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Cigna Global Health Benefits Appoints Javier Cano European Managing Director

Cigna (NYSE: CI) has named Javier Cano as Managing Director of its Global Health Benefits business in Europe to ensure the growing number of globally mobile customers benefit from Cigna's global capabilities and local expertise. 

Cigna Global Health Benefits is a leading provider of group healthcare and employee benefits solutions for globally mobile employees of small, medium and large businesses, multinational corporates and IGOs/NGOs. We are a truly international organisation with operations in more than 30 countries and over 50 years of experience. Currently, Cigna provides global health care insurance benefits and related services to more than one million customers worldwide. 

Javier joined Cigna in 2006 as Business Development Director for the Spanish business. In 2010 he launched Cigna’s Individual PMI business in Europe, building new direct channels alongside established intermediary distribution. Javier then became Spain Country Manager for Cigna in 2011 where he has successfully grown the business across the individual, domestic and global benefits’ segments. He will continue to lead Cigna’s business in Spain as part of his new role.

While Javier continues to be based in Madrid, he leads a team operating across Europe with key operational hubs in UK, Belgium and Spain.

Javier commented, “I’m delighted to bring together Cigna’s resources in Europe at a time when global mobility and demand for health benefits are both increasing. There’s no doubt that global mobility has an important part to play in economic growth. And I’m confident that Cigna is well-positioned to support the different global health benefits needs of employers across Europe.”

Cigna Global Health Benefits is part of Cigna, a US-based global health service company, dedicated to helping the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security. To learn more please visit www.cignaglobalhealth.com  and www.cignainspire.com 

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Trends in Asia Pacific Employee Engagement Report

Aon Hewitt, has launched the 2014 Trends in Asia Pacific Employee Engagement Report.

As the global economy continues to stabilize, GDP growth improved across most of the Asia Pacific region during the past year, with an overall growth rate of 4%. The outlook for Asia Pacific’s growth is to remain steady and higher than the global average, at 5.4% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2015. Overall, positive changes have impacted engagement levels in Asia Pacific, as reflected in the key findings below.

“In many cases, employers in Asia Pacific will be building on a strong foundation: our report shows that employees in the region have already attained levels of engagement that are on par with the global average. There is also plenty of room for improvement: 24% of Asia Pacific employees are only passively engaged. The challenge for employers is to improve and sustain levels, to support continued business growth”, said Gabriela Domicelj, Regional Engagement Practice Leader, Asia Pacific.

Asia Pacific employee engagement in 2013 was higher than before the financial crisis. Rising from 58% in 2012 to 61% in 2013, Asia Pacific’s average engagement score rose to 61% in 2013 from 58% in 2012, a bigger increase than was seen in the global engagement score, which rose to 61% in 2013 from 60% in 2012. In 2013, Asia Pacific shares the same engagement score of 61% as the global average. Of the 12 countries represented in this report, nine saw improvements in employee engagement levels in 2013, two saw scores decline, and one remained the same. Compared to the global average, Asia Pacific employees are more willing to advocate for their employers, but less willing to stay in the organization.

In 2013, Asia Pacific reported increases in all Say, Stay and Strive scores (see Appendix for Aon Hewitt’s Engagement Model). Most significantly, Say scores increased by six points to 69%, showing that more employees are saying good things about their employers. Despite an increase since 2012, the Stay score of 55% remained the lowest of the three, reflecting that just under half of employees in Asia Pacific are willing to stay with their organizations. Almost two-thirds of all employees in Asia Pacific are engaged; 24% are passively engaged and present a great opportunity for employers to improve their engagement levels.

The engagement distribution in Asia Pacific shares an identical pattern with global employee engagement distributions. 21% of employees are highly engaged, leaving a large potential for employers to improve engagement, as 64% of employees in Asia Pacific are either moderately or passively engaged. With the right management and work conditions, these employees could become highly engaged. The overall work experience in Asia Pacific is improving. Globally, overall work experience improved by 4%, while Asia Pacific showed an increase of 6%. The areas that have improved the most are employer brand and foundational elements (i.e., safety, resources).

