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Travel Advice Philippines: 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits The Island Of Bohol

Around 113,282 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. A major 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Bohol on Tuesday at 08:12 local time (0012 GMT).

The epicentre was 629 km from Manila. Cebu City is about 60 km away. There have been some reports of casualties on Cebu. The initial earthquake was followed by two aftershocks, each measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a Pacific-wide tsunami threat. The United States Geological Survey have issued a yellow warning saying “some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localised.

Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response.”

British nationals affected by the earthquake are asked to contact the Consular Section in Manila at +63 02 858 2200.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons. There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.

The FCO is aware of a credible and imminent kidnap threat against foreigners in Zamboanga del Norte Province in Mindanao.

On 10 October the US Embassy issued an emergency message to US citizens warning them of the continuing threat from terrorism in southern Mindanao, including Davao, North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudurat, Sarangani and Maguindinao.

On 16 September 2013 the Philippine Bureau of Immigration warned foreign nationals against joining rallies and other mass action protests. Foreign nationals taking part in these rallies may face deportation for violating Philippine immigration laws.

On 9 September 2013 armed clashes took place between militants and the Philippines security forces in Zamboanga city. Sporadic fighting continues and the city’s airport has been closed. A curfew is in place from 8pm until 5am.

The FCO advise against all travel to this region. Any British nationals in Zamboanga city should remain indoors and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, usually between June and November. You should monitor local weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities. With the exception of Philippine Airlines (PAL), all air carriers certified in the Philippines are banned from operating to/from the EU. 

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Travel Advice and News Thailand

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Over 800,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but incidents of crime (sometimes violent) can affect visitors.

Rubber farmers in Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand have been involved in violent anti-government protests which have blocked roads and caused disruption.

You should avoid demonstrations and protests.

The majority of road traffic accidents in Thailand involve motorcycles, but accidents involving other vehicles including cars, coaches and mini-buses also occur.

By law you must carry your passport with you at all times.

Tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport.

Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.

Medical, Travel, Health Insurance for Expatriates, Business Travel and Leisure Travelers/Tourists

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Thailand.

Top tips for Travel to Thailand

Seeking medical, health, travel or expatriate insurance for travel or relocation to Thailand?

You can find a wide range of medical, travel, expatriate and health insurance companies that may be able to provide insurance plans and cover, for group and individual healthcare, when travelling to Thailand, in the iPMI Magazine Thailand Travel, Medical, Expatriate and Health Insurance company guide, click here.

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MSO is a new IAG Assistance Partner in South Africa

Since January 2012, International Assistance Group has set the course for a new strategy: forge partnerships with quality providers. Meant to help its 49 partners grow organically, offering true quality and health-focused outcomes, IAG constantly develops, recruits and trains a comprehensive global network of quality assistance experts and accredited provider partners.

Today, International Assistance Group is happy to inform you that a 14th Partnership has been signed since January. MSO (Medical Services Organisation) has been approved as a new IAG Assistance Partner after a strict selection process. MSO, located in South Africa, is operational for medical cases in Republic of South Africa as well as in sub-Saharan countries.

Glenn Staples, Business Dev Director is happy to present MSO: "MSO International provides healthcare risk management services to the African and South African market with over 1 million contracted lives from private healthcare and insurance companies. MSO's strategy of providing a comprehensive managed care solution across Africa provides healthcare funders with significant and unique advantages that improve their competitive position. Since 2008, MSO has expanded its operations to include a dedicated international division with over 50 staff to manage claims, cases and admissions for international clients with members in Africa. With its head office based in Johannesburg, South Africa and access to more than 6,000 contracted providers across the African continent, MSO International provides the optimal healthcare solution for Africa".

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A New Successful Partnership Signed With D&G Cars, Which Becomes An Assistance Partner In The UK.

In January 2012 International Assistance Group launched a new Partnership Program dedicated to major assistance companies as well as medical or roadside service providers. To develop this comprehensive global network, International Assistance Group recruits and trains quality assistance experts and accredited provider partners.

With a footprint reaching 180 countries, International Assistance Group provides a wide range of medical, travel, roadside and technical assistance services, via a unique global alliance of Core Partners and Assistance Partners and Preferred Providers. The primary objective of this network is to help its Partners grow organically, offering true quality and health-focused outcomes. International Assistance Group is happy to announce a new successful partnership signed with D&G Cars, which becomes an Assistance Partner in the UK. This specialized company supplies Roadside assistance services in UK and Southern Ireland.

