iPMI Magazine

iPMI Magazine

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.

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Starr Insurance Companies Expands Aviation Insurance Operations To Brazil

Starr Insurance Companies today announced that Starr International Brasil Seguradora S.A. (“Starr Brazil”) has been granted a local license to offer aviation insurance.

“We are thrilled to be adding aviation capability in an important, growing economy like Brazil,” stated Steve Blakey, president and chief executive officer for Starr Insurance Holdings, Inc. “As a worldwide leader in aviation insurance solutions, we are constantly seeking new opportunities and markets to meet the growing needs of the aviation and aerospace industry around the globe.”

Fernanda Strachino, aviation specialist underwriter, has joined Starr Brazil to head the new aviation division. Fernanda brings more than 16 years’ of experience in the aviation and insurance market.

Starr Brazil will offer a variety of aviation coverages, including: Aircraft Hull & Liability; Spare Parts; Third-Party Legal Liability; Corporate Non-Owned Aircraft Liability; General Liability; RETA Insurance (Mandatory Liability), Hangarkeepers’ Liability; Premises Liability, Airport Liability; Products & Completed Operations Liability.


Ground Transportation: A Duty Of Care Black Hole In Travel Risk Management

Travel and operational risk company, Anvil Group, ground transportation booking provider, GroundScope and transportation network provider, Uber for Business, today announce the publication of a brand new report that focuses on how corporates can better protect their travellers and themselves when it comes to selecting ground transportation options.

The report Ground Transportation - A Duty of Care Black Hole in Travel Risk Management is based on the discussions and outcomes of the inaugural Ground Transportation Risk Summit, an event hosted in London recently by the three organisations.

The event looked to identify some of the main issues around ground transportation today, outline what can be done to increase awareness of the potential risks, set out some basic advice for those looking to enhance and mature their duty of care programmes, and consider the broader implications for companies who fail to address this important issue.

Bringing together the views of experts from the corporate world, the risk management world and the world of ground transportation itself, the ensuing report addresses why ground transportation is not getting the consideration it deserves in many travel or risk policies and identifies what can be done to change this.

Matthew Judge, Group Managing Director of Anvil Group explains the rationale behind the event and the report: “By failing to address the issues in ground transportation, not only are companies putting their personnel at risk but they could also find themselves facing legal ramifications. Ground transportation certainly presents complexities and challenges but organisations need to understand how to overcome these. That's one of the reasons that Anvil has come together with GroundScope and Uber for Business. By working in close partnership, we're able to help organisations tackle the issues head on and ensure that they're able to meet their duty of care requirements from both a legal and a moral perspective.”

With the rapid growth in the number of ground transportation options, particularly the usage of ride-hailing services, it can be a complicated minefield for travel managers to navigate. Businesses need to consider wide-ranging implications - from safety and security, to liability concerns, to legal and financial considerations.

GroundScope’s CEO, John McCallion, echoes Matthew Judge’s sentiment, “Ground transportation is an integral part of every business trip yet it's seriously lacking the focus it needs in many policies. Despite its often low profile, it’s the part of the journey that can pose the greatest threat to business travellers and is something that companies need to take serious steps to address”.

Every year, almost 1.3 million people lose their lives on the world's roads and many millions more are seriously injured. Add to this the risk of opportunistic crime, car jackings and assaults in many countries and the roads can be a very dangerous place indeed for today’s business traveller.

This newly created report provides a useful resource including background information and advice on issues including:
⦁ The impact of the changing nature of ground transportation
⦁ The treatment of ground transportation in corporate travel policies
⦁ The need for greater education and collaboration
⦁ A step-by-step guide to conducting due diligence on ground transportation providers

A copy of the full report can be downloaded at


Anvil Group is a global travel and operational risk company that delivers advanced technology-led resilience solutions which identify relevant threats, warn those affected and prescribe what action to take. Anvil works with a global client base to protect their people, property and performance against risk. Combining the automated Riskmatics® risk management platform with the unparalleled experience of their global analysts and direct on-the-ground security and physician-led medical assistance service, Anvil puts clients firmly in control.

GroundScope is a global booking service that lets travellers choose from over 600 local ground transportation services across the world – from taxi firms to coach companies – and book the safest, most reliable and cost-effective option for their trip. GroundScope brings together a powerful online booking platform available on web, App, GDS and mobile, an enormous selection of rigorously-vetted ground transport partners and a group of experienced staff offering 24/7 customer support.

