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International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) is the ultimate Health and Medical Insurance Digital Media serving expatriate, corporate, health and travel insurance markets. Due to the nomadic nature of the international healthcare industry iPMI Magazine is an internet based news service, for worldwide healthcare professionals, who need to understand the impacts of healthcare and insurance policy, regulatory, and legislative developments. Combined with in depth health insurance industry analysis, best-in-class health insurance industry data, and exclusive, C-Suite Executive health insurance interviews and round tables, iPMI Magazine bridges an information gap between healthcare payor, provider and patient. Written by the health and medical insurance industry, for the health and medical insurance industry, iPMIM is supported and designed by leading international medical insurance companies and service providers.

Website URL: http://ipmimagazine.com

Airlines & Airports Issue Stark Warning To European PMs On Inconsistent Approach To Travel Restrictions

Europe’s airline and airport associations have written to Prime Ministers, Transport, Health and Home Affairs Ministers across the European Union, Schengen and the UK, setting out deep concerns over their failure to implement coherent and science-based approaches to travel restrictions.

The letter, sent jointly from Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE), Airlines for Europe (A4E) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is highly critical of the introduction of new restrictions relating to selected countries. Many of these restrictions, state the organisations, are inconsistent with the principles laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The aviation sector has been dealt a crippling economic blow by the pandemic. Despite repeated calls for a science-based, harmonised and coordinated approach to new restrictions – differing national approaches have emerged. Some of these unilateral national measures are contrary to expert guidance and further damage consumer confidence. Moreover, the imposition of such restrictions fails to take into account other options governments have to protect their citizens, such as effective track-and-trace systems.

“The European Aviation sector is urging EU/Schengen States and the UK to reconsider restrictions to travel that have been imposed between them – including quarantines”, state the three associations in the letter. “We fail to see any valid science-based and proportionate justification for such restrictions from a health policy perspective”.

The aviation associations assert that renewed efforts must be urgently put into:

  • Effectively co-ordinating and aligning responses to the evolving epidemiological situation at EU level and in close co-operation with the UK, to be addressed urgently and jointly by home affairs, transport and health ministries and the European Commission;
  • Re-enforcing the principle of risk-based and proportionate measures – localising restrictions and NOT imposing blanket country bans, with quarantine used as a very last resport – following ECDC guidance;
  • Ensuring the interoperabiliy of contact tracing apps, as none of the existing apps are interoperable;
  • A harmonised implementation of the EASA/ECDC and ICAO Take-Off Aviation Health Safety Protocols;
  • Informing the public accordingly and in close cooperation with the travel and tourism industries.

Dr. Neil Crooks Appointed As New UK Medical Director At Air Alliance

Air Alliance Medflight is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Neil Crooks as UK Medical Director.

Neil brings with him a wealth of experience in the aeromedical sector having worked as Deputy Medical Director for Air Alliance for 4 years and previously at Air Medical Ltd as well as undertaking commercial medical escort transfers for over 14 years.

Neil is a consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia based at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

 “I am really looking forward to becoming more involved in the development of Air Alliance’s medical capabilities” says Neil. “We are in a unique position having a multi-national medical ops capability which we are continuing to integrate, giving us increased flexibility and resilience at a time of uncertainty with COVID-19”.

Neil will support Group Medical Director Dr Gert Muurling in the continued growth and development of the medical department, and in the management and of the 1,000 air ambulance transfers, undertaken by Air Alliance each year.

This appointment comes following the retirement of Dr Jonathon Warwick from the aeromedical industry. Jon played a key role in the development of the UK air ambulance industry over many years and will be sorely missed by all.

iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory August 2020

The August 2020 edition of the iPMI Magazine Provider Network e-Directory is out now, featuring over 70 pages of international private medical insurance and assistance company intelligence.

The iPMI Magazine network consists of a wide range of leading international medical payors and service providers, on call, 24/7 to assist you manage worldwide medical risks during a global pandemic.

The international medical network covers all sectors of the global medical insurance business, and you can use the directory to source new partners and service providers. Simply use the the contact details within the network directory to connect with new partners and customers. 

IPMI Market Network Sectors: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management and Pharmacy Benefits Management.

    Enter full screen click the small rectangle above ↑

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on international private medical insurance payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

Classifications include: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management and Pharmacy Benefits Management.