Since 2011 D&G Cars had been cooperating with the International Assistance Group as Correspondent in the UK, and decided in 2012 to join formally the International Assistance Group partnership program.

Mike Kenny, Business Development Manager, presents his company: "D&G Cars was established over 25 years ago by our Managing Director, Dennis Harding. During this period it has evolved into what it is today, one of the leading vehicle recovery operators within Great Britain and Europe. Our core business is vehicle recovery, movement and storage. From our Recovery Control Centre based at Upminster, Essex, we provide assistance 24 hours per day. We have fully trained call centre staff on site and operate a fleet of vehicles to service our contractual agreements with major motoring organizations, police forces and government bodies. Our control centre also handles calls for nationwide assistance for a number of major companies such as Hoyer Group, Scania and MAN. Once the call is logged we then organize assistance either ourselves or through our network of contractors. Some breakdowns and recoveries, such as petrol tankers, require very specialist expertise. To this extent a number of our drivers are ADR certified. ADR is The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). We are also proud to have our own, fully Petroleum regulated bay, which is one of only a few in the UK. Aircraft ground movements are taken care of through our subsidiary company D&G Aviation, this again requires careful planning and expertise. For a vast number of years we have provided Motorsport Recovery to our local, world famous racing circuit Brands Hatch. We provide vehicles and staff throughout the racing season come rain or shine. In more recent years our reputation has spread and we now also provide assistance further a field at Silverstone and we have even worked as far Abu Dhabi."

Employing a multilingual team, D&G Cars is the core recovery and assistance contractor for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. There is staff based on the main Olympic site 24/7 plus they have vehicles and staff sited all over London.

About International Assistance Group 

International Assistance Group is a limited incorporated company in Paris (France) regulated under the French law and owned by its Partners. This worldwide commercial alliance of independent companies spanning all the links in the assistance value chain was formed in 1992 by five European companies with the aim of helping each other offer quality assistance to cases.

The group's success has attracted accredited companies from every continent and it now boasts 50 partners and a turnover of over €678 million. More than 6,800 employees take care of 77 million end users. Last year, International Assistance Group® handled over 3.9 million cases and 30,000 repatriations, through 54 continuously attended medical call centres.

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Largest Spanish Automobile Club Joins International Assistance Group As Core Partner in Spain

  • International Assistance Group has recently approved that RACC joins its organisation as Core Partner in Spain.

RACC is the largest automobile club in Spain which provides personal, family, breakdown and urgent medical assistance to one million members as well as to a wide range of companies that have hired the club's services. RACC performs more than 1 million assistance interventions per year (817,000 roadside and travel assistances, 125,000 medical assistances and 187,000 home assistances).

Within these fields of action, it offers a wide range of services to companies, with quality being the common factor for them, based on innovation, technology and staff training.

Daniel Cornudella, RACC Travel Assistance Director explains: "For the RACC, quality is the key. The integration into an organization as International Assistance Group, offers us the chance to improve the assistance we provide to our members and customers during their international trips, extending our ability to assist them worldwide. It also gives us the opportunity to contribute with our experience to the solution of complex cases, which is our speciality, and to do it within International Assistance Group, an organization with which we share our stake in quality and innovation."

Urgent Medical Assistance

The Automobile Club RACC is a specialist in urgent medical assistance. To provide these services RACC relies on an operational team of emergency physicians and nurses and own means of medical transport, including ICU ambulances, helicopters. RACC does also offers services to health insurance companies, mutual insurance companies and companies from the banking/insurance sector. The RACC's Medical Service is internationally represented as member of the AMPA (Air Medical Physician Association) and the EHAC (European Hems & Air Ambulance Committee).

International Assistance Group is a limited company incorporated in Paris (France) and owned by its Partners. This worldwide commercial alliance of independent companies spanning on all the assistance value chain was formed in 1992 by five European companies with the aim of helping each other to provide quality assistance to cases. The group's success has attracted accredited companies from every continent and now is proud to count with 51 partners. More than 6,800 employees take care of 77 million users. Last year, International Assistance Group® handled over 3.9 million cases and 30,000 repatriations.