However, perception of leadership and company practices has dropped. This may be because Asia Pacific employees are becoming more sophisticated and therefore more discerning about business and strategic imperatives. Career Opportunities and Pay remain the top two engagement drivers in Asia Pacific. Career Opportunities were the number one driver both globally and in Asia Pacific in 2013 (Career Opportunities ranked as the top engagement driver in nine out of 12 countries). Pay has a particularly higher ranking in Asia Pacific compared to the rest of the world, and is valued notably in China, South Korea, and Thailand.

Anand Shankar, Performance, Talent and Rewards Regional Practice leader, Asia Pacific, said, “Employees today have access to vast amounts of data that allow them to compare potential and current employers on multiple levels, and they are using it to ensure they get the best jobs and conditions possible. Employees in Asia Pacific are becoming increasingly clear and vocal about what they want. Our research shows that employees in Asia Pacific want career opportunities even more than they want pay increases.”

Gabriela Domicelj added: “Engagement drivers differ substantially by country. Asia Pacific shows a great deal of cultural, economic, and political diversity. Talent management practices also vary greatly in maturity across countries and industries in this region. Operating in this complex environment presents a challenge for leaders trying to drive high levels of employee engagement.

Organizations that invest in understanding and managing the key drivers of employee engagement across their multiple constituencies will be able to drive performance in more efficient and effective ways”. The report first analyzes employee engagement trends for the Asia Pacific region, then goes into a detailed breakdown of each of the 12 countries surveyed. These data-backed insights are important for helping employers understand how current trends in demographics and culture are reshaping what employees want in exchange for their efforts. With these trends in mind, companies need to take action to optimize employees’ motivation and productivity.

Overall, in 2013, Asia Pacific witnessed changes in employee engagement. In particular, the region saw improvements in the number of “highly engaged” employees, which increased by 5% to 21%, and in the engagement levels of Millennials, which rose by 5% in 2013 compared with 2012. Looking ahead, employers should focus on ways to sustain growth and avoid volatility in employee engagement levels, especially in fast-growing economies such as China, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Investing wisely in engagement-improvement initiatives is the key for business and HR leaders. The following top five engagement drivers in Asia Pacific highlight the opportunities we see for organizations to improve their employee engagement levels.

Career Opportunities – consistently shows up as the most important employee engagement driver across all Asia Pacific countries. The importance of Career Opportunities within an organization is evident across generations, job levels and job function. Thus, having a flexible and clearly defined career path is one of the most critical improvements for employers to focus on.

Career Opportunities also includes having options for short-term assignments and geographic transfers. Strengths in this area will certainly be a differentiating factor for employers in Asia Pacific.

Pay – After rising in the rankings for two years, Pay remains the second most important engagement driver in Asia Pacific. The findings around pay indicate that economic pressures, threats of inflation, and historical pay constraints may have caused pay to be more highly sought after in specific Asia Pacific countries. Employers should focus on “pay-for performance” strategies, drive more variation in reward levels that are aligned with engagement and performance output, and motivate their employees to give their best performance.

Brand Alignment – Brand Alignment has risen from number four to number three in the list of top five impact drivers. It is important that organizations are consistent in keeping the promises they make to their employees and in providing the promised experience for employees once on-board. Those organizations that focus on articulating a unique and compelling employee value proposition for prospective and current employees and who then deliver on that proposition will be rewarded with higher employee engagement.

Recognition – Recognition schemes are certainly less costly for an employer than direct pay and can also have a significant impact on employee engagement. Despite many economic and business pressures, engagement is on the rise – more employees have said good things about their company are committed to staying with them and have put in extra efforts at work. These employees deserve recognition from their employers, which will in turn result in sustained or even higher engagement.

