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Latest International Medical And Health Insurance And Assistance News March 2015

All the latest medical and health insurance news from the international industry, under 1 roof, with International Private Medical Insurance Magazine. Subscribe, click here.

Lloyd’s Reports £3.2billion Profit For 2014

Lloyd’s, the world’s specialist insurance and reinsurance market, have announced a pre-tax profit of £3.2billion, with a return on capital of 14.7%. Pre-tax profit of £3.2billion (2013: £3.2bn) Combined ratio of 88.1% (2013: 86.8%) Return on capital of 14.7% (2013:…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 13:27 in iPMI Magazine Company Results News

CMA Provisionally Clears Specialist Insurance Merger

Xchanging plc (Xchanging) and Agencyport Software Group (Agencyport) supply specialist software to the insurance industry, in particular insurers and reinsurers operating in the London Company Market and Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) registered managing agents. In its provisional findings the Competition…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 13:26 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

How Advisers Can Adapt To New Fee Based Model When Commission Ends

End of trail commission from workplace pensions looming in April 2016 Corporate advisers will need to start charging fees – less than half do as yet 41% of advisers are concerned about remaining profitable1 Of c250,000 SME employers affected, research…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 13:24 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

More Than 11 Million People Can Now Receive Health Care Services From Care Providers Paid By UnitedHealthcare Based On Quality And Patient Outcomes

More than 11 million plan participants enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s individual, employer-sponsored, Medicare and Medicaid plans are now accessing care from a growing list of providers who are being compensated based on quality, better patient outcomes and lowering the overall cost…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 10:54in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

New Study Reveals Benefits Of Prevention Programmes To The Bottom Line

Average investment in an international assignment is US$311,000 per annum Cost of a failed assignment ranges between US$570,000 to $950,000 Pre-travel health check programmes reduce the occurrence of failed assignments Investing in pre-travel health checks results in up to 2.5X…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:36 in iPMI Magazine Medical Travel Technical Roadside Assistance Company News

Cigna And SCAN Health Plan Form Exclusive Alliance To Offer Group Retiree Medicare Advantage Plans To Employers In CaliforniaCigna (NYSE: CI) and SCAN Health Plan have entered into an alliance to provide SCAN’s group retiree Medicare Advantage health plan benefits to employer clients in California. “Employers and customers will benefit from the many quality programs, outstanding member service…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:34 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Expanding Medicaid Under ACA Helped To Identify 23% More People With Previously Undiagnosed Diabetes

States that have expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are capturing an increased number of people with previously undiagnosed diabetes, allowing them to begin treatment earlier, potentially reducing complications and other negative outcomes, according to a…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:29 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Time For A Career Move Abroad? Don't Let The Doctor Put A Dampener On It

The start of a new tax year is a popular time for anyone planning a lifestyle change to move abroad, offering as it does sensible tax planning opportunities. History tells us, though, that whilst many will have a job lined…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:28 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Cigna Global Health Benefits Network Expands To Provide Health Services & Benefits To Canadian Expatriates And Their Families

Integrates provincial & expatriate plans for eligible customers; Gives employees access to a provider network of more than 30,000 health care professionals throughout Canada. Cigna Global Health Benefits® (NYSE: CI) now offers medical, dental, vision and pharmacy benefits to Canadian…Written on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:06 in iPMI Magazine International Private Medical Insurance Product News

New Virtual Health Service App For Group Risk Clients

In January this year Aviva announced a new partnership with babylon, a leading UK-based mobile health company, to offer the latest digital technology to some of its UK healthcare clients. This move saw an innovative virtual health service, being successfully…Written on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 13:21 in iPMI Magazine Information Technology News

Bupa Enhances Business Fit Product To Help Employees Stay Healthy And Productive

Bupa has today announced the launch of its enhanced Business Fit healthcare product available to all corporate customers and intermediary groups from 1st April 2015. The relaunched product has been designed to enable employers to offer healthcare to more of…Written on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 13:16 in iPMI Magazine International Private Medical Insurance Product News

