingly commoditized, with insurers competing on price to maintain market share. Online distribution – through direct and price-comparison website channels – is well established, and has fostered an increase in the number of low-cost internet-only brands. The underwriting capacity for these products is dominated by the 10 largest insurers in the category. Stronger UK economic growth from 2014 will spur an improvement in consumer confidence and spending to provide the impetus to growth in demand for travel insurance over the forecast period.

Gross written premiums are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 2.20% over 2014–2018, reaching a total of GBP829 million in 2018.

Opportunities exist to deepen penetration in the category. An aging population and trends for a more active retirement are increasing demand for travel insurance policies with no age limits.

A parliamentary review in 2013 found that 91% of travel policies available in the UK imposed an upper age limit, and age-related charities have begun lobbying for market changes. Customer education also allows insurers to highlight the shortfalls of the basic cover offered through the EHIC and Civil Aviation Authority compensation schemes.

Key Highlights

Gross written premiums topped GBP720 million in 2012 and 2013, Economic conditions discouraged overseas travel, Rising medical costs have increased claims, Internet sales are a major distribution channel, Premium growth will be maintained over 2014–2018, Penetration can be deepened through policy innovation and customer education. The Companies Mentioned in this report are ACE European Group Ltd Ageas (UK) Ltd AIG Europe Ltd Allianz Insurance Plc Aviva Plc Axa UK Plc Chubb Insurance Company of Europe SE Direct Line Insurance Group Plc Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) Plc Mapfre Asistencia Compañía Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros, SA.

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Paraguay Travel Advice: General Strike 26 March 2014 Demonstrations Expected

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

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

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

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

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