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Allianz Worldwide Care Launches Security And Risk Services For Global Employers

The corporate assistance solution has been designed to cater for companies with a globally-mobile base of employees and organisations that operate in high-risk or unstable areas.

The new services include a wide range of tools that offer detailed country risk assessments, pinpoint the geographic location of employees during a crisis, organise ‘meet and greet’ and ‘check-in’ security services when travelling in high-risk locations, and provide detailed cultural awareness programs.

Alexis Obligi, Director of Sales and Marketing at Allianz Worldwide Care, said, “These services are designed to meet the needs of global organisations for whom it’s impossible to predict when and where a crisis might occur. With the ever-present threat of natural disaster, civil unrest or terrorist activity, real-time information about potential risks has never been more important. Our service enhancements are designed to give our clients a comprehensive range of solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of their workers.”

The security features of the service have been reinforced through a new partnership with Red24, a global leader in crisis and risk management. Through this partnership, Allianz offers clients access to a global network of expert security specialists, providing real-time destination risk reports and analysis. This gives organisations a comprehensive overview of the security risks involved when moving or travelling to potentially volatile locations, with full support from a 24/7 emergency assistance team.

The new services reflect the proactive approach Allianz takes to corporate assistance, and involves working closely with clients, including looking at the travel protocols they have in place, reviewing their crisis management plans, ensuring an organisation has comprehensive oversight of employee safety and well-being whilst abroad, and awareness of what support is in place in the event of a medical, travel or security emergency.

Alexis Obligi said, “The newly enhanced services are designed to help organisations pre-emptively mitigate security risks to their business, their employees and their families, wherever they are in the world. Our full range of  corporate assistance and risk management solutions includes a fully integrated health, travel, security, occupational health and employee assistance programme.”


Safety More Important Than Affordability For British Holidaymakers

According to new research by travel deals company Travelzoo, the British have changed their travel habits in 2016.

The study suggests the majority of British people (82%) are still planning to go on one or more holidays this year(1). However, more than two thirds (71%) are now choosing where to go based on how safe they feel the destination is. In fact safety has become the most important factor in travel decisions, ahead of the affordability (52%) and good weather (42%).

Louise Hodges, European Head of Communications at Travelzoo, said, “It’s great to see there’s still an incredibly strong appetite for summer holidays amongst the British public, for both European and longer-haul destinations. The research, however, does echo what our partners in the travel industry have been telling us: although many Britons are still planning to get away this summer, they are now opting for what they perceive to be safe travel destinations, rather than simply chasing the sun, and this in turn is having a direct impact on the countries they are travelling to.”

The UK (27%) has been revealed as the most popular choice of destination for 2016, beating Spain (21%) into second place, and France (10%) into third. The USA and Italy are in equal fourth place, while the top 10 also includes long-haul destinations such as Canada, Australia and the Caribbean (see list of top 10 destinations below).

A number of respondents said their destination choice was impacted by existing travel restrictions – 11% of respondents said if bans to Sharm el Sheikh or Tunisia were lifted they’d travel there immediately, while overall 43% would be willing to travel there at some point in the near future.

Hodges commented, “Despite the attempts of terrorists to disrupt our daily lives it’s great to see the great British public still insisting on their summer holiday. Of course the situation has meant that safety considerations are impacting destination choices and this is affecting prices and availability.”

“Prices are higher to the Western Mediterranean than previous years and availability is undoubtedly lower - as we predicted earlier in the year many holidays there have already sold out. I have spoken with some UK suppliers who have had hotel stock withdrawn by Spanish hoteliers holding out for higher rates. At the other end some of the best deals we have ever seen can be had to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey for those determined not to have their holiday choices disrupted.”

The countries British people have booked or are planning to visit for their main summer holiday in 2016 are:

  • UK (27%)
  • Spain (21%)
  • France (10%)
  • USA (8%)
  • Italy (8%)
  • Greece (7%)
  • Canada (5%)
  • Germany (5%)
  • Portugal (5%)
  • Australia (4%)
  • Caribbean (4%)
  • Cyprus (4%)



AkesoCare Unveils New Corporate Branding

Akeso Care Management® (“AkesoCare”), a URAC-accredited international health care management company, has unveiled new corporate branding to reflect its commitment to clients.

A subsidiary of International Medical Group® (IMG®) — an administrator of global health care benefits — AkesoCare provides worldwide assistance and medical management services, including:

  • Emergency medical evacuations
  • International cost containment and Medical Concierge Service
  • Precertification and medical review
  • Wellness services and disease management
  • International workers compensation
  • Comprehensive case management

“These industry-leading services deserve a brand identity that matches the same commitment and passion shown by AkesoCare staff each day,” IMG CEO Brian Barwick said. “Refreshing the company’s brand will convey an even better sense of purpose to current and future AkesoCare clients.”