Kaiser Permanente Again Ranks Highest in J.D. Power Member Health Plan Study

Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, which serves more than 580,000 members throughout the region, again ranked highest in customer satisfaction for the Mid-Atlantic in the J.D. Power 2015 Member Health Plan Study, the company announced this week. Kaiser Permanente…Written on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:27 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

Employer Contributions to Health Savings Accounts Decreasing

In 2014, employees saw a 10 percent decrease in their average single Health Savings Account (HSA) employer contribution from the previous year, from $574 in 2013 to $515 in 2014, according to new data released from the 2014 Health Plan…Written on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:18 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

AXA Completes Acquisition Of A 7% Stake In Africa ReAXA has announced that it has completed the acquisition of a 7.15% stake in African Reinsurance Corporation (“Africa Re”), the leading reinsurance company in Africa1 , for a total consideration of USD 61 million (or Euro 54 million2 ). The…Written on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 08:59 in iPMI Magazine Mergers Acquisitions News

UPMC Health Plan Earns A- (Excellent) Rating from A.M. Best

UPMC Health Plan has retained its financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. The A- (Excellent) rating with a stable outlook applies to UPMC Health Plan (HMO…Written on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 09:02 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News

AXA Confirms Intention To Increase Stake In Indian Insurance Joint-Ventures

Following the approval of the Insurance Bill by the Indian Parliament, AXA confirms its intention to increase its stake in its Indian Life and general insurance joint-ventures with Bharti Enterprises to 49% from 26%, subject to finalization of negotiations, entering…Written on Sunday, 22 March 2015 09:03 in iPMI Magazine Mergers Acquisitions News

Pacific Prime Clarifies International Private Medical Insurance Inflation

Pacific Prime has reflected on their annual International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) industry reports, which set out to outline the rates of inflation among major insurers in various regions around the world. Click here to read the reports. The advisor…Written on Friday, 20 March 2015 05:55 in iPMI Magazine Breaking News


Top 5 International Private Medical Insurance Magazine Videos 2014

BUPA And Blue Cross Blue Shield To Create Largest Healthcare Provider Network In The World

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Managing The Lifecycle Of An Expatriate

International Expatriate Health Medical Insurance Round Table Business Forum from iPMI Magazine on Vimeo.

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About iPMI Magazine - International Private Medical Insurance Magazine from iPMI Magazine on Vimeo.

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iPMI Magazine International Assistance Round Table Business Forum - Defining International Assistance In 2014 And Beyond - Out N from iPMI Magazine on Vimeo.

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Mexico Travel Warning: Hurricane Odile - British Nationals Advised To Leave Via Aeropuerto Internacional De Los Cabos International Airport (SJD)

Hurricane Odile has affected parts of Baja California and Baja California Sur. British Nationals in the affected area are advised to leave via Aeropuerto Internacional de Los Cabos International airport (SJD).

Please go with the expectation of a potentially long wait; the airport is crowded. We recommend travelling with basic provisions of food and water where possible. There are reports of looting and gang violence on the streets of downtown San José del Cabo. Exercise caution when transiting to the airport. Monitor local media and follow the guidance of local authorities.

363,142 British nationals visited Mexico in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.


A+ International Healthcare Announces New Partnership with AXA

A+ International Healthcare has launched its new underwriting partnership with the AXA Group. A+ International Healthcare and AXA have reached an agreement whereby A+ Hong Kong individual policies are now underwritten by AXA General Insurance Hong Kong Limited, A+ Hong Kong group policies are underwritten by AXA China Region Insurance Company Limited, and policies of the rest of the world are underwritten by AXA France Vie.

In addition, its evacuation and repatriation services are now supported by AXA Assistance. Because of its robust business growth and new market developments, A+ International Healthcare has attained new levels and therefore new needs. AXA, a leading insurance provider in the global market with a top Standard and Poor’s rating, has the capacity to offer A+ International Healthcare locally compliant support on a worldwide scale. The A+ International Healthcare and AXA partnership starts initially in Hong Kong and will develop rapidly throughout the Asia Pacific region, ultimately to anywhere across the globe.

