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Irish Customers To Benefit As New Health Insurer Will Offer Market Leading Solutions

Irish Life Group Limited, the Irish subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc., has announced that it has reached agreements to acquire Aviva Health, an Irish health insurance company, and to increase its 49 per cent interest in GloHealth to a 100 per cent ownership interest.

It also announced that Aviva Health and GloHealth will combine to become one of the leading providers in the Irish health insurance market. Financing for the acquisitions will be provided internally and terms will not be disclosed.

"As Ireland's leading provider of life insurance, pensions and investments, Irish Life will further grow its business by now providing market leading health insurance solutions," said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great-West Lifeco. "This transaction demonstrates our commitment to Ireland, and to our ongoing growth and expansion there."

Mahon said the new combined businesses will be a significant new force in the Irish health insurance market and provide a broad selection of health care insurance products to a customer base of more than 400,000 customers. He noted that Irish Life's new venture will also benefit from access to global expertise as part of Great-West Lifeco's group of companies, and in particular, from its leading health insurance business in Canada.

The transaction, which is subject to normal regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on Great-West Lifeco's financial results.



Chase Templeton Scores Four With Wellbeing Health Insurance Acquisition

Private medical insurance consolidator Chase Templeton has completed its fourth acquisition of 2016 with the purchase of Manchester’s Wellbeing Health Insurance Ltd.

The deal has seen the Darwen, Lancashire, headquartered business acquire a book worth nearly £880,000 in annual premium income, of which 80 percent is generated by SME clients. 

Completion of this latest transaction follows last month’s acquisition of Leeds-based Independent Health Services and January’s purchases of Preston’s Health Equity Solutions and Caledonian Health Solutions of Kelso. 

Wellbeing was owned by Graham Harfleet who is relocating to Scotland after his wife and fellow director Elizabeth secured a new position with the Methodist Church.

 “Whilst not one of our bigger acquisitions, Wellbeing Health Insurance nonetheless brings another solid and valuable SME client book to the business,” commented Chase Templeton’s chief executive officer, Warren Dickson. “It’s a good buy which also precedes a trio of more substantial deals which are pipelined for completion between now and the end of May.” 

The acquisition maintains the momentum of the company’s aggressive buy and build strategy which was has seen Chase Templeton become the leading consolidator in the UK’s PMI sector. 

Since securing backing from Manchester finance house Palatine Private Equity, the company has completed over 60 deals, including high profile acquisition targets such as Atlas Consulting Group, Avanti Healthcare and Consilium Employee Benefits.

The company now manages policies worth over £150m and employs some 115 staff across its three UK sites.


Chase Templeton Acquires Leeds Advisory Firm

Deal is the third to be completed this calendar year by the acquisition hungry insurance broker, and brings in a further 540 clients and £1.56m of annual premium income, some 60 percent of which comes from the SME segment in which Chase Templeton is now a major player.

Leeds-based Independent Health Insurance Services was founded in 2002 by Wayne Jackson who has decided to pursue other business interests. Commenting on his decision, he said: “When I decided to sell-up, Chase Templeton, being the biggest and most pro-active consolidator in the market, was an obvious and attractive choice. Not only does the company have the funds available to facilitate smooth transactions, but the experience and infrastructure necessary to integrate and take good care of the acquired client base. Having personally spent many years in building the book and the personal relationships that accompanied it, I was keen to see it placed in trustworthy hands.”

The deal is the latest in well over 50 completed since Chase Templeton secured private equity backing from Manchester-based finance house, Palatine Private Equity. It follows Chase Templeton’s purchases of Health Equity Solutions Ltd. and Caledonian Health Solutions last month. Those deals added £2.15m of again predominantly SME generated API.

“Independent Health Insurance Services managed a strong portfolio of SME clients to which we think, by virtue of our size and broad spectrum expertise, can bring added value,” commented Chase Templeton’s mergers and acquisitions director, Jeff Tate. “The book is an excellent fit in terms of our relatively short-term ambition to become market leader in the SME space whilst, the 400 individual clients who are joining us further balance our portfolio.”

Individual private health insurance clients will be served via the company’s Individual Centre of Excellence in Bridgwater, Somerset, with business policies administered through the SME equivalent at Chase Templeton’s headquarters in Darwen, Lancashire. That growth was made possible by a significant expansion of the workforce, which has more than doubled since 2013, with 115 staff now employed in Darwen, Bridgwater, and a recently opened Greater London hub in Bromley, Kent.

