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Vertafore Further Automates Producer Sales Authorizations with Producer Manager

Vertafore have announced Producer Sales Authorizations in Producer Manager, which uses producer credentials to help insurers determine if a producer holds the required credentials to sell their products.

Producer Manager is an automated solution for just-in-time producer sales authorizations, supplying actionable insight into producer status to improve time-to-market while lowering costs and compliance risk. In an April 2013 survey of insurance professionals conducted by Vertafore regarding producer lifecycle management, nearly 65 percent of respondents said new business had been delayed due to authorization gaps.

A centralized rules engine ensures that policies are being followed consistently, and is easier to use by underwriting techs that often are not familiar with licensing and related producer sales authorization compliance issues and requirements. For carriers wanting to know if a producer is authorized to sell, the solution can automatically turn a “no” answer into “yes” so that business is not interrupted while waiting for manual appointment processing.

This is the ideal solution for carriers seeking to implement a just-in-time appointment process. For agencies, it delivers visibility into sales agent activity so that the licensing department can be proactive about solving issues.

“Managing producer sales authorizations is a critical requirement in the business of insurance. Without it, the risk of compliance fines increase, growth can stall due to reputation issues and operational bottlenecks, and more importantly insurance issuance can be delayed negatively affecting customer satisfaction,” said Tim Owen, vice president of product management at Vertafore. “Vertafore delivers one of the most complete processes and technology packages to ensure agencies and carriers remain compliant and are well positioned for the future.”

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Allianz Worldwide Care launches AppointMed

International health insurer Allianz Worldwide Care has announced details of AppointMed, a new appointment booking service that offers UK based members a simple and efficient way of securing an initial appointment with a consultant on a direct billing basis.

This convenient ‘one telephone call’ based service, which does not require a GP referral, has been launched in association with the UK’s largest private hospital group, BMI Healthcare, giving members access to over 6,500 consultants across the UK. To make an appointment, a member simply contacts Allianz Worldwide Care’s Helpline and requests the AppointMed service. A member of the Helpline then transfers the member to BMI Healthcare who ascertains the type of consultant specialty required and provides the member with a list of consultants to choose from.

The member can then arrange the appointment through BMI Healthcare at a date, time, and location convenient for them, and costs are billed directly to Allianz Worldwide Care. The AppointMed appointment booking service is available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays.

Commenting on the new service, Susan Landers, Head of Marketing and Client Management at Allianz Worldwide Care said: “We are continually looking for ways to make life easier for our members. AppointMed achieves this by providing fast and easy access to BMI Healthcare’s extensive network of consultants on a direct settlement basis”.

Scott Feldman, International Director at BMI Healthcare added “We are delighted to be working with Allianz Worldwide Care in launching this convenient and rapid access service for international patients. As the largest private hospital group in the UK, we can offer appointments with over 6,500 consultants across 69 hospitals and treatment centres, in just one call and often at short notice. This service further underlines our commitment to service excellence by seamlessly connecting those seeking world class care with the right specialists, anywhere in the UK.”

More Info: www.allianzworldwidecare.com

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UK Travel Insurance Fraud Rockets Due To Summer Heatwave

Travel insurance claims for cancelled holidays or lost baggage are rising for the summer of 2013 thanks to the short UK heatwave. It's believed holidaymakers cancelled pre-booked holidays so they could enjoy their days roasting in the UK instead. The Guardian newspaper reports today that this type of insurance scam is on the increase.

Traditionally, the travel insurance industry has low claim thresholds and is price-led and low-value. It's possible this could change, though, if the numbers of claims handled typically increases to levels seen this year. VFM Services works to uncover fraud in the insurance industry and says it believes some holidaymakers have cancelled overseas' holidays citing medical emergencies or other reasons.

VFM say: "Our investigators are already seeing cancellation claims, and as people return from their holidays fraudulent travel claims will continue to rise as holidaymakers also submit their baggage claims."