Uber for Business is a travel management solution that helps more than 65,000 organisations across the globe run more efficiently with enhanced billing, reporting, and administrative tools. With service in more than 80 countries and 600 cities, Uber for Business delivers a consistent and cost-effective way to manage ground transportation programs for businesses of any size.



Tracy Garrad Named AXA PPP Healthcare Chief Executive Officer

Tracy Garrad has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of AXA PPP healthcare, replacing Keith Gibbs who is retiring.

Garrad, who joins from HSBC, will officially take up the post on 7 January 2019. She was most recently CEO, HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man and prior to that was Chief Executive Officer for First Direct, the number one bank in the UK. Garrad will succeed Keith Gibbs who is retiring at the end of the year and will join the Management Committee of AXA UK & Ireland. Her appointment is subject to regulatory approval.

Gibbs joined AXA UK and Ireland in 2001 as the CEO for AXA PPP healthcare. Since arriving, Gibbs has successfully grown the business, establishing it as a market leader in the healthcare space, whilst also sitting on the Boards of AXA UK, AXA Insurance UK, AXA Global Health and AXA Venture Partners.

“I am delighted that Tracy is joining AXA UK and Ireland as our new AXA PPP healthcare CEO. She brings a wealth of experience in large, complex, customer and people centric businesses and this, along with her excellent leadership skills, will further strengthen our management team. I very much look forward to working with her in the next phase for our healthcare business particularly as health continues to be a key strategic focus for the Group.

“I would also like to thank Keith for his excellent contribution over the years. He has grown a strong business with an impressive financial performance and customer service focus whilst also developing innovative products to better meet our customers’ needs, putting in place some core foundations for the future. I wish him all the best for the future.” [Claudio Gienal, Chief Executive, AXA UK & Ireland]

Brexit Optimism Surges Amongst Small Construction Firms – While Other Sectors Fear Business Closures

AXA Business Insurance – one of the UK’s biggest insurers of small firms – reveals the results from its three-year tracker of Brexit sentiment amongst small firms. The data is significant as the businesses represented fall solely in the 0-9 employee category which make up 95 per cent of UK companies today (accounting for 5.4 million).

When asked in this month’s survey1 to envision how Brexit is most likely to affect their own business prospects, the gap closes somewhat, as 28 per cent anticipate a positive impact, and only slightly more – 31 per cent, expect a negative impact. Most small businesses say they cannot make a judgement as yet.

Small building firms, who are mostly sole traders and have the strongest history of pro-Brexit sentiment in AXA’s tracker, emerge as the most optimistic about their prospects: 46 per cent say that Brexit is most likely to have a positive impact on their business (half that number – 23 per cent expect a negative influence).

At the sharp end of the anxiety spectrum, 9.8 per cent of small business owners say they have considered quitting self-employment due to worry about the Brexit outcome. In the food, drink and retail sectors that reaches a peak of one in five (22 per cent average), but is lowest amongst self-employed people working in the creative industries who tend to be most location independent.

Overall, recruitment plans are down on this time last year – ten per cent of small firms expect to hire in 2019 (compared to 13 per cent in November 2017). Investment plans have taken the biggest hit, as 17 per cent say they will plough money back into their firm next year, compared to 41 per cent this time last year.

Even though cutting red tape was a stated goal of the Brexit campaign, just 12 per cent of small firms believe they will see any reduction in regulations after leaving the EU. Rather, the most common expectation is that their customers will suffer a squeeze on their incomes. A sizeable minority supported the view that Brexit would mean more work for British citizens as opposed to migrant workers.

1) “My customers will have less money to spend” (32 per cent). For comparison, just one in ten expected to see business boosted.

2) “Materials, goods and services I need for my business will be more expensive” (25 per cent)

3) “More jobs for British workers” (21 per cent).

“We need to remember that we have this blanket term ‘SME’, which covers both a sole trader with a van or a freelance designer working from home as well as manufacturers with up to 250 employees. Our survey focuses purely on the most common business type we have in this nation of entrepreneurs – those who work alone or have a small staff of under 10 employees. What they are telling us looks very different from the sentiments regularly expressed in the media, and I think it is worth highlighting that life post-Brexit may look very different to a microbusiness from how it looks to a mid-sized business” – Gareth Howell, Executive Managing Director, AXA Insurance UK plc.