Through both acquisitive and organic growth the company now manages over £150m in API.


State of Florida Office Of Insurance Regulation Approves Aetna-Humana Acquisition

Aetna (NYSE: AET) issued the following statement in response to today’s action:

“We are very pleased by today’s approval of Aetna’s application to acquire Humana’s Florida-based Affiliates by the FL Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). With today’s action, Aetna has secured 10 of the 20 state approvals required.

“Florida’s evaluation was based on a thorough review of the competitive environment in the state. We are pleased that in its review, the OIR recognized how traditional Medicare competes with Medicare Advantage plans, and that consumers have robust choice in a competitive landscape.

“As we consider our future presence on the exchange, we will look for opportunities to expand into communities where we can give consumers a valuable offering at an affordable cost.

“We continue to cooperate with the Department of Justice as it continues its review. It is possible that the Department of Justice will require divestitures in some geographies, which is a standard tool as part of its approval processes. If divestitures are required, there are competitors in good standing that are able to provide consumers with options.”



Health Insurance Mergers Will Raise Premiums And Harm Medicare Beneficiaries

A new analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress finds that the proposed merger between the health insurance companies Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. would greatly reduce market competition for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in the markets they serve.

This reduction in competition likely would result in increased premiums for seniors and raise overall costs for Medicare that would then be passed on to taxpayers. As federal and state regulators review this and other proposed insurance mergers in the coming months, CAP’s findings are a reminder to set a high bar in considering these mergers and to be mindful of other avenues to constrain health care costs and improve quality in the industry.

CAP conducted a regression analysis to measure the effect of competition between Aetna and Humana on premiums and found large and highly statistically significant effects. In markets where Medicare Advantage beneficiaries currently have a choice between the insurers, CAP found that competition lowers Aetna’s average annual premiums by up to $302 and Humana’s annual premiums by $43. Under the merger, premiums could actually increase beyond these amounts because of the greater market power of the combined company.

“Insurers commonly argue that mergers are necessary to counter the increasing consolidation among health care providers. However, the health care system cannot engage in such an arms race,” said Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy at CAP. “When there are fewer insurers and fewer providers, there is less of an incentive to negotiate lower costs, leaving beneficiaries, taxpayers, and Medicare to pay the excess.”

In 2015, Aetna and Humana both offered Medicare Advantage plans in 562 counties in 28 states, according to data that CAP collected from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This is almost 20 percent of all the counties and county equivalents in the United States and up from just 82 counties in 2012. The range of the number of counties with both issuers varies significantly by state—from just 1 county in Arizona and Nevada to 59 in Pennsylvania and 67 in Missouri. The merger also could foreclose potential future competition in the overlapping markets if other insurers are dissuaded from entering because of the advantages of the combined company, as well as potential future competition between the two insurers in markets where they do not currently overlap.

Taxpayers would feel the effect of such a merger through higher federal spending for the Medicare program. For example, if the bid for the costs needed to cover each beneficiary were higher under the merged company than when they were competitors, then the government would end up spending more money per beneficiary. An Aetna-Humana merger would also have a significant effect on the individual health insurance market, especially in the eight states where they both operate. Research indicates that marketplace costs are 3.5 percent lower for every additional insurer participating in a rating area. If this merger occurred in 2015, a family of four living in one of the eight states would pay an average of $328 more in premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plan.

For seniors who may face higher costs under the merger, CAP’s analysis notes that just switching to traditional Medicare should not be an assumed safety valve. CAP recommends that traditional Medicare follow through on payment reforms already in the works and for all Medicare Advantage insurers to follow its lead. This would result in far greater incentives for providers than if a single large insurer, such as that of an Aetna-Humana merger, adopts payment reforms and other cost-saving strategies. The evidence of CAP’s analysis demonstrates that the bar should be very high for approving these mergers and that they should be stopped absent clear and compelling evidence that they will benefit consumers.

Read the full issue brief, “Bigger Is Not Better: Proposed Insurer Mergers Are Likely to Harm Consumers and Taxpayers” by Topher Spiro, Maura Calsyn, and Meghan O’Toole — online here.