Four out of every 10 insurance claims passed to VFM turns out to be fraudulent or is not followed through by the claimant, following challenges from the investigators. In claims for lost baggage, VFM contact airports for CCTV footage of the baggage carousel. Often, when VFM asks the claimant to sign a release enabling them to approach airports it is quite common for the customer to fail to continue with the claim. One VFM claim handler estimates 45 percent of its travel claims are fraudulent, with 60 percent dropped after just one phone call to the claimant. The average claim for cancellation on travel insurance policies amounts to £1,200 and VFM are expecting more claims to be submitted this summer as holidaymakers return home and submit claims for lost baggage.

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Online Claims Submission Now Available For International Business Travelers Covered by Cigna

Online Claims Submission Now Available For International Business Travelers Covered by Cigna

International business travelers covered under a Medical Benefits Abroad® (MBA) plan from Cigna Global Health Benefits, a division of Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI), now have the option to submit their claims online directly through CignaEnvoy.com. The new feature also provides access to an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payment method called ePayment Plus, which adds another electronic option for customers to receive reimbursement from submitted claims.

When traveling on international business, it’s important that customers have access to quality health care when they need it. The Cigna MBA plan provides medical coverage for unexpected illness and injuries that occur while traveling on international business outside of a customer’s home or permanent assignment country. Any MBA customer who is a registered Cigna Envoy user can file an online claim through a few simple steps. “More and more, customers are going online to learn about products and services, including their health care coverage,” said Sheldon Kenton, director of Cigna's Global Sales and Client Management.

“Having the ability to submit a claim quickly, securely and at any time during the day is an absolute necessity for our MBA customers. We want to make it easy to do business with us, and this is just another way we do that.”

Four different plan designs offer the flexibility to choose the appropriate level of coverage. In addition to medical, Cigna MBA plans may offer coverage for prescription drugs and replacement medication for lost prescriptions that are medically necessary, dental emergencies, medical evacuation, and other benefits. MBA customers can use Cigna Envoy to file online claims and to access other helpful information including country-specific health resources, a list of pre-screened doctors and hospitals that bill Cigna directly, as well as currency and exchange rate information, security alerts and immunization requirements.

For more information, please visit www.CignaGlobalHealth.com or call 1.800.796.1156.

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Travel Industry Targeting High-End Families

WikiTrend.org, the social trends catalogue for trendsetting ideas, products and experiences, is reporting a growing trend in travel and tourism in looking to attract families in general, and wealthy families in particular. Family travel is growing, but high-earning families are traveling even more, and their spending is increasingly attractive to travel providers.

State and city Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) are reporting a rise in destination family reunions, which guarantees a large number of people traveling to the same location on any given date. Meanwhile, airlines and hotels are competing for the privilege of pampering families seeking luxury travel experiences. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is now offering on-board nannies to watch and entertain children in-flight.

The Trump SoHo, an upscale hotel in New York City, is offering children under the age of 17 the opportunity to live like young entrepreneurs, equipping them with business cards, monogramed robes, and etiquette classes.

The Mark, another New York City hotel offers branded MacLaren baby strollers designed in the hotel's signature black and white stripes for high rollers with tots in tow. The sell to guests is that they can leave their strollers at home, and not have to lug this unwieldy piece of equipment. Instead, they have full use of the hotel's very chic strollers for the entire length of their stay.

"As people look towards family travel to fulfill their need for meaningful experiences, the competition for this business will heat up even further," says trends expert and keynote speaker Daniel Levine, who is also the Global Editor of WikiTrend.org, "With an increasing number of wealthy families looking to share experiences, travel stakeholders are becoming ever more innovative in making high-end travel more appealing for kids and parents alike."

About WikiTrend.org

Updated daily, WikiTrend.org is the home of trendsetting ideas, products and experiences for fun, insight, inspiration and profit. For thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators and marketers, WikiTrend.org is a fantastic resource offering powerful insight into what global consumers are thinking and feeling. Find them on the Web at www.WikiTrend.org.