International Medical Group WorldAware Team Up to Assist Customers and Clients

International Medical Group® has announced that it will be adding WorldAware’s security and travel intelligence services to its products and service offerings. 

For IMG’s retail customers, this means that WorldAware will provide members access to destination reports and alerts about natural disasters, political actions, and other general security information that may impact their travels. Effective January 2, 2019, this service will be included in all of IMG’s international private medical insurance plans (IPMI).

IMG is also excited to incorporate WorldAware’s integrated risk management services into their assistance service offerings for their institutional clients. The addition of this security assistance information and technology platform will complement IMG’s already expansive catalog of assistance programs including but not limited to cost containment, claims administration, and emergency medical transport.

By offering worldwide capabilities to quickly identify potentially disruptive local events, this is yet another way IMG can be there for its customers and bolster its security assistance services.

"This addition further expands our continuum of services as a provider of global insurance benefits and assistance services," said Executive Vice President Steve Paraboschi. "By offering our retail customers and institutional clients security assistance services, we are able to globally minimize their risks by protecting and serving them while they are away from home.”

Read more news about international private medical insurance plans here.

Air Freight Marks Modest Growth October 2019 Up 3.1%

Data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose 3.1% in October 2018, compared to the same period the year before. This pace of growth was up from a 29-month low of 2.5% in September. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 5.4% year-on-year in October 2018. This was the eighth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand. 

Growing international e-commerce and an upturn in the global investment cycle are supporting the growth. However, demand continues to be negatively impacted by:

  • A contraction in export order books in all major exporting nations in October; 
  • Longer supplier delivery times in Asia and Europe;
  • Weakened consumer confidence compared to very high levels at the beginning of 2018.

“Cargo is a tough business, but we can be cautiously optimistic as we approach the end of 2018. Slow but steady growth continues despite trade tensions. The growth of e-commerce is more than making up for sluggishness in more traditional markets. And yields are strengthening in the traditionally busy fourth quarter. We must be conscious of the economic headwinds, but the industry looks set to bring the year to a close on a positive note,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.  

Total Market 100.0% 3.1% 5.4% -1.1% 50.4%
Africa 1.7% -4.2% 5.4% ​-3.7% 36.8%
Asia Pacific 36.1% 1.9% 4.2% ​-1.3% ​56.9%
Europe 23.4% 1.4% 1.9% ​-0.3% 55.8%
Latin America 2.6% ​0.3% 3.3% ​-1.1% ​35.7%
Middle East ​​13.2% 5.0% 8.8% ​-1.8% ​50.6%
North America 23.0% 6.6% 8.2% ​-0.6% 42.0%

Regional Performance

All regions reported year-on-year demand growth in October 2018, except Africa which contracted.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight grow by 1.9% in October 2018, compared to the same period last year. This pace of growth was relatively unchanged from the previous month. Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, and longer supplier delivery times particularly in China and Korea impacted the demand. As the largest freight-flying region, carrying more than one-third of the total, the risks from rising trade tensions are disproportionately high. Capacity increased by 4.2%.

North American airlines posted the fastest growth of any region in October 2018, with an increase in demand of 6.6% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 8.2% over the same period. The strength of the US economy and consumer spending have helped support the demand for air cargo over the past year, benefiting US carriers.

European airlines experienced a 1.4% increase in freight demand in October 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 1.9% year-on-year. Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, and longer supplier delivery times particularly in Germany, Europe’s largest freight flying country, impacted demand. Seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand remained deflated in October, which could indicate the start of a broader weakening in demand.

Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes expanded 5.0% in October 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 8.8% over the same period. There are signs of a pick-up in seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand helped by more trade to/from Europe and Asia.

Latin American airlines’ freight demand rose 0.3% in October 2018 compared to the same period last year and capacity increased by 3.3%. International demand slipped by 0.9%, marking the first contraction in 11months. International freight volumes have fallen month-on-month in four of the past five months, reflecting broad weakness in the region’s key markets.

African carriers saw freight demand decrease by 4.2% in October 2018, compared to the same month last year. This was the seventh time in eight months that demand shrank. Capacity increased by 5.4% year-on-year. Demand conditions on all key markets to and from Africa remain weak. Nonetheless, seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes have stopped declining and recovered sharply in recent months. 

