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Where There's A Will, There's A Way

Aviva‘s latest Family Finances Report highlights very clearly the lack of planning people generally have in place should they die. It also reveals that although families know they should plan ahead for the inevitable, they find it difficult to have those important conversations. 

The report suggests that 62% of people feel that death is a taboo subject. These figures are borne out by similar figures issued by the Dying Matters Coalition which suggests that 72% of the public believe that people in Britain are uncomfortable discussing dying, death and bereavement.  Furthermore, just 18% of British adults say they have asked a family member about their end of life wishes.

A good starting point is making a Will. Some of the potential issues if you do not make a Will are as follows:

  • You cannot be sure that those you would wish to benefit will actually do so.
  • Your spouse or civil partner may not inherit all of your estate.
  • Although the term "Common Law" husband or wife is frequently used to describe a couple who have lived together for many years, such relationships have no legal recognition. As such, your partner may not be entitled to anything.
  • Minor children could be taken into care whilst Guardians are appointed, yet the Aviva report suggests that 54% of parents have made no plans whatsoever, including 28% who don’t think they will ever need or want to plan for childcare if they pass away!!
  • There could be lengthy delays for your beneficiaries and disputes.

Despite all of this, only 35% of the public say they have written a Will. 

Organ donorship was addressed by only 27% of those surveyed, a decision which can have such a positive influence on someone else’s life. Protocol recently changed in Wales, where a system of deemed consent has been introduced, hoping to increase the number of organs available for transplant. So the Welsh authorities have decided to take the initiative, and save us from finding the right time to have a difficult conversation.   

How can we make end of life discussions more comfortable?

Sometimes people feel motivated to talk about funeral and financial planning after the painful loss of a loved one, especially if they experienced difficulties settling that person’s affairs. But can we be pro- active rather than re- active?

Discussions and pre-need planning means families have no doubts about the funeral their nearest and dearest wanted, or how they wanted to distribute their estate. Even if the funeral is not pre-paid, final wishes can be recorded   informally in a letter, or formally in a Will. If recording your wishes in a Will, it is worthy to note that those wishes are not legally binding on your executors. However, once the subject of a Will is open for discussion, perhaps related matters follow more easily.

The loss of a loved one at any time can be very difficult, both emotionally and financially. Not only are you left dealing with the grief of your loss, but you are also left making potentially significant financial decisions at a time when you are least able to cope.

The bereaved families we help at Rowland Brothers International after a tragedy away from home are often shocked and numb after receiving tragic and unexpected news, but questions are very similar from one family to another. Do they need to register the death again? Which local authorities will accept a foreign death certificate? Will they need translations? If there was not a Will, are there any surprises in terms of inheritance? Who can or will look after young children left without parents, or who can access financial accounts? Or who will administer the estate and who will inherit what?

In May 2016, we are supporting a nationwide event in the UK called Dying Matters Awareness Week. This year’s event is entitled “The Big Conversation", encouraging families to think about the future, and take responsibility for planning ahead to support their families.

Rowland Brothers Funeral Directors and its sister companies Golden Leaves Funeral Plans and Lifecare Planning Solutions are hosting events to raise awareness and encourage discussion about end of life matters. We hope that our events will break down barriers and encourage conversation about a topic that is easy to ignore, but vital to address.

Written By Steve Rowland, Rowland Brothers International

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Remote Medical International® And Healix International Announce Strategic Partnership

Remote Medical International and Healix International, a global leader in medical and security assistance services, have today announced the establishment of a strategic partnership. Together, the two companies will leverage each other's extensive expertise to provide an exceptional and comprehensive continuum of care to clients with operations around the world.

"We are thrilled to offer our customers the level of service and support for which Healix International is known,” said Wayne Wager, CEO of Remote Medical International. "By partnering with a world-class assistance company like Healix, we can now improve the safety and security of our clients’ global employees and operations."

Remote Medical International provides critical onsite medical services to global companies across a wide variety of industries. These services include medical staffing, training, medical direction, and equipment procurement. Healix International excels at allowing global employers to fulfill their duty of care requirements by overseeing the health and safety needs of business travelers, expatriates, and their families in every country in the world.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Remote Medical International to offer our clients a best-in-class solution for their on-project medical needs,” said Scott Sunderman, CEO of Healix International. “Having worked collaboratively on projects already, I have witnessed first-hand how our combined efforts can increase the level of care and reduce costs for our clients. The formalization of our relationship seemed like a natural step for us and will further our shared vision of improving the health and wellbeing of clients living and working in remote and challenging locations.”

Healix International and Remote Medical International both have proven track records of improving patient care while reducing costs, recordable incidents, and medical evacuations. Combined, both companies have an increased ability to offer seamless service integration and provide customers with access to trusted care and medical support wherever in the world they work.