Munich Re Acquires Additional Shares Of Apollo Munich Health Insurance

Munich Re will acquire an additional 23.27% of shares of Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co. Ltd., from its joint venture partner, the Apollo Hospitals Group, India and increase its shareholdings from 25.5% to 48.75%. Representatives of both companies signed a share purchase agreement today. The parties agreed on a purchase price of INR 163.5cr (€22.3m).

With the share acquisition, Munich Re will strengthen the presence of its Munich Health field of business in India – one of its key markets – and continue to pursue its profitable growth strategy.

Apollo Munich Health Insurance, one of the largest private sector health insurance companies, offers comprehensive health insurance plans for individuals, families, senior citizens and corporates. The wide array of products cover health insurance, travel insurance and personal accident insurance plans. The company has approximately 8% of the retail health insurance market. Apollo Munich Health Insurance covers over 4 million members. It distributes its products through agents, bancassurance, corporate agents, strategic partners, sales associates and direct channels. The company has 100 offices across the country. In the financial year 2015, gross written premium income stood at INR 860cr (€120m) and a profit before tax of INR 0.7cr (€0.1m).

Upon completion of the transaction, the share ownership in Apollo Munich Health Insurance of Munich Re and Apollo Hospitals Group will be 48.75% and 51.1% respectively, with the balance held by employees. The purchase price refers to a total value of INR 703 cr (€96m) of the company.

Doris Höpke, member of the Munich Re Board of Management responsible for Munich Health, said: “India’s population structure, increased life expectancy and positive economic development will usher in a steep rise in medium-term healthcare spending. Since its start in 2007, Apollo Munich Health Insurance has shown exceptional, often above-market growth rates. With the increased stakeholding, we are strengthening our position for sustainable and profitable growth in this region. Apollo Munich Health Insurance is committed to making quality healthcare easy and accessible.”

The opportunity for Munich Re to increase its shareholdings in Apollo Munich Health Insurance resulted from a decision by the Indian government in March 2015 to increase the foreign direct investment cap in the insurance sector from 26% to 49%.

Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval, which is expected at the end of the second quarter of 2016.

Munich Health was established in 2009. It is one of three business segments within Munich Re, alongside primary insurance and reinsurance. Its purpose is to pool Munich Re’s global health expertise in reinsurance, primary insurance and risk-management. Munich Health serves insurance companies in more than 40 countries, and primary insurance clients in over 100 countries. In the financial year 2014, Munich Health achieved a profit of €109m on premium income of over €5.3bn.


Tokio Marine HCC Acquires On Call International

HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. has announced that it has acquired On Call International LLC (On Call). On Call designs and markets customized self-insured and indemnified travel risk management plans, including medical, travel, political and natural disaster coverage. Founded in 1995, On Call is headquartered in Salem, New Hampshire. The company serves millions of travellers each year, and clients include travel agencies, academic institutions, insurance companies and leisure travelers. 

“On Call has a long and successful track record of providing unparalleled global travel risk management services, and HCC Specialty has benefited from these services as a satisfied client for five years,” said Bill Hubbard, President and Chief Executive Officer of HCC Specialty. “In today’s increasingly perilous world for travelers, we’ve brought this vital service in-house, helping us to increase our competitive edge by offering a superior customer experience.”

“By joining Tokio Marine HCC, On Call gains access to global expertise and unmatched products and services to expand our operations and further strengthen our world-class travel risk management offerings,” said Mike Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of On Call. “The backing of Tokio Marine Holdings, an industry-leading, international insurance company with over 30,000 employees, provides On Call and our millions of current and future members with incredible and innovative opportunities to build on our successes.”


ACE Receives All Regulatory Approvals Needed To Close Acquisition of Chubb

ACE Limited announced that it has received all regulatory approvals needed for closing its acquisition of Chubb, a transaction that will create the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer. 

The acquisition, announced on July 1, 2015 and valued at approximately $29.7 billion, based on the closing price of ACE Limited shares and the number of outstanding shares of Chubb common stock on January 12, 2016, is expected to close on Thursday, January 14, 2016, pending satisfaction of remaining customary closing requirements.  As previously announced, ACE will adopt the Chubb name upon closing and the company's stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CB on the first trading day following the closing.

"We are pleased to have all of our regulatory approvals and we look ahead to the closing of this transaction with great anticipation," said Evan G. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of ACE Limited. "Since the transaction was announced six months ago, we have moved rapidly and deliberately with integration planning.  This process has given us great confidence in the potential of the new Chubb to create significant value over time and deliver unmatched quality and service to our customers and distribution partners, and superior returns to our shareholders."