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A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of TOWER Medical Insurance Limited

A.M. Best Asia-Pacific Limited has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit rating of “a-” of TOWER Medical Insurance Limited (TMI) (New Zealand). The outlook for both ratings is stable. TMI was sold as a wholly owned subsidiary to nib holdings limited (the nib group) in November 2012. The nib group is a health insurer established over 60 years ago and is the only listed health insurer on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Currently, the nib group provides health insurance to over one million Australian and New Zealand residents. The rating affirmations reflect TMI’s consistent underwriting results and good liquidity position, which indicates adequate margins of protection for unexpected claims and liquidity needs. The ratings also consider the nib group’s parental support in areas of strategic initiatives and risk management.

Offsetting these positive rating factors are the dividends paid by TMI over fiscal year 2013. Although TMI’s premiums continued to grow and generate positive earnings, the amount of dividends paid exceeded its net profits earned. This resulted in a decline in TMI’s risk-based capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR).

An upgrading of TMI’s ratings is unlikely in the near term. Negative rating actions may occur if economic and/or industry factors lead to underwriting losses or there is a significant and continuous deterioration in the company’s risk-adjusted capitalization. The methodology used in determining these interactive ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process.

Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology. Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication, and unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication. A.M. Best Asia-Pacific Limited is a subsidiary of A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best Company is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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Mobile Workforce As Popular As Ever

Organizations all over the world are leveraging the benefits of a globally mobile workforce. According to a KPMG International survey, 72 percent of over 600 respondents use global mobility programs to support overall business objectives. KPMG International’s 15th annual Global Assignment Policies and Practices (GAPP) survey provides a wealth of information for those responsible for or interested in global mobility. The detailed data found in these pages is an opportunity to compare or contrast one’s current practices to those of their peers or other types of organizations. Further, it allows for critical learning of best practices and new ways of thinking.

“A globally mobile workforce is as popular as ever,” says Achim Mossmann, Principal, KPMG’s International Executive Services, KPMG in the US. “Over the 15 years of this survey’s existence, in those companies where use of mobility is the norm, we have seen continued expansion and adaptation to the programs. We even see companies with headquarters in Nordic and Asia Pacific regions beginning to jump on the globalization bandwagon and needing to move their people to new strategic growth locations.”

Flexibility and adaptability of programs to address changing demands is strongly evidenced through the variety of assignment types offered:

  • 81 percent offer short term assignments;
  • 96 percent offer long term assignments;
  • 47 percent offer permanent transfer/indefinite length assignments.

Surprisingly, given the current economic environment, and the noted desire to support the business, only 12 percent of survey participants say that cost control and assurance of an acceptable return on investment (ROI) are of importance.

According to Mossmann, “Having agreed upon metrics to demonstrate ROI helps any global mobility program demonstrate objectively their value to the broader organization and secure continued program funding. However, a notable amount of survey participants struggle to track ROI information as it relates to international assignments—27 percent do not know the percentage of assignees that leave the organization within 12 months of repatriation and 31 percent do not know why they leave.”

Encouragingly, survey participants, year-on-year, continue to exhibit inclusionary mindsets as it relates to the definition of a “family” within their policies for benefit purposes. Fifty-five percent include unmarried domestic partners/companions of the opposite gender and 49 percent include unmarried domestic partners/companions of the same gender.

These broader definitions are most evident in European and Asia Pacific-headquartered organizations, and also within the financial services and high technology industries. In circumstances where organizations may offer incentives for assignees to accept international opportunities, many survey participants also take into consideration dual-career couples and their children.

For instance 21 percent provide job search support in the host country and 21 percent reimburse education expenses for the spouse/partner. Forty-one percent offer language training and 37 percent offer cross-cultural training to the assignee, spouse and their children.

Overall, the use of international assignees will remain the same amount or more for 86 percent of survey participants.