Current Advertisers 

Click a company name below to visit their micro web site on iPMIM and learn more or download the brand new e-directory using the above link. To add your business to the e-directory and launch a micro website please write to David Bond, CIO, iPMIM on ipmi[at]ipmimagazine.com

PAYORS AND PROVIDERS IN FOCUS:

IPMI

ASSISTANCE

AIR AMBULANCE

COST CONTAINMENT AND CLAIMS MANAGEMENT

FUNERAL DIRECTORS

HEALTHCARE INSURANCE MANAGEMENT

PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGEMENT

 

 

UnitedHealthcare Named Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand

For over 40 years, UnitedHealthcare has focused on connecting people to better health by building health plans and innovative programs for all ages and stages of life.

For the first time, the company is being recognized by Kantar BrandZ as a Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand, coming in at No. 86 on the 2020 list. This follows last year’s recognition ranking the company as a top 100 U.S. brand

Kantar arrives at brand value with a combination of brand health metrics and financial data from Bloomberg. For the first time, they expanded the insurance category for their global list to include health insurance. Within the global insurance category, UnitedHealthcare ranked No. 4, which is the strongest placement for a U.S. brand. 

UnitedHealthcare is committed to helping people across the globe access the care they need, with member well-being at the center of their mission. They offer integrated health benefits that combine medical and specialty plans like dental, hearing and vision which address whole-person health, and helps contribute to each individual’s well-being. 

Through the global pandemic, the company has proven its resilience and ability to innovate quickly — addressing urgent health care needs with expanded benefits and cost-share waivers to help people get the care they need across the globe, even from the comfort of their home.

The company’s focus on bringing relevant health plans to market is among a primary reason for the recognition, along with the continued commitment to building a trusted and relevant consumer-centric brand. Focused storytelling and educational outreach have significantly increased awareness, consideration and affinity for UnitedHealthcare among consumers.  

As a result, the UnitedHealthcare brand is more meaningful and differentiated among both consumers and the employees who work each day to help people live healthier lives and to help make the health system work better for everyone.

Janette Hiscock, CEO of Global Solutions, Europe, UnitedHealthcare Global Has commented on this announcement saying, “I am delighted that UnitedHealthcare has been recognised in this global list. To have the company listed globally recognises our continued expansion. We look forward to building upon this success to help serve more people and fulfil our mission of helping globally mobile populations thrive.”

RELATED READING: iPMI Magazine Speaks With Janette Hiscock, CEO Of Global Solutions Europe, United Healthcare Global

APRIL International Care Announces Raft Of Enhancements To International Health Insurance Range MyHEALTH Singapore

APRIL International Care has announced significant improvements to its MyHEALTH Singapore private international health insurance policy range, in particular to its "Elite" module. The changes will take effect from 1 August 2020.

The annual cover limit for the Elite module clients for in-hospital care has been increased from $4.5 million to $6 million, whilst the out of area cover has also been increased from $150,000 to $250.000 for those holding the worldwide ex USA cover options. (Amounts in Singapore dollars).

Another innovative introduction is the adult and child preventative health screening service which is particularly relevant in current climate, tapping into the view that early diagnosis is increasingly important for many healthcare issues.

New preventative screening benefits for adults mean the first $300 of any test is also now covered, whether the client has purchased inpatient or outpatient cover. Typical tests which can now be undertaken within APRIL International Care's network of 1200 local facilities include Pap smear testing, mammography and prostate screening.

Commenting on the introducing of the new enhancements, Regional Head of Business Development Alistair Dickman said, "With these changes, our Elite policy now offers a blend of premium benefits and competitive pricing, which we believe makes APRIL International Care a very attractive choice. At the same time, our extended benefits package reflects the fact that we are learning more and more how important it is to stay ahead of the game when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. For many conditions now, early diagnosis brings genuine benefits and faster recovery times. This new benefit opens up that possibility for many of our clients. In the long term too, it is in all our interests to diagnose and treat early, as it can cost far less, which in turn helps us to keep premiums lower."

APRIL International Care are specialists in designing and delivering flexible international private health insurance solutions for individuals, families and companies. For more information, contact APRIL International Care, or visit www.april-international.com.

Oman Insurance Company Completes 100% Acquisition Of Dubai Starr Sigorta

Oman Insurance Company has completed 100% acquisition of its subsidiary, Dubai Starr Sigorta A.S.by obtaining additional 49% of issued and outstanding share capital.