The new brand identity includes the revision of the AkesoCare logo, which reflects the company’s strong value proposition.

Now in orange, a combination of yellow and red, the logo evokes a sense of optimism and passion — the same traits AkesoCare employees convey as they coordinate both routine clinical care and emergency medical treatment for their members.

Additionally, the orange arrow in Akeso, a Greek word meaning “to heal or cure,” is the mark of the company’s mission to direct clients to safety, providing nothing less than the best possible medical care they can get.

As part of the rebrand, the company also launched AkesoCare Global, a new service line within AkesoCare focused entirely on providing clients the right care at the right price, globally. Established to decrease overall plan costs, AkesoCare Global uses proactive, concurrent and post-treatment strategies that help members save money and avoid unnecessary health care costs altogether.

AkesoCare Global’s proprietary cost-containment strategy provides more than 30 unique, proven cost avoidance approaches. Thus far, the strategy has demonstrated an average overall savings of 49.3% in the U.S.

“In the U.S. and many other countries, there is often no correlation between the cost and quality of care — with many providers charging bogusly inflated prices at whim,” said Andy Tibbets, vice president of AkesoCare. “AkesoCare Global is the watchdog of escalating costs, ensuring that clients and health care systems as a whole pay a fair price for the services and treatment delivered.”

These cost-containment strategies are just one component of AkesoCare’s commitment to clients. While the company’s services have expanded over the years, its focus remains the same.

“One thing that has never changed is AkesoCare’s focus on the health and well-being of its clients,” IMG President Todd A. Hancock said. “AkesoCare touches lives every day and our new branding reflects our continued commitment to serve and protect our clients.”


Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Completes Acquisition Of IHC Risk Solutions

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has announced it has completed its acquisition of IHC Risk Solutions, LLC from Independence Holding Company (IHC).

With this acquisition, previously announced on 5 January 2016, IHC Risk Solutions will immediately adopt the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions brand. IHC Risk Solutions' former president, Mike Kemp, will lead the North America Accident & Health Business Unit of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions offers innovative, high-quality insurance capacity to mid-sized and large multinational corporations across the globe. Our offerings range from standard risk transfer covers and multi-line programmes, to highly customised solutions tailored to the needs of our clients. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions serves customers from over 50 offices worldwide and is backed by the financial strength of the Swiss Re Group.


Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans For Equatorial Guinea

Allianz Worldwide Care has partnered with Equatorial Guinea Insurance Company (EGICO) to create the most comprehensive group health insurance plans to date for companies employing both domestic and international workers in the country.

The plans offer the first health insurance solution for employers who require dedicated plans for their Equatorial Guinean workers and their international staff. The local plan, Salud GE, offers full domestic coverage within Equatorial Guinea. The international plan, Salud Global GE, offers coverage worldwide, outside of the United States, and is aimed at both Equatorial Guinean employees who may work abroad and expatriate staff living in Equatorial Guinea.

Susan Landers, Head of Market Management at Allianz Worldwide Care said, “Demand for comprehensive health insurance is growing rapidly in Equatorial Guinea and there was a real gap for corporate clients looking to provide their workforce with this benefit. Health insurance is a key factor in an employee benefit package. The comprehensive nature of these new plans, combined with our strong support services, will assist organisations in Equatorial Guinea in attracting and retaining highly-skilled employees.”

The partnership brings together the global reach and expertise of Allianz Worldwide Care and the on-the ground insight and knowledge of EGICO, a respected local provider. Both local employees and expatriates will benefit from a wide range of in-patient and day-care treatments together with in-patient direct settlement, while expatriates will also benefit from access to Allianz Worldwide Care’s extensive global medical network.

Michel Djimadou, CEO of EGICO said, “We’re delighted to have partnered with Allianz Worldwide Care to launch these plans, which were conceived and developed specifically for companies in Equatorial Guinea. When it comes to international health insurance, the options here were extremely limited until now. Currently, there is nothing available in Equatorial Guinea that is comparable to our partnership with Allianz Worldwide Care for local employees or expatriates.”



Citigroup Transfers Coinsurance Agreement With Primerica To Swiss Re

Citigroup has announced that a subsidiary of Swiss Re Life & Health America Inc. (“Swiss Re”), replaced Prime Reinsurance Company, Inc. (“Prime Re”) as Primerica Life Insurance Company’s reinsurer on a coinsurance agreement covering a block of term life insurance policies that were in force on December 18, 2009. 

