Menu
iPMI Magazine Is Proudly Sponsored By:
For a healthier journey.

iPMI Magazine Has Moved

iPMI Magazine successfully rebranded to iPMI Global in 2023 and has moved to a new home on the internet. To visit the brand new international private medical insurance business intelligence platform, please go to www.ipmiglobal.com

Travel Advice Philippines: 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits The Island Of Bohol

Around 113,282 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. A major 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Bohol on Tuesday at 08:12 local time (0012 GMT).

The epicentre was 629 km from Manila. Cebu City is about 60 km away. There have been some reports of casualties on Cebu. The initial earthquake was followed by two aftershocks, each measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a Pacific-wide tsunami threat. The United States Geological Survey have issued a yellow warning saying “some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localised.

Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response.”

British nationals affected by the earthquake are asked to contact the Consular Section in Manila at +63 02 858 2200.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons. There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.

The FCO is aware of a credible and imminent kidnap threat against foreigners in Zamboanga del Norte Province in Mindanao.

On 10 October the US Embassy issued an emergency message to US citizens warning them of the continuing threat from terrorism in southern Mindanao, including Davao, North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudurat, Sarangani and Maguindinao.

On 16 September 2013 the Philippine Bureau of Immigration warned foreign nationals against joining rallies and other mass action protests. Foreign nationals taking part in these rallies may face deportation for violating Philippine immigration laws.

On 9 September 2013 armed clashes took place between militants and the Philippines security forces in Zamboanga city. Sporadic fighting continues and the city’s airport has been closed. A curfew is in place from 8pm until 5am.

The FCO advise against all travel to this region. Any British nationals in Zamboanga city should remain indoors and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, usually between June and November. You should monitor local weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities. With the exception of Philippine Airlines (PAL), all air carriers certified in the Philippines are banned from operating to/from the EU. 

Read more...

Travel Advice and News Thailand

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Over 800,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but incidents of crime (sometimes violent) can affect visitors.

Rubber farmers in Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand have been involved in violent anti-government protests which have blocked roads and caused disruption.

You should avoid demonstrations and protests.

The majority of road traffic accidents in Thailand involve motorcycles, but accidents involving other vehicles including cars, coaches and mini-buses also occur.

By law you must carry your passport with you at all times.

Tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport.

Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.

Medical, Travel, Health Insurance for Expatriates, Business Travel and Leisure Travelers/Tourists

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

Top tips for Travel to Thailand

Seeking medical, health, travel or expatriate insurance for travel or relocation to Thailand?

You can find a wide range of medical, travel, expatriate and health insurance companies that may be able to provide insurance plans and cover, for group and individual healthcare, when travelling to Thailand, in the iPMI Magazine Thailand Travel, Medical, Expatriate and Health Insurance company guide, click here.

Read more...

HRG Air Trends Survey Indicates Upward Trend For Business Travel Market

Despite an unprecedented number of disruptions over the last year business air travel is showing encouraging signs of recovery, with travel to emerging markets in Africa and Latin America leading the charge, according to data released today by Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), the award-winning international corporate services company.

Data based on HRG UK clients' domestic and international air transactions and fares from April 2012 to March 2013 indicates that:

Despite ongoing challenges, particularly in the Eurozone economies, there are signs that the business travel market is on the road to recovery. Global air travel booking activity in the first quarter of 2013 was up 3.2% compared to the same period in 2012. After a shaky start to 2012, the number of UK domestic transactions increased by 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2012, and rose by 4.3% in the first quarter of 2013.

India was among the destinations where HRG saw the strongest growth in corporate air travel. Year on year transaction volumes were up by 11.1%. Corporate air travel to the Rest of the World region, encompassing the emerging markets of South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa grew by 3.3%.

Transaction volumes in Brazil and China declined by 6.1 and 2.3% respectively, as the economies in both countries began to slow after breakneck growth in previous years. Business class transactions showed an overall decrease of 14.8% with economy transactions recording an overall increase of 0.5%.