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Mexico Rising

Sustainable economic growth of over three percent, an unemployment rate of less than five percent and total debt corresponding to around 40 percent of gross domestic product: Mexico is prospering.

Following Brazil's example, the new government, led by president Enrique Peña Nieto, wants to use the stable growth in order to further strengthen the growing middle class. In the past, the 'clasmedieros' had already begun to expand significantly. Over the past ten years, the middle class has grown by a good nine million people.

Today, around 65 million Mexicans, over half of the total population, belong to the middle class. Around 98 percent of Mexicans now have electricity. The number of people who own a telephone has increased from 36 percent to 43 percent in the last few years; for computers, the figure has increased from 9 percent to 29 percent, and for fridges from 68 percent to 82 percent.

And Mexico has another distinguishing feature: the country of the Aztecs is young. Over half of the population is under 30, and people are becoming increasingly well qualified. The proportion of university graduates is also relatively high for Latin America at 8.4 percent. Almost 50 percent of all 15 to 24 year olds in Mexico now attend a secondary school. Simultaneously, at just under seven percent, the illiteracy rate has almost halved in recent years.

More mobile phones, computers and other consumer goods: with increasing prosperity and regular income, our natural wish to protect our possessions against loss and set money aside for retirement grows too. "This environment can offer Allianz enormous opportunities for growth", Sergio Ghibellini, CEO of Allianz in Mexico, is convinced.

"Due to the country's economic power and a market penetration rate that is still low and thanks to a reliable legal framework, the insurance market in Mexico will experience above-average growth over the next few years, and Allianz will be able to participate in this," continues the CEO.

Since its entry onto the market in 1985, Allianz in Mexico has continuously expanded its range of products for both corporate and retail customers. It now offers a wide selection of property and casualty (P&C), life and health insurance products. With around 600,000 customers at present, Allianz has a sound customer base in the second largest insurance market in Latin America, which is to grow significantly in the coming years as sales channels are strengthened. Allianz insurance products are primarily sold in Mexico by brokers and agents.

In the area of P&C, Allianz Mexico is already among the front runners in the Allianz Group, with a combined ratio of 90.8 percent. In 2012, gross written premiums increased by nine percent to 266.5 million euros. Operating profit in this segment rose significantly by 46 percent, to 19.5 million euros. Mexico is not just young, however. Mexico is getting ever older, too.

Thanks to fundamental improvements in the healthcare sector, the average life expectancy for people there has risen consistently over the past few years, and now comes in at 77. This means that the emerging middle class is also starting to turn more attention to issues like healthcare and retirement provision.

This is also reflected in the figures for Allianz in Mexico. In the past three years alone, gross written premiums in the area of life and health have tripled to their current level of around 150 million euros. Nonetheless, market penetration in this segment still accounts for less than one percent of the gross domestic product.

Sergio Ghibellini: "This shows just what enormous potential for growth there is for us here."

Experts calculate that with predicted economic growth of four percent, consumer spending will increase by 10 to 15 billion US-dollars per year. Part of this money will certainly be allocated to safeguarding this prosperity and to retirement provision.

Sergio Ghibellini: "We are well prepared to meet this demand with suitable products and services."

Mexico's example illustrates once again how important sustainable growth is for the development of a stable middle class, which in return reinforces consumption with its purchasing power and thus ensures continued growth, more jobs, increased prosperity and stable domestic demand. And finally, yet another piece of good news: according to a recent study, Mexican consumers are currently assessing their financial situation more positively than at any other time in the last five years. Solid finances, sustainable growth, an expanding middle class and optimism: Mexico has more to offer than just sun, sand and beaches.

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Travel Advice Côte d'Ivoire

Travel Advice Côte d'Ivoire

Latest update: Summary and Safety and security, Crime section - reports of westerners being robbed at gunpoint on the main road from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to parts of the country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the western regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra. There have been a number of shootings around Abidjan since August 2012. Attacks happen mainly at night and the targets have usually been the police and military. Further incidents can’t be ruled out. Violent crime can occur at any time.