The transaction closed today and resulted in a reduction of approximately $2.5 billion of assets from Citi Holdings’ balance sheet. Prime Re, a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., is reported by Citigroup as a part of Citi Holdings, which consists of businesses and portfolios of assets that Citigroup has determined are not central to its core franchise.

The coinsurance agreement represented the majority of Citigroup’s remaining reinsurance activities with Primerica, Inc. (“Primerica”) following Primerica’s initial public offering and ultimate separation from Citigroup. Following the transaction, Primerica Life Insurance Company will continue to conduct business with Prime Re and certain other Citigroup affiliated reinsurers on other reinsurance agreements executed prior to Primerica’s IPO.

Swiss Re Americas President and CEO J. Eric Smith said, “This transaction underscores Swiss Re’s continued commitment to strengthening our relationship with Primerica. We look forward to extending our business partnership with Primerica and Citigroup.”

Primerica CFO Alison Rand said, “We are delighted to expand our relationship with Swiss Re in an arrangement that affords us substantially the same or better protections and collateralization as our prior reinsurance transaction with Prime Re and Citi.”

Citi Holdings CEO Francesco Vanni d’Archirafi said, “This transaction represents another key step for Citi Holdings. We appreciate our long-standing productive relationship with Primerica and Swiss Re.”

Since its creation, Citigroup has reduced assets in Citi Holdings by more than $700 billion. As of December 31, 2015, Citi Holdings’ assets represented approximately 4 percent of total Citigroup assets, down from a peak of about 40 percent.

Citigroup’s Institutional Clients Group advised Citigroup on this transaction. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor to Citigroup. DLA Piper LLP (US) served as legal advisor to Primerica.


Demand For Reinsurance Finally Picking Up

Reinsurance rates have fallen for the fourth consecutive year at the April 1, 2016 renewals, according to the latest 1st View Reinsurance Renewals report from Willis Re.

However, amidst a gloomy picture of sustained pricing pressure, encouraging signs for reinsurers are starting to show.

Firstly, although insurers continue to seek improvements in pricing and terms and conditions from their reinsurance partners, overall, price reductions at April 1, 2016 were marginally less than those attained 12 months earlier. Any broadening of terms and conditions also remained largely stable.

A number of factors, such as increased limits purchased and some modest losses, including the deterioration of earlier losses, have had an impact. It is also becoming increasingly evident that although most reinsurers are accommodating client requests, many are now at the point where they are no longer prepared to grant any further concessions, irrespective of relationship considerations.

According to the report, this by no means signals a pricing floor or an end to current conditions, but for certain markets it does suggest a slowdown in pricing deterioration.

Demand for reinsurance is also finally picking up.

As observed during the January 2016 renewals, a number of larger insurers, which over the last few years were driving strategies to retain more risk on their balance sheets, have been looking to selectively reverse their thinking. This is leading to an increase in cessions to selected third party reinsurers, both on traditional risk sharing reinsurance structures as well as loss portfolio transfers and adverse development covers.

Commenting on this trend, John Cavanagh, Global CEO of Willis Re, said, "The underlying reasons for the reversal in reinsurance buying strategies are distinctive to each client. But increased regulation, which has promoted a more holistic view of risk and reward, allied with shareholder pressure to improve ROEs by reducing the equity element of the calculation, are clearly two overall drivers. Ultimately, buyers are still reaping the rewards of competitive conditions and reinsurers will need another below average loss year to produce acceptable results in the face of a tough 2016. But the apparent uptick in demand is certainly a positive sign."

Tagged: Price Softening Continues But Uptick In Demand At April 1 Reinsurance Renewals


AXA Appoints Thomas Buberl Chief Executive Officer

After 27 years in the Group, and close to 17 years as Chief Executive Officer, Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO of AXA, has announced his decision to retire and to step down from the Board of Directors on September 1st, 2016.
Following a comprehensive succession planning process led by AXA's Compensation and Governance Committee under the leadership of Jean-Martin Folz, AXA's Board of Directors unanimously decided at a special meeting held on March 19th, 2016 to separate the functions of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, and approved the following appointments effective upon Henri de Castries’ retirement on September 1st:

  • Denis Duverne as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors,
  • Thomas Buberl as Chief Executive Officer of AXA and a member of AXA's Board of Directors co-opted to replace Henri de Castries.