In 2012, Oman Insurance Company bought 51% stake in Dubai Starr Sigorta which was an auto agency based in Istanbul, Turkey with operations in Ankara, Izmir and Bursa.

The company, under the new management set about building a strategy focused on Corporate Commercial Lines Business to serve the interests of the growing construction, property and casualty market in Turkey. Dubai Starr Sigorta focused on building strong underwriting and service capabilities with the support of Oman Insurance Company’s extensive product and brand depth.

With an expert management team having both local and international experience, it has become a well-known, preferred insurance solution provider for the local market especially in Construction and Liability sectors.

Dubai Starr Sigorta remains a successful niche commercial insurer with steady year-on-year growth in premium and underwriting profits. This move further strengthens Oman Insurance Company’s geographical diversification along with its strong presence in the UAE and Oman.

The acquisition further bridges an opportunity to reach and explore European markets. Oman Insurance Company’s senior management has expressed full confidence in Dubai Starr Sigorta’s future growth and the dedication of its staff and management to realize strategic goals.

Oman Insurance Company (P.S.C.) was established in 1975 and is one of the leading insurance providers in the Middle East. Oman Insurance Company has operations across Emirates in the UAE Oman and a subsidiary in Turkey. Oman Insurance provides a wide range of insurance solutions for individuals and enterprises in Life, Medical and General insurance

Recovery Delayed As International Travel Remains Locked Down

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released an updated global passenger forecast showing that the recovery in traffic has been slower than had been expected.

In the base case scenario:

  • Global passenger traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected.
  • The recovery in short haul travel is still expected to happen faster than for long haul travel. As a result, passenger numbers will recover faster than traffic measured in RPKs. Recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels, however, will also slide by a year from 2022 to 2023. For 2020, global passenger numbers (enplanements) are expected to decline by 55% compared to 2019, worsened from the April forecast of 46%.

June 2020 passenger traffic foreshadowed the slower-than-expected recovery. Traffic, measures in RPK, fell 86.5% compared to the year-ago period. That is only slightly improved from a 91.0% contraction in May. This was driven by rising demand in domestic markets, particularly China. The June load factor set an all-time low for the month at 57.6%.

The more pessimistic recovery outlook is based on a number of recent trends:

  • Slow virus containment in the US and developing economies: Although developed economies outside of the US have been largely successful in containing the spread of the virus, renewed outbreaks have occurred in these economies, and in China. Furthermore there is little sign of virus containment in many important emerging economies, which in combination with the US, represent around 40% of global air travel markets. Their continued closure, particularly to international travel, is a significant drag on recovery.
  • Reduced corporate travel: Corporate travel budgets are expected to be very constrained as companies continue to be under financial pressure even as the economy improves. In addition, while historically GDP growth and air travel have been highly correlated, surveys suggest this link has weakened, particularly with regard to business travel, as video conferencing appears to have made significant inroads as a substitute for in-person meetings.
  • Weak consumer confidence: While pent-up demand exists for VFR (visiting friends and relatives) and leisure travel, consumer confidence is weak in the face of concerns over job security and rising unemployment, as well as risks of catching COVID-19. Some 55% of respondents to IATA’s June passenger survey don’t plan to travel in 2020.

Owing to these factors, IATA’s revised baseline forecast is for global enplanements to fall 55% in 2020 compared to 2019 (the April forecast was for a 46% decline). Passenger numbers are expected to rise 62% in 2021 off the depressed 2020 base, but still will be down almost 30% compared to 2019. A full recovery to 2019 levels is not expected until 2023, one year later than previously forecast.

Meanwhile, since domestic markets are opening ahead of international markets, and because passengers appear to prefer short haul travel in the current environment, RPKs will recover more slowly, with passenger traffic expected to return to 2019 levels in 2024, one year later than previously forecast. Scientific advances in fighting COVID-19 including development of a successful vaccine, could allow a faster recovery. However, at present there appears to be more downside risk than upside to the baseline forecast.

“Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak. What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed. Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travelers returning from Spain. And in many parts of the world infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“For airlines, this is bad news that points to the need for governments to continue with relief measures—financial and otherwise. A full Northern Winter season waiver on the 80-20 use-it-or-lose it slot rule, for example, would provide critical relief to airlines in planning schedules amid unpredictable demand patterns. Airlines are planning their schedules. They need to keep sharply focused on meeting demand and not meeting slot rules that were never meant to accommodate the sharp fluctuations of a crisis. The earlier we know the slot rules the better, but we are still waiting for governments in key markets to confirm a waiver,” said de Juniac.