Managing Performance – The only driver that is new on the list compared to the previous year. Employees in Asia Pacific want to work for organizations that focus on clear performance outcomes. Employers need a holistic approach to ‘employee performance’ as part of their culture, and one that is supported by enabling performance management processes, effective people management, ensuring learning and development supports the capability required to perform, and reinforcing performance through rewards and recognition.

Gabriela Domicelj concluded, “Today’s talent challenges in Asia Pacific are significant. Organizations have to invest wisely in their employees to stay ahead of the race. Getting employee engagement right is a major step towards driving positive business results through increased employee productivity. Now is the time to focus on improving employee engagement in workplaces across Asia Pacific”.

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Travel Oracle App Mobilizes And Simplifies Business Traveller Safety

Healix International’s new Travel Oracle mobile App provides an instant lifeline for business travellers and expatriate employees as well as access to critical information and support, before and during their travels.

Key features include an instantly accessible Mayday call, automated personal tracking, online storage of all travel documents, instant news reports of unrest pushed to impacted travellers, e-learning travel security certification and destination profiles.

“Duty of Care requires that measures be taken to protect employees and Travel Oracle accomplishes that,” said Scott Sunderman, Group CEO of Healix International. “Emergencies can strike at any time. On average, we airlift six medical emergency cases every day and respond to more than 450,000 assistance calls every year. The Travel Oracle App provides a safety net for employees and employers to provide protection for security issues and medical emergencies. Traveller tracking systems have provided travellers and corporations with peace of mind over the years, but they have significant limitations. Travel Oracle overcomes those limitations by making traveller tracking personal and proactive. This new tool helps corporations provide end-to-end travel security.”

Travel Oracle leverages e-Learning, live personal tracking and situational awareness to drive traveller empowerment. Combined with Healix International’s global capabilities and resources in the event of an emergency, a Travel Oracle traveller will be safer, and employers have the confidence that they have exceeded duty of care responsibilities.

Key features include:

  • Emergency Call Function - calls are instantly sent to a 24/7 Command Center
  • Mayday Alert-Personal Tracking - alerts nominated contacts of traveller whereabouts via email, takes situational photographs, sends an audio recording and current GPS location, if pre-authorised
  • Online Personal Profile & Documents - online storage of travel documents and photographs
  • News Alerts and Live Support - global incident monitoring service with real-time country alerts sent directly to employee mobile devices. Access to 24/7 Emergency Assistance Helpdesk
  • e-Learning – travel safety courses, including certification upon successful completion
  • Country Profiles - comprehensive country briefings on over 200 countries including country risks and cultural differences
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Aviva Launches MyAviva App

Aviva is launching a new app for its UK customers, allowing them to view all their policies across life, general and private medical insurance all in one place. And – just in time for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Finals on 31 May.

To encourage Aviva customers to download and explore the benefits of the MyAviva app, Aviva is giving away a free hot drink from Caffe Nero to the first 40,000 customers who download the app and register their customer details. Heather Smith, Marketing Director, Aviva UK, said, “The new MyAviva app brings together the products that help you protect your life, your health, your loved ones, your future and your possessions into one helpful, secure and easy-to-use place. “The app also gives customers access to a wealth of special offers and rewards, including exclusive rugby news and highlights – a perfect compliment to the upcoming Aviva Rugby Premiership Finals.”

The MyAviva app is now available for download on iTunes, and includes car, van, breakdown, motorcycle, travel and home insurance policies as well as life, investment bonds, pensions and annuities, and private healthcare policies.

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10 Resolutions For Managing Globally Mobile Talent In 2014

Mercer’s surveys of multinational employers show that most intend to increase the number of employees they send on both long-term and short-term global assignments over the next two years.

While some employers have large, mature mobility programs with hundreds of expatriates in dozens of countries, others have small, newer programs. Yet all want to attract the right employees and send them on the right type of assignment for the right amount of time – all while controlling costs and the amount of effort it takes to administer their programs.