AirCARE1 International Becomes Preferred Air Ambulance Provider For International Assistance Group (IAG)

AirCARE1 International has been selected to become a preferred Air Ambulance provider for the prestigious International Assistance Group (IAG). The International Assistance Group® is a global network of Partners and preferred providers from all sectors of assistance services located in over 170 countries throughout the world.

Selection to become a preferred provider for the IAG is based on a highly stringent selection process based on industry recommendation, adherence to the highest quality performance standards, and financial stability. Being a preferred provider of the International Assistance Group provides AirCARE1 International global operational benefits by utilizing proprietary resources to efficiently coordinate and perform patient transports worldwide.



iJET International Appoints Robert Oatman Chairman of Security Intelligence Advisory Board

iJET International, Inc. have announced the appointment of a new chairman to its Security Intelligence Advisory Board, Robert “Bob” Oatman.

Oatman has served on iJET’s Advisory Board since 2002, and will now assume the role of chairman, where he will oversee the operations of the 14-member group. The announcement comes on the heels of Oatman also being named chair of the Executive Protection Council for ASIS International.

“Bob is an outstanding member of the iJET team. His counsel and leadership over the years have proven to be an invaluable asset to the board,” said iJET CEO, Bruce McIndoe. “This, combined with his wealth of expertise and industry-leading knowledge in the field of executive protection and security made him the natural choice for the position, and we are thrilled to have him at the helm as we continue to grow and strengthen our global footprint.”

Comprised of seasoned security, intelligence and health advisors with an abundance of senior and executive leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, iJET’s 14-member Advisory Board provides insight into evolving security and health threats and situations around the world as well as counsel to clients, the iJET executive team and more.

“It’s truly an honor to be named chairman of iJET’s Advisory Board, which includes some of the most distinguished and accomplished individuals I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the course my career,” said Oatman. “It has been an incredible experience to serve as a member of the board for almost 14 years, and I look forward to leading the board as we work together to support iJET’s strategic development and growth now and in the future.”

Robert L. Oatman, a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) is one of the preeminent providers of executive protection. His firm, R.L. Oatman & Associates, Inc., has provided executive protection risk assessments, consultation, operations, and training around the world since 1989. The firm specializes in developing detailed protection plans for the top executives of Fortune 500 companies in addition to private families, and operates an executive protection school near its headquarters in Towson, MD.

His experience includes overseas executive protection service to NBC during the Olympics in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. He served as director of Protective Operations at Limited Brands, Inc. from1992-1997, and continued to serve that company as a protective consultant until 2004. Previously, he served with the Baltimore County P.D. retiring as a Major, Chief of Detectives.

Oatman is also the author of Executive Protection: Smarter.Faster.Better (American Literary Press 2015), Executive Protection: Rising to the Challenge, (ASIS Inter. 2009), Executive Protection: New Solutions for a New Era, (Noble House 2006), The Art of Executive Protection, (Noble House 1997).

He holds a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Baltimore and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Federal Executive Institute. In 2003, he received the FBI Director's Award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest and in 2010, was presented the ASIS International President's Award of Merit at the ASIS International Convention in Dallas, Texas.


APRIL Partners With Tin Leg To Fulfill Travel Insurance Company’s ‘24-Hour Emergency Assistance’ Services

APRIL Travel Protection is partnering with Tin Leg and will function as the travel insurance company's medical assistance provider, fulfilling 24-hour Emergency Assistance needs, including evacuation services.

Backed by the 27-year-old APRIL Group, APRIL Travel Protection has become an innovative force in the U.S. since its 2013 launch and is now partnering with Tin Leg, a market leader whose customer service-oriented approach to travel insurance parallels APRIL’s own policyholder-centric philosophy. APRIL will function as Tin Leg’s medical assistance provider, fulfilling 24-hour Emergency Assistance needs, including evacuation services.

“Immediate and hassle-free 24-hour Emergency Assistance is an extremely crucial component of any travel insurance policy, and we found APRIL’s best-in-class medical support to provide the ultimate solution,” said Megan Singh, Project Management Director at Tin Leg.

As of Dec. 1, Tin Leg began referring all applicable Emergency Assistance medical cases to a dedicated, multi-lingual support team at APRIL for immediate assistance.

“As two forward-thinking companies challenging the status quo in an industry where many of the larger players have lost consumer confidence, Tin Leg and APRIL make a complementary and compatible match,” said Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL USA.

“Tin Leg is extremely receptive to American travelers’ perception of insurance and, like us, is actively working to build a nurturing relationship with policyholders. We’re eager to contribute to the success of a company that shares our vision,” Schreier added.


First Medical PTC-Transport On Airbus A380 Manned By SOS International Doctor

SOS International was the first medical assistance company to take the new generation of flying intensive care units on the Airbus A380 in use on a patient transport on a Lufthansa flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt.