APRIL Group Strengthens Its Activities With Two Acquisitions: Avilog In Third Party Administration And Globalhealth In International Medical Insurance

APRIL group continues to expand its third party administration activities (TPA) as part of its key accounts development with the acquisition of 100% of the capital of Avilog.

Thanks to this operation, the group is able to consolidate its position in the TPA market for group health and personal protection insurance. Its activities with institutional clients (banks, provident institutions, private health insurers and insurance companies), brokers and businesses, both in France and abroad, will therefore be able to draw upon tailored and differentiating solutions.

Established in 1987, Avilog specialises in handling group medical health insurance policies. Today it has almost 30 staff members based in La Valette du Var as well as Paris, and has a turnover of over 2 million euros.

Sébastien Boizou, Managing Director of AVILOG, stated, "We are looking forward joining a large-scale, dynamic and innovative group such as APRIL. This merger opens up new prospects for working together and for business development."

With the acquisition of 100% of the capital of GlobalHealth, the APRIL group consolidates its wholesale broker activities in international private medical insurance (IPMI).

The acquisition of GlobalHealth enables APRIL to extend its operations in Asia, beyond its current activities in Thailand, China and Singapore. It also strengthens its market share in International Private Medical Insurance and accelerates the development in this historical business line, supported by its 9 assistance call centers. Finally, it enables APRIL to pool medical expenses and therefore increases its negotiating power with healthcare providers, for the benefit of its policy holders and risk carriers.

With operations on every continent, the APRIL group will be able to address the requirements of individuals living abroad more comprehensively, regardless of their country of origin, by offering solutions which are tailored to the local context, but also to the expectations of the group's key accounts partners, brokers, international institutions and businesses.

Established in 1997 in Hong Kong, GlobalHealth has 60 staff members and a turnover of around 6 million euros. Specialised in designing, marketing and managing international group and individual medical insurance products, GlobalHealth makes its products available in 6 different countries: Hong Kong and Singapore for the majority of its current activities, but also Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and China.

Both transactions were funded with the group's available cash. They will be commented on during the presentation of the 2015 annual results, on 3rd March 2016.

Emmanuel Morandini, Deputy CEO of the APRIL group commented, "We would like to welcome the Avilog and GlobalHealth teams which will strengthen and extend our areas of expertise. These acquisitions support our ambition to become a leading provider of products and services to French and international institutions, and an IMPI and assistance key player outside France. The integration of Avilog and GlobalHealth also marks the cautious return of our external growth dynamic in support of our strategic development."

RELATED READING: APRIL Group Announces Acquisition Of GlobalHealth Asia 


APRIL Group Announces Acquisition Of GlobalHealth Asia

International private medical insurance industry merger and acquisition mania continues in 2016 as APRIL group announce the acquisition of GlobalHealth Asia, an established international private medical insurance provider based in Hong Kong with operations in Singapore, Vietnam and Shanghai, plus local underwriting partners across south east Asia. 

Established in 1997 in Hong Kong, GlobalHealth has 60 staff members and a turnover of around six million euros. GlobalHealth provides a full range of international group and individual health insurance services, including underwriting, policy administration and claims adjudication.

The new purchase will enable APRIL to extend its operations in Asia beyond its current activities in Thailand, China and Singapore and significantly strengthens its market share in the region

APRIL Group, which was founded in France more than 35 years ago, is an internationally known and respected insurance services group with operations in 37 different countries, looking after close to six million policyholders worldwide, consisting of some 86 different nationalities located in more than 120 countries. 

With operations on every continent, APRIL group is now ideally positioned to meet the increasingly complex requirements of individual and group clients, regardless of their country of origin, by offering solutions which are tailored to their local environment.

Emmanuel Morandini, Deputy CEO of the APRIL group comments, "We would like to welcome the GlobalHealth teams to the APRIL group. This acquisition will strengthen our areas of expertise and extends our operations in Asia and is in line with our stated objective to become a leading IMPI and assistance player outside France."

In October 2015, APRIL Group successfully rebranded and relaunched UK based MediCare International as APRIL International UK, a specialist designer and distributor of international private medical insurance policies for groups and individuals.

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