Be particularly vigilant and take care when travelling by road, especially at night. There is a general threat from terrorism.

Following French military intervention in Mali, there is a possibility of retaliatory attacks targeting Western interests in the region.

You should be vigilant. Cases of meningitis have been detected in northern and central regions of Côte d’Ivoire. The affected districts are Boundiali, Bouna, Ferke, Korhogo, Seguela and Tengrela in the North and Bandama Valley region in the central part of the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health agencies are supporting local authorities to control the spread of the disease. Yellow fever, cholera, and measles cases have been reported in the Abidjan area since the start of 2011. Falciparum malaria is also endemic. You should register with our Embassy and warden network in Abidjan.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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Flood Insurance For River Basin People

Flood Insurance For River Basin People

Poor and vulnerable people in the river basin areas of Sirajganj district come under an index based flood insurance product, to address the disaster risk reduction in the flood prone regions. The product was launched yesterday (20 August 2013) at BRAC Centre in a program titled Launching Ceremony on Index Based Flood Insurance Product Piloting in Sirajgonj, Bangladesh, organized by Oxfam. Initially the flood index insurance product will cover 1661 poor families of 10 villages located in Char areas of Sirajganj district on a pilot basis.

The product aims to provide cash relief of up to BDT 8000 per household in event of catastrophic flood. Addressing the launching ceremony as the chief guest, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Minister of Disaster Management and Relief said, ”With this very innovative initiative, poor and vulnerable people of Sirajganj district, who are the regular victims of flood will feel more secured. Such kind of initiative helps the government to address the disaster risk reduction.” He urged all to scale up this effort to cover whole Bangladesh. Snehal Soneji, Country Director for Oxfam in Bangladesh, in his welcome remarks said.

“Bangladesh is a flood prone country, which is one of primary reasons for wide spread poverty, despite the remarkable economic progresses government has made. Index based flood insurance is aimed to design a commercially viable catastrophic flood insurance scheme for the poor and vulnerable.”

He further added, “We are now piloting it in Sirajganj, with a hope to spread it across the country with the support from government, national and international organizations.”

Initiated by Oxfam, the project is funded by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation) and jointly implemented by CIRM Advisory Services (India), Institute of Water Modeling (Bangladesh), Pragati Insurance Ltd. (Bangladesh), Swiss Re, Manab Mukti Sangstha (Bangladesh) and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (Bangladesh). "Floodwater that used to create fertile ground for agriculture crops has resulted in catastrophic consequences in Bangladesh now.

Through this flood index insurance scheme, Swiss Re supports the insurance sector with product structuring, pricing and underwriting, as well as reinsuring the risks. The insurance scheme will help to mitigate the fiscal impact of the flooding to the villages, and strengthen the resilience of the economy," said Harini Kannan, Head of Agriculture Reinsurance South West Asia from Swiss Re, the reinsurance partner for this project. Earlier Sardar M Shah Newaz, Director, IWM presented the flood hazard model and Rupalee Ruchismita, Executive Director, CIRM presented the keynote paper on Index Based Flood Insurance Product.

Among others, Manirul Islam, Managing Director, Pragati Insurance Ltd, Prof. Dr. M. Monowar Hossain, Executive Director, IWM, Md Habibullah Bahar, Director and Manab Mukti Sansgtha also spoke. Mohammad Abul Wazed, Director General, Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) addressed as the special guest, while MB Akhter, Program Manager, Oxfam, gave the vote of thanks. Representatives from government, national and international organizations, media and community were present at the event.

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Expatriate Health Insurance

Compare Expatriate Health and Medical Insurance Plans, Coverage, Quotes and Companies, with iPMI Magazine. iPMIM represents leading providers of expat medical, health and travel insurance plans. Find the right and most appropriate Expatriate Health Insurance for overseas travel, global mobility and relocation