To help HR professionals better manage an expanding globally mobile workforce in 2014, Mercer suggests 10 resolutions:

  1. Step back and get some perspective Knowing where your assignment policies stand versus those of your peers is an important first step in maintaining an effective global mobility program. Some of your policies may vary significantly from those of your peer companies. That variation may be justified, but you should at least know its direction and extent. Also, the first of the year is a good time to check with leadership to confirm whether your global mobility program is meeting their strategic and operational objectives.
  2. Get assignee feedback from the right source Surprisingly, assignees rarely express dissatisfaction about their compensation and allowances in opinion surveys. But issues that typically bother them most – poor communications, lack of relocation support, ineffective service providers, and repatriation planning – cannot be fixed simply by spending more money. To get candid feedback that can result in meaningful policy improvements, consider using a third party that will keep assignees’ responses confidential.
  3. Look at your map, then ask directions Many employers are pushing beyond typical expatriate locations, such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, and Dubai to less typical ones (sub-Saharan Africa, smaller cities in China, Eastern Europe). Ensure that you have the proper incentives in place to support programs in non-traditional host locations. And look carefully at expatriates’ home countries; if they are leaving a relatively low-wage country such as India, the traditional “balance sheet” approach to compensation may not be appropriate.
  4. Check for the right mix of flexibility, complexity, and equity Flexibility can be built in at the business level (so managers can decide on certain optional compensation elements for expatriates) or at the individual level (using lump sums that expatriates can spend as they choose). While managers may be pushing for more flexibility, it can lead to greater complexity in managing your program and less equity among expatriates. Be prepared to give your leadership clear metrics to understand the balance of priorities.
  5. Scout host neighborhoods for new expatriates Housing costs are often the largest discretionary portion of total mobility costs (after salary and related taxes), and local housing markets can change significantly during the year. For expatriates heading out in 2014, be sure to use timely, accurate, neighborhood-specific housing cost data for “host” cities. Set appropriate rental guidelines and communicate them clearly to expatriates and relocation firms before they search for housing. Consider moving your approval process farther up the chain of command so that senior managers must approve exceptions to stated policies.
  6. Match expatriate programs to talent management strategies Define specific competencies for global leaders and then ensure their global mobility programs build “bench strength” to fill future leadership slots. As your company expands in other countries, it becomes increasingly important that senior executives have hands-on experience outside their own home countries. For each assignment, consider whether it is growing the business, developing global leaders, or filling a critical skill gap, but do not leave talent mobility to chance.
  7. Track your business travelers and short-term assignees closely As governments seek new areas of potential tax revenue, employers need to know precisely how many days per year their business travelers and short-term employees are situated in which locations, both domestically and internationally. It is critical to manage not only their presence, but their remuneration. Consider whether they should be on regular expense-reimbursement programs or set up in serviced flats with cost-effective per diem expenses.
  8. Consider “local plus” as a compensation program Are some of your expatriates locally hired foreigners or directly hired on one-way or indefinite assignments? If so, a “local plus” compensation package (adding a handful of allowances to local salaries) may be more appropriate than a traditional home balance sheet package premised on maintaining home country ties. Local-plus adjustments may be particularly appropriate in Asia, where this approach has gained traction in recent years.
  9. Localize when ties to a “home” country are loose It may make sense to hire locally rather than to send an expatriate from a home country depending on the country, the expatriate’s role and purpose, and talent availability. Or you may be able to “localize” existing expatriated employees by aligning their compensation and benefits package with local market levels. Look critically at the duration of your longer-term expatriates’ tenure in their host countries – if they have been in-country for five or more years, it may be time to consider localizing them.
  10. Tweak index-based allowances Re-examine assumptions made when computing cost-of-living allowances and hardship premiums based on differences between home and host locations. Most cost-of-living indexes embed assumptions about employees’ familiarity with host location spending patterns. Changing those indices can be both cost-effective and realistic. In an increasingly global economy with younger workers, you may be able to reduce them over time. Note: The 10 resolutions reflect considerations that are applicable to many multinational employers generally, but should not be deemed to be advice to any specific employer or with respect to any particular set of circumstances. Employers interested in reviewing their global mobility program should seek the advice of a qualified consultant.
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Ovum Predicts Mobile First, Mobile Enterprise Apps, And Corporate Mobility Policies To Be Top Of The CIO Agenda In 2014