Passenger Traffic Growth Slows September 2019

Global passenger traffic results for September showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 5.5% compared to the same month in 2017. This was a slowdown from the 6.4% growth recorded in August year-over-year. Capacity climbed 5.8% and load factor slipped for the first time in eight months, down 0.3 percentage point compared to the year-earlier period, to 81.4%.

IATA estimated that impacts from severe hurricane and typhoon activity in September shaved around 0.1-0.2 percentage point off expected growth. However, even after accounting for these impacts, monthly traffic demand was below the 6.7% year-to-date pace.

“While September’s traffic growth was in line with the long-term average, it represents a moderation compared to recent months. This is likely owing to the anticipated reduced demand boost from lower airfares due to rising airline cost pressures, particularly fuel. Heightened uncertainty about trade policies and mounting protectionist policies may also be having an impact,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

Total Market 100.0% 5.5% 5.8% -0.3​% 81.4%
Africa 2.2% 2.3% 1.4% ​0.6% 74.5%
Asia Pacific 33.7% 6.7% 6.0% ​0.5% ​80.8%
Europe 26.6% 5.4% 4.9% ​0.4% 86.7%
Latin America 5.1% ​6.3% 8.3% ​-1.5% ​80.3%
Middle East ​​9.5% 1.4% 4.8% ​-2.4% ​72.1%
North America 23.0% 5.6% 7.2% ​-1.2% 80.7​%

International Passenger Markets

International RPKs climbed 4.9% with airlines in all regions recording growth compared to 2017. Total capacity climbed 5.1%, and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage point to 81.2%.

  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.4% in September compared to the year-ago period. This was down from 7.4% annual growth in August. The steep decline in part reflects the impacts of typhoon activity in the region including the multi-day closure of Kansai International Airport. Capacity increased 4.3%, and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 79.2%.
  • European carriers saw September RPKs rise 5.2% over September 2017, in line with August growth of 5.4%. However, the upward trend in seasonally-adjusted demand has slowed considerably since early 2018. Capacity climbed 4.9% and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 87.0%, which was the highest among regions.
  • Middle East carriers had a 1.8% rise in demand, which was a four-month low. As in previous months, the volatility in the region’s growth rate mainly reflects the developments in 2017 such as the cabin ban on large portable electronic devices and the proposed travel bans to the US. Capacity rose 5.3%, and load factor fell 2.4 percentage points to 72.3%.
  • North American airlines experienced a 5.0% rise in demand in September, which was an increase over 3.7% year-over-year growth recorded in August. Capacity rose 5.4% and load factor fell 0.3 percentage point to 80.8%. Strong momentum in the US economy is helping underpin a pick-up in international demand for airlines in the region.
  • Latin American airlines’ demand surged 7.0%, strongest among regions and well above the 4.4% growth recorded in August. Traffic is staging a modest recovery from softness over the summer months that coincided with the general strikes in Brazil. Capacity climbed 9.8% -- also the biggest increase among regions -- and load factor fell 2.1 percentage points to 80.3%.
  • African airlines posted a 6.0% rise in RPKs in September, down from 6.8% in August. Capacity rose 4.9% and load factor edged up 0.8 percentage point to 74.6%. The healthy growth is taking place against an increasingly challenging economic backdrop for the region’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic demand climbed 6.5% in September compared to September 2017, which was a slowdown compared to 7.5% year-over-year growth in August. This was partly owing to afore-mentioned weather-related disruptions. Capacity rose 7.4% and load factor slipped 0.6 percentage point to 81.6%.

Domestic 36.2% 6.5% 7.4% -0.6% 81.6%
Dom. Australia 0.9% 0.9% -0.4% ​1.1% 80.6%
Domestic Brazil 1.2% 3.5% 6.0% ​-2.0% ​81.1%
Dom. China P.R. 9.1​% 9.3% 10.3% ​-0.7% 83.6%
Domestic India 1.4% ​19.8% 18.8% ​0.7% ​84.7%
Domestic Japan ​​1.1% -5.0% -3.7% ​-1.0% ​75.1%
Dom. Russian Fed 1.4% 11.1% 8.5% ​-2.0% 87.0​%
Domestic US 14.5%​ 6.2%​ 8.6%​ -1.8%​ 80.7%​
  • Japan’s domestic traffic plunged 5% as the devastating Typhoon Jebi took a big toll, including the multi-day closure of Kansai International Airport. The impact is likely to be short-lived, however.
  • Australia domestic traffic rose 0.9% in September, from a 1.7% rise in August. Demand has been tracking sideways in seasonally-adjusted terms over the past year or so.