From March 21st, 2016, Thomas Buberl joins the Group Head Office in Paris and is appointed Deputy CEO (“Directeur général adjoint”). He will work closely with Henri de Castries and Denis Duverne to finalize AXA’s new strategic plan, expected to be released on June 21st, 2016, and to ensure an effective leadership transition.


It has been a privilege to succeed Claude Bébéar and lead AXA over all these years, and I want to express my gratitude to the 166,000 women and men who are the face of AXA for our 103 million clients across the world - their professionalism and engagement have been a driving force and a fantastic motivation for me. The succession planning process initiated by the Board upon my request in October 2013, confirmed the breadth and the quality of AXA’s teams and helped us identify a new generation of leaders. Denis and I are extremely proud of the team we have been able to build and develop.

In the wake of our success in achieving our Ambition AXA plan, and before we enter into a new strategic cycle, I considered, with the support of the Board, that it was the best moment to begin the transition to a new management team who I know will very successfully lead AXA through the next stages of its development. While I will leave the Group with great emotion, I am very happy and confident to see Thomas take over the executive management of AXA. He has the experience, leadership skills and values to seize the opportunities offered by a rapidly changing world, and to make AXA a company that is always closer to its clients - which will be the key of our long term growth.


The Board of Directors agreed that the best combination for AXA is to associate Thomas Buberl’s clear strategic vision, his deep knowledge of the insurance sector, as well as his energy and leadership skills, with Denis Duverne’s great experience and knowledge of the Group as well as his understanding of corporate governance practices and of the regulatory environment.

The Board is extremely grateful to Henri de Castries for his invaluable contribution to the success of AXA since 1989. Under his leadership, AXA has become a leading global insurance brand, significantly strengthened its footprint in emerging markets, notably in Asia, and has successfully withstood several years of severe crises while keeping its commitments to its clients, delivering positive results and continuing to pay a dividend to its shareholders. In 2015, while progressing on the execution of an intense digital transformation, AXA successfully achieved its 5-year strategic plan, and delivered record underlying earnings, which represents an eightfold increase during Henri de Castries' tenure as CEO. The Board of Directors would like to pay him a strong and well-deserved tribute for his actions, and extends its very warm thanks to Denis Duverne who, as Deputy CEO, has been instrumental in AXA’s strategic decisions and strengthening the Group’s solidity. Together, they leave to the new leadership team a very well-managed, extremely resilient Group, with high quality and engaged employees.


Air Alliance Medflight Expands Air Ambulance Fleet

Air Alliance Medflight reports the addition of 4 more aircraft to their fleet.

The newly acquired aircraft consist of 2 Learjet 35A and 2 Piper Cheyenne PA42. All aircraft are fully dedicated to air ambulance missions, ready to fulfil repatriation and evacuation requests from international and regional clients.

All are available in a double stretcher configuration and with full ICU equipment.

Following the addition of the new aircraft, the fleet of Air Alliance Medflight now comprises 15 own aircraft: - 1 Challenger 604 - 1 Learjet 31 - 9 Learjet 35A - 1 Learjet 55 - 3 Piper Cheyenne PA42.


New International Structure At Crawford & Company®

Crawford & Company, has revealed its new international management structure, with a fully aligned ‘G6’ executive team and shared services leadership in place.

Crawford International’s new management structure is as follows: G6—Andrew Bart, CEO, Asia Pacific; John Jenner, commercial director, International; Clive Nicholls, CEO, UK & Ireland; Stephen Pearsall, finance director, International; Kieran Rigby, CEO, Europe & Latin America; and Pat Van Bakel, CEO, Canada. International Shared Services—Benedict Burke, chief client officer, International; Phil Churchman, chief information officer, International; Pauline Holroyd, vice president of human resources, International; Mike Jones, chief operating officer, UK & Ireland; and Chris Pinney, general counsel, International.

The G6 team reports to Ian Muress, executive vice president and chief executive officer (CEO), International, and comprises regional and country CEOs from the organisation’s largest collective operations around the world. Aligned with the G6 team are five heads of the international operation’s shared services functions in client management, general counsel, technology, human resources and commercial operations.

“As Crawford® clients and stakeholders are aware, the Company has made considerable efforts in recent months to simplify its global structure and provide an increasingly competitive service to the market,” Muress said. “The new structure ensures that each aspect of our international business is fully represented at executive level, enabling rapid decision-making and tactical implementation up and down the chain of command.”

“The way I often describe the global capabilities of Crawford is that we ‘join the dots.’ We are a cohesive, joined-up organisation at both a local and global level. This is viewed as a key advantage by clients across the board, from insurance companies through to Fortune 500® companies. In an increasingly interconnected world, we are able to maintain our position as a truly global provider.”


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