The Patient Transport Compartment (PTC), a flying intensive care unit, is developed by Lufthansa Tecknik and LH Medical Service and can now also be built into Airbus A380 aircrafts to be used on long-haul routes.

The use of the PTC can be a very cost-effective alternative to ambulance airplanes. Using an intensive care unit when possible instead of an ambulance airplane is often cheaper. Lufthansa has aircrafts specially prepared for these intensive care units and can therefore change flights, when SOS International orders a PTC transport. It is of course only possible for SOS International to make use of these intensive care units when medical and logistic conditions make it possible.

The large airplanes from Lufthansa, i.e. Airbus 380, 340 and 330 and Boing 747, prepared for the PTC, have routes from/to Munich and Frankfurt, so the patients must continue the repatriation with an ambulance airplane from these destinations to the final European destination. The airplane change normally takes place wing-by-wing, i.e. the small ambulance plane is allowed to park close to the very large aircrafts. Although it seems inconvenient to change flight during a trip, this should be compared with ambulance flights having several ground stops for fueling.

Medical Escort Doctor from SOS International Hanns Reich, an anesthesiologist, escorted the patient on the first flight with the Airbus A380 and explains, “it was exciting to be the first to test a new installation together with a PTC-crew member. The ventilator, the infusions pumps, the monitors etc. all functioned as intended. The size of the PTC gives excellent working conditions with the patient placed in the correct height and seats for the escorting crew appropriate placed for monitoring the patient means that we can provide the best possible medical care during the repatriation. The Lufthansa PTC crew-member is fully aware of the conditions of having a patient on board and they know the exact position of all equipment, medicines and other supplies which contributes to a safe repatriation for the patient”.


BBC Highlights Travel Insurance Fraud With CEGA

Thousands of BBC viewers will find out about the folly of travel insurance fraud in February, when Head of Special Investigations for CEGA, Simon Cook, takes to the screen to explain that no stone is left unturned in the industry's quest to expose fraudsters - wherever they are in the world.

BBC One's Claimed and Shamed will see Simon talking viewers through a supposed car break-in near Mumbai, a fictitious death in Nigeria and cosmetic surgery posing as emergency medical treatment in Lebanon - all exposed with the help of CEGA's investigators "on the ground" overseas. Meanwhile, Simon and his team also get to the bottom of a suspicious mobile phone theft in Spain, after desktop investigations back in the UK.

"The message to travel insurance fraudsters is clear," says Simon. "We will go to great lengths to investigate suspicious claims all over the world  - however complex and distant they may seem."

This is CEGA's third appearance on the successful Claimed and Shamed series, which attracts over a million morning viewers. By shining a spotlight on fraud, the series has acted as a catalyst to increase the volume of reports of suspected insurance fraud submitted to the Insurance Fraud Bureau's (IFB) Cheatline.

You can watch CEGA in Claimed and Shamed on Thursday 18th, Friday 19th, Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th February: BBC One at 11am.


New Online Claims Tool For Expats And Business Travelers

SOS International has launched a new online self-service tool for expats and business travelers on This new tool makes it possible for all expatriates and business travelers to file a claim anywhere, anytime at their convenience.

The tool makes sure that all relevant information and documentation is enclosed to the application which entails a more smooth and quick claims handling process to the benefit of both the insurance company and the policy holder.

The development of this tool is part of SOS International’s digital development approach and a response to the demand from the market. Today, policy holders want to be able to service themselves when it suits them and not abide to office opening hours and heavy case handling processes entailing paper work and sending documentation by regular mail.

To access the online solution, follow this link.


Tokio Marine HCC Acquires On Call International

HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. has announced that it has acquired On Call International LLC (On Call). On Call designs and markets customized self-insured and indemnified travel risk management plans, including medical, travel, political and natural disaster coverage. Founded in 1995, On Call is headquartered in Salem, New Hampshire. The company serves millions of travellers each year, and clients include travel agencies, academic institutions, insurance companies and leisure travelers. 

“On Call has a long and successful track record of providing unparalleled global travel risk management services, and HCC Specialty has benefited from these services as a satisfied client for five years,” said Bill Hubbard, President and Chief Executive Officer of HCC Specialty. “In today’s increasingly perilous world for travelers, we’ve brought this vital service in-house, helping us to increase our competitive edge by offering a superior customer experience.”

“By joining Tokio Marine HCC, On Call gains access to global expertise and unmatched products and services to expand our operations and further strengthen our world-class travel risk management offerings,” said Mike Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of On Call. “The backing of Tokio Marine Holdings, an industry-leading, international insurance company with over 30,000 employees, provides On Call and our millions of current and future members with incredible and innovative opportunities to build on our successes.”


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
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