The Bottom Line

“Last month, IATA released its latest passenger forecast showing that demand for air travel could double to 8.2 billion passengers in 2037. Aviation already supports 65.5 million jobs and has an economic impact of $2.7 trillion. With growth comes the opportunity to make an even bigger contribution to global well-being. But governments need to start preparing by investing in adequate airport and airspace infrastructure to support rising demand for connectivity. The recent decision to cancel construction of the much-needed new airport for Mexico City is a backward step that will have negative economic ramifications not only for Mexico’s economy, but also for connectivity options across the Latin American region.

“Aviation is the business of freedom. It improves lives and livelihoods and makes the world a better place. But to grow the benefits of aviation, governments need to do their part, by providing sufficient airport and airspace capacity, at an affordable price, and at a quality aligned with our technical and commercial needs,” said de Juniac.

Passenger Demand Rebounds October 2018

Global passenger traffic results for October showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 6.3% compared to the same month last year. This marked a rebound from 5.5% growth recorded in September, which was an eight-month low. Capacity also grew 6.3% and load factor was flat at 81.1%, matching last year’s record for the month.

“October’s healthy performance is reassuring after the slower demand growth in September—some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions. However, the bigger picture is that traffic growth has moderated compared to earlier in the year, reflecting a more mixed economic backdrop and reduced demand stimulation from lower fares,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Total Market 100.0% 6.3% 6.3% 0.0​% 81.1%
Africa 2.2% 1.7% 1.3% ​0.3% 71.1%
Asia Pacific 33.8% 7.6% 7.0% ​0.4% ​80.8%
Europe 26.7​% 7.4% 6.8% ​0.5% 84.8%
Latin America 5.1% ​6.5% 9.1% ​-2.0% ​80.9%
Middle East ​​9.4% 3.9% 5.8% ​-1.3% ​70.0%
North America 22.8% 4.6% 4.8​% ​-0.1% 83.2​%

International Passenger Markets

October international passenger demand rose 6.3% compared to October 2017, up from 5.1% growth in September. Airlines in all regions recorded gains. Total capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor increased 0.1 percentage point to 79.8%.

  • European carriers’ October demand climbed 7.5% over October 2017, which was the strongest growth among regions and well up on the 5.3% increase for September. Capacity rose 7.0% and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 85.2%, highest among regions. Given mixed signals on the economic situation for the region, it’s unclear if the rebound is sustainable.
  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.8% compared to the year-ago period, up from 5.4% year-over-year growth in September. Capacity climbed 5.4% and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 78.9%. Underlying passenger demand is continuing to be supported by structural changes, including rising living standards in the region, as well as network changes that stimulate demand.
  • Middle East carriers experienced a 4.4% rise in demand in October compared to last year, slowest among the regions for the seventh time in 12 months. It was, however, an increase over the 3.3% increase in September. Capacity increased 6.4%, and load factor slid 1.3 percentage points to 69.8%, lowest among regions. Carriers have been buffeted by policy measures and geopolitical tensions in recent years, including the ban on portable electronic devices and travel restrictions. However, while volatile, passenger volumes are trending up solidly in seasonally-adjusted terms.
  • North American airlines’ traffic climbed 5.6% in October compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9% growth in September. Strong momentum in the US economy is helping to drive robust international demand. Capacity rose 3.7% and load factor surged 1.4 percentage points to 80.4%.
  • Latin American airlines were the only carriers to experience a slowdown in growth as demand rose 5.9% versus 6.3% in September. Capacity climbed 9.1%, and load factor dropped 2.4 percentage points to 80.4%.
  • African airlines’ traffic grew 6.8% year-on-year in October, raised from 6% annual growth in September. The upward trend in passenger demand remains strong notwithstanding challenges in the economic backdrop of the continent’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 5.5%, and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 70.3%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic demand climbed 6.4% in October compared to October 2017, unchanged from September, while capacity rose 6.7%. Load factor slipped 0.2 percentage point to 83.3%. China, India and Russia led all markets with double-digit growth rates.