“We share the same fundamental corporate values – both A+ International Healthcare and AXA are about people and high quality services,” said Jean-Claude Breteau, Chief Executive of A+ International Healthcare. “With AXA’s support, A+ International Healthcare will provide additional benefits and services on top of the original covers. We now have the capability of extending our product range to all Hong Kong residents, expatriates and local nationals alike. In the very near future, A+ International Healthcare will offer new innovative plans to cater to even more levels of service for both individuals and groups.”

“We see a steady growth of health insurance in the global market,” Breteau continued. “Increased consumer awareness and wellbeing consciousness are driving up the demand, along with the increase in individual global mobility. There is a high need for excellent international and local healthcare services. A+ International Healthcare and AXA together see promising opportunities in the growing market and are convinced this new partnership will bear fruits very rapidly.”

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Huichih Ko Joins Willis Asia As Chairman

Willis Group Holdings plc, has appointed Huichih Ko as Chairman of Willis Asia. Mr. Ko will play a leading role in defining Willis Asia's strategic direction and driving client engagement and growth across the region. He starts his new role today and will initially be based in the Singapore HQ of Willis Asia, which employs around 890 associates in 36 offices.

He joins from Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), where he served as MMC Country Corporate Officer for Taiwan. He has over 30 years' industry experience and has held a number of senior posts at Marsh, including Deputy Chairman, Greater China Region; and Managing Director and Chairman, Marsh Taiwan.

Tim Wright, CEO of Willis International, said, "Willis is going from strength to strength in Asia, and the addition of such a senior talent will be a further boost to our capabilities and ambitions. Huichih is a very experienced and respected industry leader who is well known across the region. He will play a vital role in growing and connecting our business both in Asia and globally."

Adam Garrard, CEO of Willis Asia, said, "I have known Huichih for many years and he has worked with an impressive and diverse range of clients. We are delighted to have attracted Huichih to Willis and his appointment is a visible endorsement of our values and strategy. Huichih will partner with me and the rest of the Willis Asia team to assist us in driving the strategy and growth plans in the region. I can think of no one more qualified for this role. He is one of the best insurance practitioners in Asia."

Huichih Ko said, "I am deeply impressed by Willis's vision and commitment to invest across Asia in order to tap into some exciting, high-potential markets. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to work with the many talents in Willis to develop innovative solutions for clients and markets. Asian insurance markets have come a long way - many are mature and ready to diversify their books - and I look forward to helping our global clients explore that new capacity."

Ko started his insurance brokerage career in New York with Fred S James in 1981. He was assigned to Taiwan in 1983 and subsequently became President of James International Taiwan. Between 1987 and 1998 he served as CEO of Sedgwick Taiwan. Following the acquisition of Sedgwick by Marsh, Ko was appointed as Regional Director North Asia, Marsh Resolution.

In 2000 he became Managing Director and chairman of Marsh Taiwan and in 2010 he was promoted to Deputy Chairman, Marsh Greater China Region.

In 2013 he was appointed as MMC Country Corporate Officer for Taiwan. Ko holds a bachelor's degree in Shipping Management and a Master of Science in Transportation.

He has also taught marine insurance and shipping management courses in universities in Taiwan.


Global Reinsurer Capital Reaches New Peak Of USD570 Billion At June 30, 2014

Aon Benfield launches the latest edition of its Aon Benfield Aggregate (ABA) report, which analyzes the financial results of the world's leading reinsurers in the first half of 2014.

Aon Benfield Analytics estimates that global reinsurer capital reached a record level of USD570 billion at June 30, 2014, an increase of 6% (USD30 billion) relative to December 31, 2013.

This calculation is a broad measure of capital available for insurers to trade risk with and includes both traditional and non-traditional forms of reinsurance capital. The firm's latest study found that capital reported by the ABA group of 31 leading reinsurers increased by 4% (USD14 billion) to USD351 billion (62% of global reinsurer capital), driven primarily by USD18.6 billion of net income and USD9.4 billion of unrealized capital gains. The main offset was USD14.3 billion of dividends and share buybacks.