Enterprise mobility will continue to be one of the hottest topics in IT, and high on the list of priorities for all CIOs, according to Ovum’s Enterprise Mobility 2014 Trends-to-Watch report.

Consumerization (i.e. the impact of technology designed first and foremost for consumers) has driven the enterprise mobility market over the last few years, and Ovum has identified the three major trends in mobile consumerization that will have the biggest impact on businesses in 2014.

Enterprise Mobility 2014 Trends-to-Watch:

Businesses will need to provide a strong multi-screen, multi-channel experience for customers and employees, as mobile devices increasingly become the first point of contact between a business and its customers (B2C), suppliers (B2B), and employees. Organisations will need to provide a slick user experience (UX) for every aspect of the business, from marketing, advertising, promotion, and sales through to internal processes, and whether the stakeholder is using a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Getting this right can be a complicated task and will require a strong focus on UX, both during the app development process and in terms of providing a corporate network with the capacity to deal with all the mobile devices demanding access to it.

Businesses will address the drivers of BYOD with their new comprehensive corporate mobility policies. Businesses are already responding to BYOD with CYOD (choose your own device) or COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled) strategies – in which employees are given a choice of devices to use by their employer and may also be permitted to use them personal purposes – and we expect to see more of this in 2014. We also expect to see an increasing number of vertical or role-based mobility programs with strict corporate policies that specify mobile devices and applications (e.g. tablets provided to airline pilots).

Apps will drive the next phase in the evolution of enterprise mobility, creating new ways of working, and transforming existing business processes. In 2014, enterprise mobile apps will become a core part of the enterprise IT application stack. This will create challenges for the enterprise such as getting the UX right and enabling tight integration with internal systems. It also provides a big opportunity for app developers, systems integrators, and mobility management vendors. Enterprise mobility is moving away from a pure mobility or device problem to an IT corporate management problem, with secure access, content, application, and BI implications.

Enterprise mobility programs will extend beyond being pure connectivity and device issues for IT and business decision-makers. For organizations that already have a mobility strategy in place, the next phase will be to start mobilizing as many internal processes as possible to allow workers to perform their core tasks (beyond email) from whichever device they have to hand, from wherever they are.

Richard Absalom, senior analyst of Enterprise Mobility, at Ovum, says: “As businesses adapt to increasing consumerization and extend the range of tools and applications available to employees on all devices, enterprises and supply-side vendors alike need to be prepared for these developing trends: businesses in order to realize the full business benefits of mobile working, and vendors in order to address enterprise demand and remain relevant in a crowded, highly competitive market.”

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Cambodia Travel Advice Warnings News: Protests in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap December 2013

105,000 British nationals visited Cambodia in 2012. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Cambodia.

In mid-September 2013 a mass opposition protest took place in Phnom Penh and there were some clashes between police and protestors resulting in 1 death and several injuries. A further mass protest took place in Phnom Penh from 23-25 October. The opposition marched to various embassies around the city, including the British Embassy. Small scale protests are ongoing in Phnom Penh and are likely to continue. There have been frequent roadblocks.

In a recent press release, the opposition announced activities to coincide with International Human Rights Day in Siem Reap on 10 December and protests in central Phnom Penh every Sunday from 15 December. You should continue to follow local media and avoid all public gatherings.

There have been a number of security alerts about small explosive devices found around Phnom Penh, the most recent on 13 September outside the National Assembly building.