The shift from business class to economy was particularly acute in Europe suggesting changes made by business travellers on short haul routes during the peak of the downturn has extended well beyond it. Stewart Harvey, Group Commercial Director of HRG says: “The general picture is of an industry in slow but steady recovery. However, despite the improved view there is still a focus on cost by our clients and an increase in the use of economy fares, particularly on short-haul destinations. We’re also seeing rail re-emerge as a genuine alternative to air travel.

“Getting the best value for money when it comes to air fares, and aligning travel budgets to match high growth markets are the priorities for our clients as they look to make a limited pot go further. “The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are now well established business travel destinations and, with the exception of India, the huge growth in air travel to these destinations is slowing. What we’re seeing now is significant growth coming from smaller, less established destinations, like Colombia in Latin America, and Ghana in Africa. These countries are poised for massive growth over the next decade as more international routes open up.”

Encouraging signs after challenging 2012

HRG figures show that corporate travel is on the rise after a challenging period in the second and third quarters of 2012. Transaction volumes recovered in the final quarter of 2012, showing 0.5% year on year growth, and this continued into the first quarter of 2013, when transaction volumes rose by 3.2%.

HRG’s findings are supported by the latest data from IATA, which reported 5.9% rise in the number of passenger kilometres travelled globally in March 2013. Despite cautious optimism however, HRG figures indicate the picture remains mixed, with a number of clients still showing significant reductions in travel.

Global picture mixed with emerging markets underpinning growth

HRG’s Air Trends data shows evidence of an upward trend in business travel transactions and spend across all regions, though the pace of recovery varies significantly.

Growth in the Rest of the World region, encompassing the dynamic economies of Latin America, South East Asia and Africa, grew by 3.3%, providing further evidence that businesses are prioritising travel to emerging economies rather than traditional economic hubs in the West.

Year on year transaction volumes for UK domestic travel dropped by 2.9% while the rest of Europe showed a similar rate of decline at -2.7% for the year. Corporate air travel to the North Atlantic region decreased by 3.9%.

UK and Europe – Mixed picture as economic conditions remains uncertain

UK domestic travel dipped sharply in the second and third quarters of 2012, but recovered in the final quarter with year on year transaction growth of 2.6%. This growth continued into the first quarter of 2013, when UK domestic air transactions rose by 4.3% compared to the same period in 2012.

While the dip in air travel to mainland Europe was not as pronounced, the recovery has been slower, with the prolonged Eurozone crisis continuing to impact growth. The fragile economic situation across Southern Europe has led to signifcant reductions in air travel to Portugal (-20.1%) Italy (-14.6%) and Greece (-15.3%).

Germany emerged the most popular international air travel destination for HRG clients due to its position as a leading commercial centre, though even here transaction volumes were down 1.5%. Strong economic growth conditions and revenue opportunites across Northern Europe and Scandinavia drove a significant rise in air travel to the region.

HRG data shows an 11.5% rise in air travel to Norway and a 16.9% rise to Denmark. Interestingly, transactions for flights to France decreased by 5.2% between April 2012 to March 2013 when compared with the previous year. HRG figures reveal an increasing trend for business travellers to travel to France using high-speed rail services including Eurostar.

Many companies have also changed their travel policy, requiring travellers to travel by rail for this particular route as it allows for work to be completed en-route.

Latin America – Dynamism beyond Brazil

Latin America continues to grow as a business travel destination, but data from HRG indicates the pace of change is slowing in more established markets like Brazil. While air travel to Brazil has grown exponentially over the past five years, HRG’s data showed a year on year decline of 6.1% in terms of transactions.

As part of the exclusive ‘BRIC club’ Brazil may grab the headlines, but the opening of new international routes across Latin America is underpinning strong growth in air travel to less established destinations across the entire region. Peru (+18.2%), Chile (+16.7%), and Colombia (+36.2%) are all emerging as business travel destinations as international companies recognise investment opportunities in these smaller countries.