June 2020 Performance

JUNE 2020 (% YEAR-ON-YEAR) WORLD SHARE1 RPK ASK PLF (%-PT)​2 PLF (LEVEL)​3
Total Market
100.0%
-86.5%
-80.1%
-26.8%
57.6%
Africa
2.1%
-96.5%
-84.5%
-54.9%
16.2%
Asia Pacific
34.6%
-74.4%
-69.6%
-18.5%
63.8%
Europe
26.8%
-93.7%
-90.0%
-31.9%
55.5%
Latin America
5.1%
-91.2%
-89.0%
-16.7%
66.6%
Middle East
9.1%
-95.5%
-90.4%
-40.7%
35.7%
North America
22.3%
-86.3%
-76.9%
-36.5%
52.4%

1) % of industry RPKs in 2019     2) Year-on-year change in load factor     3) Load Factor Level

International Passenger Markets

June international traffic shrank by 96.8% compared to June 2019, only slightly improved over a 98.3% decline in May, year-over-year. Capacity fell 93.2% and load factor contracted 44.7 percentage points to 38.9%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ June traffic plummeted 97.1% compared to the year-ago period, little improved from the 98.1% decline in May. Capacity fell 93.4% and load factor shrank 45.8 percentage points to 35.6%.

European carriers saw demand topple 96.7% in June versus a year ago, compared to a 98.7% decline in May. Capacity dropped 94.4% and load factor lessened 35.7 percentage points to 52.0%.

Middle Eastern airlines traffic collapsed 96.1% for June against June 2019, compared with a 97.7% demand drop in May. Capacity contracted 91.1%, and load factor crumbled to 33.3%, down 43.1% compared to a year ago. 

North American carriers had a 97.2% traffic decline in June, barely improved from a 98.3% decline in May. Capacity fell 92.8%, and load factor dropped 53.8 percentage points to 34.1%.

Latin American airlines suffered a 96.6% demand drop in June compared to the same month last year, from a 98.1% drop in May. Capacity fell 95.7% and load factor sagged 17.7 percentage points to 66.2%, which was the highest among the regions.

African airlines’ traffic sank 98.1% in June, little changed from a 98.6% demand drop in May. Capacity contracted 84.5%, and load factor dived 62.1 percentage points to just 8.9% of seats filled, lowest among regions.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic traffic demand fell 67.6% in June, improved from a 78.4% decline in May. Capacity fell 55.9% and load factor dropped 22.8 percentage points to 62.9%.

JUNE 2020 (% YEAR-ON-YEAR) WORLD SHARE1 RPK ASK PLF (%-PT)​2 PLF (LEVEL)​3
Domestic
36.2%
-67.6%
-55.9%
-22.8%
62.9%
Australia
0.8%
-93.8%
-89.1%
-33.8%
44.4%
Brazil
1.1%
-84.7%
-83.3%
-7.1%
74.7%
China P.R.
9.8%
-35.5%
-21.3%
-15.2%
69.5%
Japan
1.1%
-74.9%
-63.4%
-22.4%
48.8%
Russian Fed.
1.5%
-58.0%
-36.4%
-28.9%
56.4%
US
14.0%
-80.1%
-67.4%
-34.9%
54.7%

1) % of industry RPKs in 2019     2) Year-on-year change in load factor     3) Load Factor Level

China’s carriers continued to lead the recovery, with traffic down 35.5% in June compared to the year-ago period, raised from a 46.3% decline in May.

Japan’s airlines saw improved domestic demand after the state of COVID-19 emergency was lifted in late May. Domestic RPKs fell by 74.9% year-on-year in June, compared with around 90% annual declines in the previous two months.

The Bottom Line

Domestic traffic improvements notwithstanding, international traffic, which in normal times accounts for close to two-thirds of global air travel, remains virtually non-existent. Most countries are still closed to international arrivals or have imposed quarantines, that have the same effect as an outright lockdown. Summer — our industry’s busiest season — is passing by rapidly; with little chance for an upswing in international air travel unless governments move quickly and decisively to find alternatives to border closures, confidence-destroying stop-start re-openings and demand-killing quarantine,” said de Juniac.