Recent months have seen wide scale flooding in Cambodia, including in some parts of popular tourist destinations like Phnom Penh, Siem Riep and Battambang.

Flooding has subsided but you should continue to check the state of the roads and airport access before you travel and allow extra time for journeys if needed.

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International SOS And China National Petroleum Corporation Establish Strategic Partnership

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and International SOS have confirmed their partnership by signing a Global Strategic Partnership Framework.

This partnership dates back to 2000, when International SOS provided global medical and security assistance support to BGP, one of CNPC’s subsidiaries. Since then, both parties have continued to explore collaboration opportunities within the CNPC Group and other subsidiaries. International SOS currently provides CNPC Group and its subsidiaries with world-class medical and travel security support in over 30 medical staffing projects across 12 countries.

Mr. Zhang Xin, General Manager of the Foreign Affairs Department of CNPC received a delegation led by Mr. Laurent Sabourin, Group Managing Director of International SOS. The signing ceremony took place at CNPC’s global headquarters in Beijing, China. Mr. Zhang Xin and Mr. John Williams, International SOS Managing Director of China, were present to sign the framework. Mr. Zhang and Mr. Sabourin discussed how both parties can strengthen this partnership further.

By signing the new framework, they confirmed their commitment to forming a stronger global collaboration where International SOS will provide comprehensive medical and security support to CNPC’s expatriates and international travellers.

As China’s leading oil and gas company, CNPC is continuously expanding its global operations and now has a presence in over 70 countries. Many are in extremely challenging regions where medical and security support is inadequate. The wellbeing of its employees has always been CNPC’s top priority. This framework further demonstrates CNPC’s commitment to provide Duty of Care to its employees. As well as support in medical and security emergencies, CNPC will also work with International SOS to provide preventative medical support, as well as pre-travel medical and security awareness training to its employees.

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Holidaymakers Reveal Their Car Hire Concerns

Vehicle hire and travel insurance specialist Questor Insurance highlights research which reveals travellers’ most common car hire concerns, and their motivations for hiring a car on their annual holidays.

With recent figures revealing that soaring temperatures in the UK have meant that a fifth of holidaymakers will be heading to foreign shores this month for the first time this year* autumn could prove to be a busy season for Brits hiring a car abroad. A survey of 5,300 people** offered insight into holidaymakers’ key concerns when hiring a car for their overseas trip, with almost two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed arguing that they were worried about extra charges, while just over half (51%) believed that they would be charged for extra services or products by rental companies.

Some of these concerns are founded as a Mail Online investigation conducted earlier in the year revealed that drivers hiring a car on holiday could be hit with more than £500 in car hire extras***. This included charges attached to anything from hiring a sat nav and putting a child car seat in place to paying for extra insurance.

Commenting Questor Insurance CEO Andrew Lawrence, said: “Heading away on holiday can already present a large expense for both individuals and families, from the cost of hiring a villa to the cost of keeping the little ones entertained while you’re away. “If you are planning to hire a car as part of your trip, taking out car hire excess insurance in advance, means that you can feel safe in the knowledge that the excess charges in your insurance are met to a pre-specified limit. “In addition, you may stand to make savings on the cost of your excess insurance, as buying from a third party provider in advance rather than from the car hire company when picking up the rental vehicle is generally considered to be cheaper.”

The research also revealed that despite some concerns, travellers also felt that there were numerous advantages to hiring a car on holiday, with 73% arguing that it gave them more freedom on holiday.

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Travel Advice and Warnings Italy: Large Demonstrations Are Expected To Take Place In Rome On 18 And 19 October

Over 2.5 million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Large demonstrations are expected to take place in Rome on 18 and 19 October. You should take extra care and avoid all demonstrations.

Local public transport strikes may affect travel at short notice.

If you are visiting a ski resort you should take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel and familiarise yourself with local skiing laws and regulations. 

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