Domestic 35.9%​ 6.4%​ 6.7%​ -0.2%​ 83.8%​
Dom. Australia 0.9% 1.0% 0.0% 0.8​% 82.4%
Domestic Brazil 1.2% 3.4% 5.8% ​-1.9% 81.4%
Dom. China P. R. 9.1% 12.2% 11.1% ​0.8% ​85.2%
Domestic India 1.4​% 15.0% 17.4% ​-1.7% 83.1%
Domestic Japan 1.1% ​1.7% 2.2% ​-0.4% ​75.1%
Dom. Russian Fed. ​​1.4% 11.7% 8.8% ​2.2% ​83.8%
Domestic US 14.3% 4.3% 5.6​% ​-1.1% 84.8%


  • Russia enjoyed double-digit domestic traffic growth for the third consecutive month as traffic rose 11.7% compared to the year-ago period.
  • Japan’s domestic demand recovered after the significant typhoon-related disruptions in September caused traffic to decline 4.7% compared to a year ago. October traffic rose 1.7%.

The Big Picture

“Demand for air travel is strong as we head into the holiday travel season. Trade wars and uncertainty around the political and economic impact of Brexit remain concerns but the recent easing of fuel prices is a welcome development. In a few days, IATA will hold our annual Global Media Day in Geneva, bringing together more than 100 journalists and bloggers from around the world. We will present our updated economic forecast, among other topics. I always look forward to this opportunity to discuss and debate the key issues and initiatives facing commercial aviation with our colleagues in the media,” said de Juniac.

2.5 Million Brits Have Taken To The Slopes Without Ever Having Winter Sports Travel Insurance

New research from ABTA shows that more than 2.5 million1 British adults who have been on winter sports holidays admit never checking whether they have taken out appropriate insurance for the activities they are undertaking, including skiing and snowboarding.

As Brits prepare to head off on their ski or snowboarding holidays this winter, ABTA is encouraging people of all ages to stay safe both on and off piste, by making sure they have the right level of fitness to enjoy their holiday injury free as well as appropriate winter sports travel insurance.

According to new figures, ABTA Members reported two British ski related fatalities and 197 significant incidents on the slopes overseas in the past 12 months2. However, these figures represent just those cases reported by ABTA Members – and the Association believes the total number of incidents to be much higher.

Snow sports enthusiasts who have an accident on the slopes could face hefty medical bills – running into thousands of pounds if they have to be airlifted off the mountain. Holidaymakers are encouraged to check their travel insurance covers winter sports activities and what is actually included. Overall, just over one in five (22%) people who have ever been on a winter sports holiday never check their insurance – rising to more than a quarter (28%) of people aged 55 and over.  

Meanwhile, younger generations take the most care with their winter sports holiday cover, with only one in seven (15%) 18 to 24 year olds saying they never check if they have the right insurance.

Holidaymakers are also urged to wear a helmet at all times when taking part in winter sports. Many insurance policies request a helmet to be worn regardless of the local legal requirements.

To help skiers and snowboarders prepare for their breaks, ABTA has teamed up with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and The Ski Club of Great Britain to provide helpful advice, from pre-departure to après ski. 

Nikki White, ABTA’s Director of Destinations and Sustainability, said:

“Thousands of people are hitting the slopes each year without the right travel insurance. Many wrongly assume they are automatically covered for winter sports as part of their travel insurance, putting them at risk of costly medical bills if they have an accident.

“As we head into the winter sports season we advise holidaymakers to check their insurance cover before travelling. It’s also important that holidaymakers get themselves ski-fit in order to be safe on the slopes.”    

Susan Crown, FCO Head of Consular Communications and Engagement, said:

“As the ski season gets under way, we recommend anybody heading for the slopes ensures they are well prepared so they have a safe and enjoyable holiday. It’s important to know that the FCO cannot pay medical bills if you are hospitalised abroad nor can we fly you home, and unexpected medical costs or returning to the UK can be very expensive.

“That’s why it’s worth taking a few minutes to be sure all planned activities are covered, and any medical conditions declared. This small step can help ensure that you get the support you need should anything go wrong. We want to encourage British nationals to #SkiSafe this winter.”