The synergies between RACC and International Assistance Group which fostered this new partnership became rapidly obvious in view of the large activity of RACC abroad. This requires the access to a consolidated network of Partners and an array of solutions developed by International Assistance Group including cost containment solutions, a database of accredited medical and technical providers worldwide as well as bulk purchasing power and exchange of know-how. On their side, the Partners of International Assistance Group will benefit from the powerful solutions and experience offered by RACC, a leading player in Spain.

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International Assistance Group welcomes European Air Ambulance in its Partnership

International Assistance Group is steadily extending its network of Partners and Preferred Providers, in order to provide the best operational solutions to its Core Partners and their customers. Since January 2012, 17 new Partnerships have been contracted and International Assistance Group boasts today 52 Partners companies in the world. Assistance companies, roadside companies, medical correspondents, air ambulance companies, medical facilities, funeral companies as well as medical escorts companies joined the group. All of them agree on the business opportunities and the power of the knowledge sharing events that International Assistance Group organizes for them three times a year.

After the successful application and selection process of European Air Ambulance, International Assistance Group is happy to announce the entry of this new player in its Partnership Program. European Air Ambulance (EAA) is one of the largest specialised air ambulance service providers in Europe and is offering worldwide air ambulance repatriation with outstanding end-to-end patient care.

EAA founders DRF Luftrettung and Luxembourg Air Ambulance have a combined record of over 45 successful years of experience in air ambulance services. Both together operate more than 50 helicopters and 7 air ambulance aircraft and have performed over 650.000 missions. Together, DRF Luftrettung and Luxembourg Air Ambulance gather medical repatriation experience from over 150 countries worldwide, giving EAA one of the broadest expertise in the air ambulance industry. EAA can also rely on a dense network of international co-operation agreements, which ensures speedy and smooth execution of intensive care transports with bed-to-bed service.

By combining the strengths of DRF Luftrettung and Luxembourg Air Ambulance, European Air Ambulance also improves customer service by providing a single point of contact. Specialised, multilingual staff at the Sales & Mission Control Centre can handle everything from quote to invoice via the safe delivery of the patient to the destination hospital. EAA Fleet is composed of 7 dedicated air ambulance aircraft (5 Learjet 35A and 2 Learjet 45XR). EAA is in the process of renewing its fleet changing gradually from Learjet 35A to 45XR with the next 45XR expected in early 2013.

These aircraft are based in Luxembourg (ELLX) and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (EDSB). All EAA missions are staffed by an experienced intensive care medical team consisting of at least 1 physician and 1 flight nurse or paramedic. EAA can choose the physician from a large pool of anesthetists, neonatologists, pediatricians, gynecologists, obstetricians or other specialists, depending on the patient's medical condition.

EAA members, DRF Luftrettung and Luxembourg Air Ambulance, are compliant with the latest aviation regulations, the JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities) and have the following certifications: EHAC European HEMS & Air-Ambulance Committee AAMS Association of Air Medical Services FSF Flight Safety Foundation JAA Joint Aviation Authorities ISO International Organization for Standardization.

About International Assistance Group

International Assistance Group is a limited incorporated company in Paris (France) regulated under the French law and owned by its Partners. This worldwide commercial alliance of independent companies spanning all the links in the assistance value chain was formed in 1992 by five European companies with the aim of helping each other offer quality assistance to cases. The group's success has attracted accredited companies from every continent and it now boasts 52 partners and a turnover of over €678 million. More than 6,800 employees take care of 77 million end users. Last year, International Assistance Group® handled over 3.9 million cases and 30,000 repatriations. 

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EMA is a new Assistance Partner in Finland

After a successful year, International Assistance Group (IAG) keeps extending its network of Partners and Preferred Providers on a geographical but also functional scale. With this strengthened coverage International Assistance Group Core Partners and their customers benefit from the best operational solutions.

The new Partnership Model has been successfully launched one year ago, and the alliance with 36 Partners on early 2012, counts now with 54 Partners in the world. Providers have been added to the whole Partnership network in order to cover the complete value chain of the assistance activity. Therefore International Assistance Group comprises now assistance companies, roadside companies, medical correspondents, air ambulance companies, medical facilities, funeral companies as well as medical escorts companies. All of them agree on the business opportunities offered by their partnership. In addition they recognize the power of knowledge sharing events that International Assistance Group organizes for them three times a year. A strong operational solution in Finland is now provided by EMA (Emergency & Medical Assistance), who joined the network as Assistance Partner in January 2013.