Middle East and North Africa – Bouncing back

Air travel to the Middle East and North Africa is showing signs of improvement after hitting rock bottom during the social-political uprisings of the last 18 months. Travel to booming Turkey rose by 11.5% year on year. HRG’s data also showed an increase in corporate travel to Saudi Arabia (+9.1%) and UAE (+5.3%), but business travel to Bahrain remains stymied by ongoing political unrest.

Air travel transactions to the Kingdom were down 13.3% year on year. In North Africa, inbound air travel to Tunisia is down by 22.7%, while air travel to Egypt declined by 2.7%. There are however signs this may be changing as Foreign Direct Investment is beginning to have an impact on business travel to the region.

Africa – Rising fast

Boosted by a plethora of new airline routes into Africa and a successful football World Cup in June 2010, the continent is gradually emerging as a desirable destination for business travel. Compared to the sluggish pace of growth in Europe, transaction volumes in Africa are rising at often eye-watering rates, albeit these rises are often from a low starting base. Inbound travel to Ghana was up 50.4%, and 14.8% to South Africa.

Asia – China stalls as India powers back

China may be tipped to overtake the US as the world’s biggest business travel destination by 2015, but even the world’s second largest economy has not been spared some economic hardship over the past year.

A slight slowdown in growth from the blistering pace we have become accustomed to is reflected in the 2.3% decline in year on year air travel transactions reported. Conversely, India was one of the major growth regions identified by HRG’s air trends data, showing year on year growth of 11.1%

United States – Feeling the pinch in 2012

Air travel transactions to the US dropped sharply in 2012, showing a year on year decline of 4.2%. In a sign that air travel to the North Atlantic region has yet to recover, Delta Air Lines, one of the US’s two biggest airlines by revenues, warned of a fall in demand in March and expected unit revenues to fall 2 to 3 per cent in April, as it experienced the impact of a weakening US economy.

Cabin classes – Belt-tightening hits business class

Business class transactions have declined dramatically across domestic and short-haul destinations in mainland Europe with drops of 22% and 45% respectively. Economy and low-cost carrier transactions on short-haul destinations in Europe rose by 1% and 4% respectively, suggesting a widespread shift in travel policy on these routes.

In the UK, economy and low-cost fares were down 1% and 9% respectively, indicating UK domestic business travellers may be swapping air travel for rail, and holding more meetings remotely. Belt-tightening is also extending to cabin classes on some long-haul destinations. HRG reports that while transactions to the Rest of World region are up on the previous year, business class transactions remained flat with the majority of the year on year rise accounted for by economy and premium economy fares.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Japan Travel Advice and Warnings

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the exclusion zones around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility identified by the Japanese authorities. Reports on 19 August and 1 September 2013, detail a new leak of around 300 tons of radioactive water at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, which caused Japanese regulators to issue an INES Level 3 rating. The typhoon season runs from June to December with most activity between July and September.

There may be some disruption to transport and other infrastructure in the parts of north-eastern Honshu most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Check with the local authorities or your travel company before you go.

In recent months, the North Korean government has raised tensions through a series of strong public rhetorical statements.

The FCO assess that there is no immediate increased risk or danger to those living in or travelling to Japan. However, the situation could change quickly. You should continue to follow this travel advice, where further information will be posted should the situation change. There is a continuous risk of earthquakes and tsunamis throughout Japan.

Latest warnings and advisories are published on the Japan Meteorological Agency website. The Japanese government introduced a new residency system for foreign nationals in July 2012.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

There is a low threat from terrorism. 140,099 British nationals visited Japan in 2011. Most visits are trouble free.

Read more...

Travel Advice Thailand

Travel Advice Thailand

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla on the Thai-Malaysia border.

The FCO advise against all travel to the Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) temple area and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area located on the Thai-Cambodian border due to the presence of troops in the area and the risk of outbreaks of fighting. There is a high threat of terrorism.

There may be an increased risk of anti-western sentiment linked to the possibility of military action in Syria. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations.

The majority of road traffic accidents in Thailand involve motorcycles, but accidents involving other vehicles including cars, coaches and mini-buses also occur.

By law you must carry your passport with you at all times. Tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport. Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. Over 800,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but incidents of crime (sometimes violent) can affect visitors.