IATA urges governments to implement a layer of measures including the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) global guidelines for restoring air connectivity contained in ICAO’s Takeoff: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis. IATA also sees potential for accurate, fast, scalable and affordable testing measures and comprehensive contact tracing to play a role in managing the risk of virus spread while re-connecting economies and re-starting travel and tourism. “We need to learn to manage the risks of living with COVID-19 with targeted and predictable measures that will safely re-build traveler confidence and shattered economies,” said de Juniac.

Online GPs Could Save Employers £1.5 Billion In Lost Working Time

From banking and shopping to business and healthcare, our daily experiences are increasingly digital - and this has been accelerated all the more by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Digital health: the changing landscape of how we access GP services explores the scope for GPs to further embrace digitally delivered care. Whilst the pandemic has highlighted the commitment of those working in the healthcare sector, it also enables us to look at how innovation can better support patient demand. 

This AXA PPP healthcare report combines their own research with findings from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), to look at how offering online consultations not only benefits the healthcare sector, but also businesses and patients.

The findings show that UK businesses could have saved up to £1.5 billion annually in lost working time, had employees seen a GP via video or phone, rather than face-to-face in 2019. What’s more, patients could have seen a positive impact on their own wellbeing: 38% said they’d feel much better mentally as a result of the speed and ease of access of speaking to an online GP1.

Tracy Garrad, CEO at AXA PPP Healthcare commented on LinkedIn, "The coronavirus pandemic has shone a whole new light on how we access the products, services and support that help keep our every-day lives on an even keel.

It’s brought into sharp focus the dedication of those who work in health and care.

And, it has also highlighted the pressure faced by frontline workers, raising questions around how we meet this challenge – both now and in the future.

This is a complex issue, there’s no hiding from that. But there’s the real prospect that digital technologies could play a significant role in helping to ease this pressure, particularly in the world of general practice. 

The ability to do virtual GP consultations by phone or video isn’t a new concept by any means. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a greater use of digital health services. However, outside of this current surge, the potential for online GP services to play a greater role in meeting people’s healthcare needs has been vastly unrealised.

Offering remote consultations as a first point of call in general practice, for example, could help increase practise capacity by reserving face-to-face consultations for those identified as needing them.

Here at AXA PPP healthcare we’ve just published a new report – Digital health: the changing landscape of how we access GP services – which explores the benefits to the healthcare sector and business of remote GP consultations.

Working with economic forecasting analyst, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), we’ve found that, if remote appointments had been offered as the first point of contact across all public GP practices in 2019, face-to-face consultations could have been reduced by 50 million. 

There are also clear benefits to businesses too. Remote GP appointments reduce the amount of time employees need to be out of the office to attend their GP’s practice, minimising journey and waiting times. Our findings reveal that UK businesses could have avoided £1.5 billion in lost working time in 2019 if, instead of attending face-to-face GP appointments, workers who needed to see a GP had used a remote (online or telephone) service.

Digital technology already touches so many areas of our lives, giving us speed of access and greater convenience that supports how we live our lives today. It’s now time to expand the digital horizon and realise the benefits this can bring to health and care – both for patients and business."

You can download the report here.

1. AXA PPP healthcare conducted omnibus research through 3Gem research between 13-17 February 2020, polling 2,000 UK adults (aged 18+), weighted to be nationally representative.

Traveler Survey Reveals COVID-19 Concerns

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released public opinion research showing the willingness to travel being tempered by concerns over the risks of catching COVID-19 during air travel. The industry’s re-start plans address passenger’s main concerns.

Concerns for Travel During COVID-19

Travelers are taking precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 with 77% saying that they are washing their hands more frequently, 71% avoiding large meetings and 67% having worn a facemask in public. Some 58% of those surveyed said that they have avoided air travel, with 33% suggesting that they will avoid travel in future as a continued measure to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.

Travelers identified their top three concerns as follows:

At the airport
On board Aircraft
1. Being in a crowded bus/train on the way to the aircraft (59%)
1. Sitting next to someone who might be infected (65%)
2. Queuing at check-in/security/border control or boarding (42%)
2. Using restrooms/toilet facilities (42%)
3. Using airport restrooms/toilet facilities (38%)
3. Breathing the air on the plane (37%)

When asked to rank the top three measures that would make them feel safer, 37% cited COVID-19 screening at departure airports, 34% agreed with mandatory wearing of facemasks and 33% noted social distancing measures on aircraft.