Further key findings relating to the 29 publicly-listed holding companies in the ABA* include:

  • Gross property and casualty (P&C) premiums rose by 4% to USD109 billion, with growth split evenly between insurance and reinsurance business.
  • The combined ratio rose by 0.4 percentage points to 90.3%, with P&C underwriting profit unchanged at USD7.9 billion.
  • Catastrophe losses declined relative to the prior year and were well below the long-term average.
  • Support from the favorable development of prior year reserves declined by 5% to USD2.8 billion.
  • Return on equity stood at 12.2% in the first half of 2014, the highest level since 2009.
  • Net catastrophe exposures are reducing as risk transfer to the capital markets increases via sidecars, insurance-linked securities and more cost effective retrocession cover.

Mike Van Slooten, Head of Aon Benfield's International Market Analysis team, said, "The influx of alternative capital is lowering risk transfer costs for both insurers and reinsurers, creating a win-win situation that should drive market expansion in the medium-term. Aon Benfield has made major advances in its analysis of reinsurers' financial performance in recent years, in response to growing insurer demand for strategic insight into longer-term industry trends. We are closely monitoring developments in what is a very dynamic environment. As such, peer studies such as the ABA report, which assess comparative performance on a timely basis, are becoming increasingly relevant."

* ABA reports are produced on a half-yearly basis and cover the reported results of 31 major reinsurers worldwide, with the aim of identifying the latest trends in the P&C reinsurance marketplace. The study comprises 29 publicly-listed holding companies ('the listed ABA') and two US-domiciled subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, namely National Indemnity Company (NICO) and General Reinsurance Corporation (Gen Re). NICO entered into a significant intra-group reinsurance transaction with GEICO Group effective January 1, 2014, which has had a material impact on its reported results. To provide a more meaningful picture of the sector's underlying performance, many of the charts and ratios now focus on the listed ABA.


Aetna International Appoints European Sales Manager To Drive Expansion

Aetna International, the leading international private medical insurance provider, has added to the company’s European broker team by hiring Beatriz Biosca as their European sales manager.

Biosca is Spanish by birth, grew up in Luxembourg and Brussels and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. After training as a clinical physiologist, she worked at Globality Health and Mercer Health management consulting in a variety of international claims, analysis and European account management roles.

“We were keen to add to our European team and Beatriz was the perfect combination of knowledge and experience,” said Aetna’s global head of distribution, Nic Brown. “Beatriz will be building on Aetna’s existing relationships with brokers in Europe and developing new partnerships throughout the region.”


July Passenger Travel Shows Strong Growth

Global passenger traffic results for July 2014 show demand growth of 5.3% (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) over the previous July. Capacity expanded exactly in tandem with demand (5.3%), resulting in a global load factor of 82.3%, unchanged from last year.

“July was another strong month of growth for air travel. People are connecting by air in ever greater numbers. That’s true across all regions. Despite the various economic challenges, the outlook for passenger travel remains broadly positive. The overall sluggishness at the beginning of the year appears to be behind us with growth in China and other emerging economies offsetting recent deterioration in the Eurozone,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

July international passenger demand rose by 5.5% compared to the same month in 2013. This was outstripped by a capacity expansion of 6.2% which resulted in a slight weakening of the load factor to 81.9% (down 0.5 percentage points from the year-ago period, but still at a very high level).

European carriers reported growth of 5.3% in July compared to a year ago. Capacity expanded slightly more aggressively at 5.6%, but the region still reported a very high load factor of 85.1%. While this is a robust performance, latest indicators show a weakening in key European economies such as Germany reflecting the impact of sanctions associated with the deepening Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Asia Pacific airlines are benefitting from an improved economic environment. Demand growth was slightly above the global average at 5.6% which lagged a capacity increase of 6.8%. Load factor fell 0.9 percentage points to 78.9%. The biggest factor affecting demand developments is the response of the Chinese economy to stimulus measures which saw year-on-year GDP growth reach 7.5% in July.

North American airlines saw international demand grow by 2.9%--the slowest of all regions. Capacity expansion was nearly double that at 5.6%; nonetheless the load factor stood at 85.1%. Overall business conditions are the strongest since mid-2010, which bodes well for the region’s carriers.

Airlines in the Middle East recorded the strongest growth at 9.2%. This was ahead of a capacity expansion of 8.2%. Load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 78.0%. The carriers are benefitting from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel.