Cécile Hermetz, General Manager of International Assistance Group declared “We are happy to integrate into the IAG the long established medical experience and know-how of EMA. Our company visited EMA on August 2012 and could measure the professionalism of the enterprise, started by Doctors in 1989 and strongly dedicated to medical assistance.”

As “IAG Assistance Partner”, this specialized company will supply the Medical & Travel assistance services in Finland on behalf of the International Assistance Group Partners. “The oldest and largest medical assistance organization in Finland” EMA Group was founded in 1989 and it is the oldest and largest medical assistance organization in Finland.

The operations started with medical assistance and consultation services. From there on, the activities expanded to emergency medical services (EMS), consulting and training. In 2011, Medivida and Via Healthcare merged to form a bigger group, EMA Group, which also includes staffing of health care professionals and health care outsourcing services. The company staff is composed of physicians from different fields of medical specialties, nurses and other professionals. EMA offices and medical equipment storage are located in Helsinki, Finland as well as ground ambulance garage. This is where EMA’s medical escorts depart. EMA and its partners have a ground and air ambulance network covering the whole country.

Aki Kamppinen, Managing Director of EMA said “EMA is really happy to join the International Assistance Group network. We are looking forward to working together with other IAG Partners to deliver a comprehensive service to our customers. Knowledge sharing and networking were additional important factors for EMA to join IAG. EMA brings to the group a long history and vast know-how in the medical case management and assistance areas. ”

On behalf of the International Assistance Group Partners, EMA multilingual team can provide travelers medical assistance and air ambulance repatriations in addition to the medical consultation service for flight and marine crew, medical clearances for flight companies, emergency medicine and travel related training, which they already provide in Finland.

“The Assistance Partnership opted by EMA is a first step to the IAG Partnership as the insurance portfolio developed by EMA is covering increasing numbers of Finnish citizens travelling abroad. During the last months EMA has won important contracts with Finnish insurance companies which means that EMA delivers services to all the major Finnish insurance companies”, expressed Cecile Hermetz.

About EMA

EMA has treated more than 17 000 patients abroad in 150 countries since 1989. In one third of the cases they have arranged repatriation with a doctor, nurse or intensive care team. Annually about 1,000 cases are handled by EMA multilingual team. Over 90% of the cases are heavy medical cases where the patient is hospitalized. EMA provides Aviation Medical Service and Medical Clearances (medifs) for flight companies.

EMA also offers Medical Consultations for flight crew and marine crew. As medical consultant, EMA holds resuscitation lectures and hands-on training every year. Lectures can be also related to traveling and travel health.

http://www.ema.fi

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Online Claims Submission Now Available For International Business Travelers Covered by Cigna

Online Claims Submission Now Available For International Business Travelers Covered by Cigna

International business travelers covered under a Medical Benefits Abroad® (MBA) plan from Cigna Global Health Benefits, a division of Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI), now have the option to submit their claims online directly through CignaEnvoy.com. The new feature also provides access to an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payment method called ePayment Plus, which adds another electronic option for customers to receive reimbursement from submitted claims.

When traveling on international business, it’s important that customers have access to quality health care when they need it. The Cigna MBA plan provides medical coverage for unexpected illness and injuries that occur while traveling on international business outside of a customer’s home or permanent assignment country. Any MBA customer who is a registered Cigna Envoy user can file an online claim through a few simple steps. “More and more, customers are going online to learn about products and services, including their health care coverage,” said Sheldon Kenton, director of Cigna's Global Sales and Client Management.

“Having the ability to submit a claim quickly, securely and at any time during the day is an absolute necessity for our MBA customers. We want to make it easy to do business with us, and this is just another way we do that.”

Four different plan designs offer the flexibility to choose the appropriate level of coverage. In addition to medical, Cigna MBA plans may offer coverage for prescription drugs and replacement medication for lost prescriptions that are medically necessary, dental emergencies, medical evacuation, and other benefits. MBA customers can use Cigna Envoy to file online claims and to access other helpful information including country-specific health resources, a list of pre-screened doctors and hospitals that bill Cigna directly, as well as currency and exchange rate information, security alerts and immunization requirements.

For more information, please visit www.CignaGlobalHealth.com or call 1.800.796.1156.