Medical, Travel, Health Insurance for Expatriates, Business Travel and Leisure Travelers/Tourists

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

Top tips for Travel to Thailand

Seeking medical, health, travel or expatriate insurance for travel or relocation to Thailand?

You can find a wide range of medical, travel, expatriate and health insurance companies that may be able to provide insurance plans and cover, for group and individual healthcare, when travelling to Thailand, in the iPMI Magazine Thailand Travel, Medical, Expatriate and Health Insurance company guide, click here.

Read more...

African, European And Asian Cities Dominate The Top 10 Most Expensive Locations For Expatriates

Although more European cities dominate the world’s top costliest locations for expatriates, according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey, several cities in Asia are among the top 10 while Luanda holds the number one position. Mercer's 2013 Cost of Living Survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

New York is used as the base city, and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. The difference in cost for these items can be dramatic.

For example the cost of a cup of coffee in Managua, Nicaragua is $1.54 compared to $8.29 in Moscow; a fast food hamburger meal is $3.62 in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, versus $13.49 in Caracas, and a cinema ticket is $5.91 in Johannesburg compared to $20.10 in London. These are but a few examples of the thousands of comparisons to be found in Mercer’s full report that aid employers in setting cost of living and other expatriate allowances. Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed.

The cost of expatriate housing is typically the biggest expense for employers, and it plays an important part in determining the rankings. The Russian capital of Moscow follows Luanda as the second most expensive city because of high costs for rental accommodation and imported goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates commanding a premium. A luxury two bedroom unfurnished apartment rental for one month in Moscow is $4,600 a month or 14 times as much than Karachi. Rounding out the top five most expensive cities for expatriate living, which also have pricey rental accommodations, are Tokyo, the Chad city Ndjamena, and Singapore.

“Recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices have impacted these cities making them expensive,” said Barb Marder, Senior Partner and Mercer’s Global Mobility Practice Leader. “Despite being one of Africa’s major oil producers, Angola is a relatively poor country yet expensive for expatriates since imported goods can be costly. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly." The other cities appearing in Mercer’s list of top 10 costliest cities for expatriates are Hong Kong, Geneva, Bern and Zurich.

According to Ms. Marder, “A recent Mercer global mobility survey shows that all different types of international assignments are on the rise. Given the increasing numbers of business travelers, global ‘commuters’ and longer-term expatriates, companies are keeping a close eye on the cost of living for international assignees in different cities around the world. Organizations need to evaluate the impact of currency fluctuations, inflation, and political instability when sending employees on overseas assignments while ensuring they can facilitate the moves they need to drive the business results by offering fair and competitive compensation packages.” Currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services have affected the cost of expatriate programs as well as the city rankings.

“Overall, the cost of living in cities across parts of Europe has gone up in the ranking as a result of the slight strengthening of local currencies against the US dollar, whereas in Asia about half of the cities went down in the ranking – Japan especially – due to local currencies’ weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer with responsibility for compiling the survey ranking.

Four European cities are among the top 10 most expensive despite moderate price increases in most European countries. Switzerland remains one of the costliest locations for expatriates despite decreasing or stable accommodation costs and a robust Swiss franc. Some African cities rank high in Mercer’s 2013 survey, reflecting high living costs for expatriate employees. In the Americas, cities in South America are the most expensive locations for expatriates.

Some cities dropped in the ranking as a result of local currencies weakening against the US dollar such as Brazilian cities, while others jumped as a result of high inflation on goods and services and rentals. New York, the base city for Mercer’s Cost of Living ranking, is the most expensive city in the United States.

“Overall, US cities either remained stable in the ranking or have slightly decreased due to the movement of the US dollar against the majority of currencies worldwide,” explained Ms. Constantin-Métral. ”Yet several cities, including New York, moved up in the ranking due to a rise in the rental accommodation market.” Canadian cities generally moved down in the ranking this year as a result of a slight decrease of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar, and because the prices of goods and services increased at a lower pace than in New York.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

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