Latin American carriers reported growth of 6.7%, in line with a 6.6% capacity increase. Load factors stood at 82.5%. Robust economic performance in Colombia, Peru and Chile is being offset by weakness in Brazil. Furthermore, regional trade volumes are not expanding, the impact of which has been a dialing down of travel demand from the 8% growth range experienced in 2013.

African airlines reported growth of 4.9%, reversing the year-on-year contraction experienced in June. With capacity rising 4.5%, load factor improved slightly to 70.2%. The biggest factor impacting international traffic demand in July was the slowdown of the South African economy.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa intensified towards the end of July, the impact of which will likely be seen in August.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand on domestic routes rose by 4.9% in July over the previous year, ahead of a 3.5% capacity increase, pushing load factor up 1.1 percentage points to 83.0%.

The strongest growth was recorded in China (8.8%) and Russia (9.9%). Russian airlines saw the strongest growth rate among major domestic markets at 9.9%. While the Russia-Ukraine crisis has seen a slowdown in the Russian economy, domestic demand grew as a result of a significant reduction in fares.

India’s domestic market increased by a solid 6.0% in July over the previous year. This could be an early sign of the success of the new government’s business-friendly stance. However, the government’s July budget announcement showed little spending stimulus which could keep India’s growth trend below the pace of other emerging markets.

The Bottom Line

“Airlines reported growth in July, which is a positive story for the global economy. Robust economic conditions support the expansion of travel. In turn connectivity stimulates economic growth and creates jobs. It’s a tried and tested virtuous circle. And the expectation is for continued solid growth over the remainder of 2014,” said Tyler. “We cannot ignore, however, the risks that could de-rail this trajectory. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, weakness in the Eurozone, hostilities in Eastern Ukraine and instability in the Middle East loom large. Airlines are on track to record a profit of some $18 billion this year. But that is a net profit margin of just 2.4% which does not provide much of a buffer. So it is critical that governments shore-up connectivity with business friendly policies based on reasonable taxation, cost-efficient infrastructure and smart regulation.”


Great-West Life Announces Acquisition Of PlanDirect Insurance Services Inc. (PDAssure)

The Great-West Life Assurance Company today announced that it has acquired PlanDirect Insurance Services Inc. (PDAssure), a service provider that markets and administers individual health insurance for Canadians.

The acquisition is effective immediately. PDAssure will retain its name and will operate as a subsidiary of Great-West Life. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. "We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with PDAssure to acquire their business," said Stefan Kristjanson, Great-West Life's Executive Vice-President, Group. "Great-West Life and PDAssure have had a successful relationship over the past two decades, supporting the individual health insurance needs of Canadian retirees and families. Now with PDAssure as part of our organization, Great-West Life is strongly positioned to become a leader in this marketplace."

"We were looking to retire from a successful business we had built," said Chief Operating Officer Millar Drummond, who along with his partner, President Rolf Normandin, founded PDAssure in Toronto in 1994. "Our choice of Great-West Life was based on a number of factors, including Great-West Life's commitment to client service, reputation for quality, and leadership in serving the group life and health insurance needs of Canadians."

Drummond and Normandin will continue to be associated with PDAssure for an interim period, to help ensure a smooth transition.


Marsh Canada Acquires Kocisko Insurance Brokers Inc.

Marsh Canada, a subsidiary of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management, announced today the acquisition of Kocisko Insurance Brokers Inc., a full-service commercial insurance brokerage based in Montreal, Quebec.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Kocisko focuses on providing commercial insurance and risk management solutions to construction and surety operations throughout the province of Quebec. The Kocisko team will join Marsh Canada’s National Construction and Surety Practice, and will be based in Marsh’s Montreal location.

“I’m delighted to welcome Terry Kocisko and his talented and experienced team of construction and surety specialists to Marsh,” said Alan Garner, president & CEO, Marsh Canada Limited. “This addition enables us to offer greater resources and a broader platform to serve the needs of construction clients in Quebec.”

“Becoming a part of Marsh Canada Limited is a terrific evolution for Kocisko,” said Terry Kocisko, CEO of Kocisko. “Our clients will benefit from the tremendous service and broader array of capabilities and resources that Marsh has to offer.”

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