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Archipelago Insurance Ltd Enters Malaysian Medical Insurance Market

Archipelago Insurance Ltd Enters Malaysian Medical Insurance Market

Archipelago Insurance, a general insurer, licensed by the Labuan Financial Services Authority is launching Ultracare medical insurance plans, developed by InterGlobal, a UK private health insurer. Ultracare will be marketed through both offshore and locally registered insurance brokers, plus through licensed financial advisors at the Bank Negara Malaysia.

Commenting, Archipelago Insurance Group director Alan Chew Cheong Yew said: “We hope to attract 500 clients within our first year of selling the product, generating about RM7.5 million in gross premiums.”

According to Chew, the target market will be expatriates and high net-worth individuals looking for customized comprehensive international private medical insurance plans that will provide the right cover, at the right time. Target market will initially focus on the Klang Valley growing to include areas with high a concentration of expatriates like Johor Baru, Penang and cities in East Malaysia.

The International consultant company Roland Berger Strategy Consultants recently reported, that Malaysia’s medical and insurance sector is expected to more than triple by 2020 to reach US$5 billion, from its current US$1.5 billion, presenting excellent growth opportunities for the health insurance sector.

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Willis North America Announces 8th Annual Managed Care Organization Roundtable

  • Health Plans Confront Strategic Decisions in Advance of 2014 Health Care Reform Rollout.

Willis North America, a unit of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker, announced today the 8th Annual Willis Managed Care Organization Roundtable, September 10-11, in Chicago, IL. The Willis Managed Care Organization Roundtable brings together leading specialists from the Willis Managed Care Practice, a sub-specialty of Willis’ National Health Care Practice with risk management representatives from dozens of managed care organizations, including group health insurers, pharmaceutical benefit managers, local government-sponsored plans, Independent Provider Associations (IPAs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) of all sizes for educational and networking opportunities.

Entitled, Managing the Fork in the Road, this platform of risk management insight is designed to help firms manage today’s complex risk and regulatory environment in the wake of health care reform and also features commentary from key insurance carrier partners and consultants. The forum will also feature a case study that introduces a unique decision-support tool, the Risk-Based Capital Financial Impact Analysis. This unique Willis offering helps organizations quantify their residual risk tolerance at a time when the challenges of capital constraints due to health care reform are colliding with new capital adequacy reporting requirements coming online in 2015.

Commenting on the event, Frank Castro, National Health Care Practice Leader, Willis North America, said, “Health plans are confronted with making strategic decisions in advance of the 2014 health care reform rollout. Plans are struggling with the loss of a clear identity and position in the marketplace, the burden of very sick Exchange enrollees coupled with low Exchange product pricing, and most importantly, being viewed as failing to bend to the health care cost curve. As a result, plan risk managers are focused more than ever on their organization’s limited risk tolerance.” “Through the Roundtable, Willis is committed to nurturing a unique peer community for health plan risk managers and insurance buyers. We are proud to offer a platform that helps connect the dots between the managed care industry’s business challenges and the value of insurance and risk management solutions that enhance managed care organizations’ risk capacity,”

Castro continued. Experts will lead a variety of educational sessions, including:

When You Come To A Fork In The Road, Take It: The Payor-Provider Blur - Ronnie Brownsworth, Piedmont Health Care; Diane Holder, UPMC Health Plan; Robert Margolis, Healthcare Partners/DaVita; Ken Weixel, Deloitte; and Frank Castro, Willis. Are Public Exchanges Riskier Than Plans Planned? – Sherry Call, WellPoint; Walter Zelman, California State University at Los Angeles; Leesa Tori, The Tori Group; and Micah Weinberg, Healthy Systems Project. Advantages and Challenges of Not-For-Profit Status - Dan Hilferty, Independence Blue Cross; Doug Smith, UT CO-OP Arches Health; Steve Ziegler, AvMed; and Jim Crotti, Willis. Translating RM-Speak Into Business Metrics - Ed Downey, Cubist Pharmaceuticals; Zakia Campbell, Willis; and Chrystina Howard, Willis.

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire.

Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

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Medical, Healthcare, Expatriate And Travel Insurance

A guide to leading international medical, healthcare, expatriate and travel insurance underwriters, companies, providers, operating within leisure, expatriate and corporate travel business markets, globally.

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