Passengers themselves displayed a willingness to play a role in keeping flying safe by:

  1. Undergoing temperature checks (43%)
  2. Wearing a mask during travel (42%)
  3. Checking-in online to minimize interactions at the airport (40%)
  4. Taking a COVID-19 test prior to travel (39%)
  5. Sanitizing their seating area (38%).

“People are clearly concerned about COVID-19 when traveling. But they are also reassured by the practical measures being introduced by governments and the industry under the Take-off guidance developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These include mask-wearing, the introduction of contactless technology in travel processes and screening measures. This tells us that we are on the right track to restoring confidence in travel. But it will take time. To have maximum effect, it is critical that governments deploy these measures globally,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The survey also pointed to some key issues in restoring confidence where the industry will need to communicate the facts more effectively. Travelers’ top on board concerns include:

Cabin air quality: Travelers have not made up their minds about cabin air quality. While 57% of travelers believed that air quality is dangerous, 55% also responded that they understood that it was as clean as the air in a hospital operating theatre. The quality of air in modern aircraft is, in fact, far better than most other enclosed environments. It is exchanged with fresh air every 2-3 minutes, whereas the air in most office buildings is exchanged 2-3 times per hour. Moreover, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters capture well over 99.999% of germs, including the Coronavirus.

Social distancing: Governments advise to wear a mask (or face covering) when social distancing is not possible, as is the case with public transport. This aligns with the expert ICAO Take-off guidance. Additionally, while passengers are sitting in close proximity on board, the cabin air flow is from ceiling to floor. This limits the potential spread of viruses or germs backwards or forwards in the cabin. There are several other natural barriers to the transmission of the virus on board, including the forward orientation of passengers (limiting face-to-face interaction), seatbacks that limit transmission from row-to-row, and the limited movement of passengers in the cabin.

There is no requirement for social distancing measures on board the aircraft from highly respected aviation authorities such as the US Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency or ICAO.

“It is no secret that passengers have concerns about the risk of transmission onboard. They should be reassured by the many built-in anti-virus features of the air flow system and forward-facing seating arrangements. On top of this, screening before flight and facial coverings are among the extra layers of protection that are being implemented by industry and governments on the advice of ICAO and the World Health Organization. No environment is risk free, but few environments are as controlled as the aircraft cabin. And we need to make sure that travelers understand that,” said de Juniac.

No Quick Solution

While nearly half of those surveyed (45%) indicated the they would return to travel within a few months of the pandemic subsiding, this is a significant drop from the 61% recorded in the April survey. Overall, the survey results demonstrate that people have not lost their taste for travel, but there are blockers to returning to pre-crisis levels of travel:

  • A majority of travelers surveyed plan to return to travel to see family and friends (57%), to vacation (56%) or to do business (55%) as soon as possible after the pandemic subsides.
  • But, 66% said that they would travel less for leisure and business in the post-pandemic world.
  • And 64% indicated that they would postpone travel until economic factors improved (personal and broader).

“This crisis could have a very long shadow. Passengers are telling us that it will take time before they return to their old travel habits. Many airlines are not planning for demand to return to 2019 levels until 2023 or 2024. Numerous governments have responded with financial lifelines and other relief measures at the height of the crisis. As some parts of the world are starting the long road to recovery, it is critical that governments stay engaged. Continued relief measures like alleviation from use-it-or-lose it slot rules, reduced taxes or cost reduction measures will be critical for some time to come,” said de Juniac.

One of the biggest blockers to industry recovery is quarantine. Some 85% of travelers reported concern for being quarantined while traveling, a similar level of concern to those reporting general concern for catching the virus when traveling (84%). And, among the measures that travelers were willing to take in adapting to travel during or after the pandemic, only 17% reported that they were will willing to undergo quarantine.

“Quarantine is a demand killer. Keeping borders closed prolongs the pain by causing economic hardship well beyond airlines. If governments want to re-start their tourism sectors, alternative risk-based measures are needed. Many are built into the ICAO Take-off guidelines, like health screening before departure to discourage symptomatic people from traveling. Airlines are helping this effort with flexible rebooking policies. In these last days we have seen the UK and the EU announce risk-based calculations for opening their borders. And other countries have chosen testing options. Where there is a will to open up, there are ways to do it responsibly,” said de Juniac.

The Survey

The 11-country survey, which was conducted during the first week of June 2020, assessed traveler concerns during the pandemic and the potential timelines for their return to travel. This is the third wave of the survey, with previous waves conducted at the end of February and the beginning of April. All those surveyed had taken at least one flight since July 2019.