Supporting ABTA’s Ski Safe campaign, Darren Neylon, CEO, Ski Club of Great Britain has provided the following advice on fitness, helmet safety and insurance this winter:

“It’s really important to get fit ahead of your ski holiday, even if it’s just a bit of cycling or running at the weekend in the months ahead of your trip - regular exercise could help prevent injuries and make your slope time more enjoyable. Make sure your insurance covers you for all the activities you are likely to do in the mountains as many don’t cover off piste, touring or après ski activities like sledging or ice skating. It’s also worth checking that there are no age or medical condition exclusions applicable before you travel.

“More people are choosing to wear helmets than ever, in fact 97% of skiers and snowboarders who took part in our 2018 Consumer Research said they owned a helmet. When buying a helmet, it is important to check that it meets the correct safety standards, look out for CEN1077, F2040 and Snell RS-98 stickers to ensure they are designed for snow sports. Many resorts now require children to wear helmets and if you are heading into a terrain park, your insurance may require you to wear one too.”

Ex-Team GB Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott has partnered with The Ski Club to take you through some simple exercises which can be watched on the Ski Club of Great Britain’s website.

When booking your holiday, look out for the ABTA logo. By booking with an ABTA member you can travel with confidence and access a range of support, protection and expertise should you need it.

Top tips for having a safe holiday in the snow

  1. Make sure your insurance covers the activities you want to do. Many policies will not cover damage to rental equipment or skiing off-piste without a guide, and many policies require you to wear a helmet at all times.
  2. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) won’t cover all your medical costs, private treatment or return to the UK, so you will need to take out travel insurance to ensure you are fully covered. If you have an accident or become ill your EHIC will still allow you to receive state-provided medical healthcare at the same rate as a citizen of that country. Apply for your free EHIC now at:
  3. Get fit so you can enjoy your holiday. If you’re not physically prepared you’re more likely to injure yourself.
  4. Choose the right route/pistes. It is important to be aware of how pistes are classified to indicate their difficulty. Know your limits and don’t attempt slopes beyond your level of ability.
  5. Remember, many insurance policies require you to wear a helmet on the slopes regardless of the local legal requirements. for more information, advice and tips.
  6. Don’t head off-piste without being fully prepared. For example, you should make sure you take and are able to use competently the appropriate equipment - an avalanche transceiver, a probe pole and a shovel. And check your travel insurance for any restrictions.
  7. Be avalanche aware. Snow reports, weather forecasts and avalanche risk levels are available in resort at the lift stations and at
  8. The sun is much stronger at altitude so appropriate strength sun cream should be worn along with ski goggles or sunglasses which offer 100% UV protection. 
  9. Know your limits. Alcohol affects your resistance and awareness of the cold, and also impairs your judgment, co-ordination and reaction time. Drinking alcohol at altitude will affect you more quickly and your insurance cover may not be valid if you injure yourself or others whilst intoxicated.

Visit for more advice on how to stay safe in the snow.

For information about how the FCO can help British Nationals abroad visit: 

1Calculations by ABTA, based on YouGov data – 23% of GB adults who have been on a winter sports holiday is 11,648,142 (based on ONS 2017 GB population estimate of 50,644,094). 22% of GB adults who have been on a winter sports holiday and never checked their travel insurance is equal to 2,561,426.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from an online survey with a total sample size of 2,000 adults, of which 452 adults had been on a winter sports holiday in their adult life. Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov Plc between 20th and 23rd April 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2ABTA Members identified incidents between October 2017 – October 2018


Europe The Number 1 Destination People Wish To Visit In 2019

More than two-fifths (45%) of people say the sustainability credentials of their travel provider are important when booking a holiday this year – which has almost doubled over the last four years (24% in 2014)1.

The findings are published as part of ABTA’s Travel Trends 2019 report, which highlights that responsible tourism is now becoming an increasingly significant consideration when booking a holiday.

Travel Trends 2019 is based on market information and consumer insights, revealing five key trends expected to shape holiday choices in 2019 and highlighting ABTA’s “12 destinations to watch”. It also identifies that, despite political uncertainty, people are committed to taking holidays and the desire to get a value-for-money break is also expected to influence holiday decisions over the next 12 months.

Responsible tourism goes mainstream

This past year has seen a number of sustainability issues move further into the public's consciousness - with much greater awareness of the impact of plastics on the environment on tourism’s impact on local communities.

The uplift in awareness is also reflected in holidaymakers attitudes to companies – over a third (36%) of people would opt for one travel business over another if they have a better environmental record –  up 13% since 2014 (23%)2.