VIDEO: Health, Wellbeing And Family All Move Up The Priority List For Those Working Abroad Post COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 has led to a shift in values for many in the expat community, with 62% saying their future plans have been impacted as a result of the pandemic.

Of those, 53% claim that health and wellbeing is now a greater priority for them and 48% say that family is a bigger priority now than it was before COVID-19. The majority (73%) say that the health and wellbeing of their family is now a crucial consideration in deciding whether to stay abroad or move back home. That's according to new research conducted by Ipsos MRBI, on behalf of Allianz Care, the international health brand of Allianz Partners.

When it comes to the reasons for originally moving abroad, almost half (49%) say financial gain is a primary driver for moving abroad, however it's the pursuit of a better quality of life, health and wellbeing that's key for the majority. 46% moved abroad for personal development, while 40% made the move in search of a better work/life balance.

The research was carried out amongst people living and working in the UK, France, Canada, UAE and Singapore, having been born and educated elsewhere. It explored the impact that COVID-19 has had on them and their families, who the 'expat' of 2020 is and what challenges they're facing.

Most (71%) of those surveyed had moved abroad with their family, with half (51%) of all respondents living in their new country with their children. The results are largely positive, with nearly two-thirds (65%) saying that living abroad has had a positive impact on their family's overall health. 22% put this down to being able to achieve a better quality of life (22%) while 21% said it was due to the ability to access to better health and wellbeing services (21%).

The pursuit of a good work-life balance is a key influencing factor for 70% of expats in terms of deciding whether to stay abroad or move home. Among that number, three in five respondents (60%) say they have a better work-life balance living abroad than they had at home. That figure rises to 72% in Canada and 71% in the UAE, although over a quarter (26%) of those living in Singapore found the work-life balance to be worse there.

While most of those surveyed felt that they had access to better quality healthcare and services while living abroad, contributing to the positive impact on overall health, there were regional disparities. While 72% in Singapore, 67% in UAE, 62% in France and 58% in Canada found services better than in their home country, 23% of those living in the UK said they found the quality of health and wellbeing services there worse than in their native country.

From expat to global citizen

While the term 'expat' is still the most popular one that people identify with in 2020 to describe people living and working in a country other than their native one, preferences are changing and differ significantly from country to country. This community no longer refer to themselves solely as 'expats' preferring to use terms such as 'global citizen', 'immigrant' or 'international worker'.

In the UAE, a region traditionally associated with 'expats', the term is still widely used by more than three-quarters of people in this category (76%). But that figure falls to 35% in Singapore, under a quarter in the UK (24%) and France (23%) and just 11% in Canada. In these countries, the term 'global citizen' is more widely used today, at 48% in the UK, 33% in France, 29% in Singapore and 26% in Canada.

Speaking about the research findings, Paula Covey, Allianz Partners Chief Marketing Officer for Health said: "2020 has been a life-changing year for many of us across the world as we deal with the implications of COVID-19. Massive lifestyle changes have been forced on us almost overnight, which in turn have forced us to re-assess how we live our lives and re-evaluate what's truly important. The same is absolutely true for the 'expat' community who are living and working across the globe. This comes across strongly in the increasing prioritisation of health and family.

"We're also seeing a shift in terms of the life plans of these people. In the past, 'expat' assignments tended to be highly paid and were often short-term, but our research has shown that this community is now taking a more long-term view of life abroad. 76% said they had changed job since moving to their new country, 59% have bought a home and 58% said they plan to stay in their adopted country long-term. It's an interesting trend to watch for employers, who are starting to move away from the traditional expat assignment model and towards more local recruitment in each market.

"This research is extremely useful for Allianz Care, to understand the challenges and considerations facing this global community in a post-COVID world. It tells us where we can support in terms of tools, guidance and information. It's unsurprising that distance from friends and family is cited as the main challenge of living abroad (47%), followed by the weather (39%) and cultural differences for 33% of respondents. We can't change a country's climate, but we can put services in place to support people's mental health when they're dealing with loneliness, missing their friends and family or struggling to adjust. We can also provide support to help people settle into their new home, with guidance on what cultural differences to expect in countries around the world. Listening to our customers means we can constantly adapt our services and offerings to meet ever-evolving healthcare needs. The pandemic has shown all of us just how fast things can change."

 

For more information on Allianz Care, visit: www.allianzcare.com.

 

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