Responsible tourism has risen further up the agenda and is becoming an integral part of business decisions and planning, with many companies announcing plans to make holidays more sustainable in the long term.

Examples include TUI, Intrepid and G Adventures, who have recently announced plans to further support the local economy and local workers in the destinations they travel to3. Thomas Cook is looking to remove 70 million pieces of single-use plastics within the next 12 months and Eurostar is targeting a 50% reduction in plastics by 2020.

Resurgence of the trusted travel expert

One of the main reasons holidaymakers book with a travel professional is because they feel more confident doing so (45%)4 and Travel Trends 2019 looks into the demand for personal, tailored and expert travel advice.

In an age of limitless choice and information the service travel professionals provide is highly valued - offering a few well-selected holidays which meet the customer’s specific requirements.

Travel companies such as Hays Travel and Barrhead Travel have announced an increase in stores, cruise companies are using travel agents more and more in recognition of the critical part they play in selling cruises and there has a strong uplift in travel professional homeworkers – so all in all, it looks like the trusted travel expert has a bright future.  

People committed to holidays with Europe the top spot

Travel Trends 2019 also reveals that, despite the unprecedented political turbulence and uncertainty of the past year, Britons are firmly committed to taking holidays – with forward bookings for Summer 2019 12% up on this time last year5.

Europe tops the list of places people plan to travel to in the next 12 months, with 61% planning to take a trip to the continent next year. For example, Bulgaria and Greece are set to perform well with an increase in bookings for Summer 2019 of 30% and 6%, respectively6.

The desire to get a value-for-money break is a growing priority, due to stretched household budgets and the continued weak Pound. Package holidays are likely to prove a popular choice in the search for good value, after three in five (60%) people said they booked a package this year because it was the best option for the price.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:

“Sustainability issues are now firmly in the minds of holidaymakers, our research shows people are increasingly conscious of the positive influence they can have through their holiday booking choices and are more mindful of the actions they take. We expect these factors to further inform where and how they holiday next year. The travel industry has been working across a range of sustainability issues for some time now and continue to develop plans and initiatives which support local communities, their economies and the environment.

“With four months to go until we leave the EU, Brexit is getting closer yet the political process is still ongoing. Despite the uncertainty, early indications show people are still booking holidays, reflecting people’s strong commitment and desire to travel.”  

Additional key trends that feature in ABTA’s Travel Trends 2019 report are:

  • Wellness travel is on the rise
    Wellness tourism is now worth an estimated $639 billion globally7, growing more than twice as fast as general tourism. With trips globally up 20% since 2015, travel companies are increasingly catering to the demand for wellness holidays, with companies such as G Adventures, Intrepid’s 18-29 brand and Uniworld offering new programmes which seek to alleviate stress and boost wellbeing.
  • The tailor-made package
    Increasing numbers of holidaymakers look to a package for a good value break, recognising it is often the best option for price, as well as appreciating the ease and consumer protection that comes with it. We’re also seeing travel companies introducing new ways to provide flexible and tailor-made holidays, including Kuoni’s Meraki Travel and Solo travel specialist Just You. This means travellers who want a bespoke trip can do so while still enjoying the protections and reassurances of a package, if they book services together in the same purchase.
  • Technology supports a seamless holiday experience
    Service based technology is making travellers lives easier – from the moment they leave their front door to their return to home soil. Airport luggage drop-off services, facial recognition technology replacing passports, suncream booths and a dedicated departure beach are some of the services being introduced to ensure holidaymakers have smoother journeys.

The full report is available to download from

1,2  ABTA Consumer Trends survey (2014 and 2018), Arkenford.

G Adventures recently introduced a ‘Ripple Score’ tool which shows what percentage of a tour's local spend remains in the local economy. TUI has pledged to deliver 10 million ‘greener and fairer’ holidays by 2020, enabling more local people to share in the benefits of tourism. And Intrepid is supporting small local businesses to benefit from tourism, for example, travellers can visit one of the poorest regions of Myanmar and contribute to local businesses in a responsibly managed way.

ABTA Holiday Habits 2018

5, 6 Data sourced from GfK’s Travel Insights service. Travel Insights is a point of sale service measuring transactional booking data from tour operators and travel agents for outbound leisure travel from the UK.

Global Wellness Institute report, November 2018

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