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Insurance Companies And Products As We Know Them Today Will Have To Evolve

That's according to Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway, who took an executive seat on a recent iPMI Magazine round table business forum.

Although global risks have changed dramatically, medical inflation and the cost of employee benefits continues to cause concern. In the most recent iPMI Magazine Round Table Business Forum we spoke with leading C-Level executives from the world of International Private Medical Insurance about the rising cost of healthcare and medical inflation.

An AON report report shows that in 2015, medical costs are expected to increase by 10.15 percent before plan design changes and vendor negotiations—6 percentage points higher than the average inflation rate. In 2014, the global average medical trend was 10.34 percent. While the global average medical trend is expected to decline, three regions--Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America--are projected to see an uptick in rates for 2015.

Talking to the IPMI round table group about the Aon Hewitt report Griselle Chernys, CEO, at Wellaway told us, “I think that the data is pertinent and probably correct. Healthcare is a commodity that providers will control and deliver as they want, especially in the private sector with IPMI coverage. Hospitals and physicians have the upper hand in the delivery and pricing, thus the need for integrated services. As I heard a physician administrator in a hospital say once, during some insurance pricing negotiation, “this is our price and if you do not like it, I would like to see you admit and deliver the medical care the member needs." As long as the relationship of providers and insurance is antagonistic, a solution will not be able to achieved. More and more hospitals and physicians will develop and deliver health plans via their medical facilities and I predict that the multi-hospital system will develop internationally as it has happened in the USA or as we see with Hospiten and the like.

Insurance companies and products as we know them today will have to evolve.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY added, “Competition between iPMI insurers is intensifying and will continue to do so as new entrants dip their toe into the market and dream of taking a slice of the ever expanding market. Price cutting particularly amongst the employer-sponsored plans is inevitable as the larger players jockey for position and greater market share, all of which is good for the employer in the short term at least. As the saying goes, there is always someone out there who will take the risk. But there has to come a point where underwriters have to make a return on their investment. At this point premiums have to rise and with the relationship between insurers and medical service providers becoming all the more strained as medical treatment fees increase, that day is not too far away. This makes the job of the adviser /broker all the more important."

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH said,Employers are operating in an environment where they need to provide high levels of healthcare for their employees, sometimes due to statutory requirements and other times due to the natural tendency of employers to look after the well being of their workforce. Employers are typically under pressure to keep their operating costs low and when they review their budgets during their annual business planning cycles they will aim to minimise the cost of employee benefits. Due to these cost pressures, there may be situations where employers will downgrade the insurance coverage so that they can afford a plan rather than removing the plan altogether. Globality seeks to find solutions for their clients in these situations.

The global average inflation rate is interesting for comparing one year to the next. However, when it comes to employer-sponsored plans then the specific features of those plans should be considered. This means considering the locations of the insured members, the benefit levels, the treatment providers and network access. Referring to a single global average can be misleading for many employers.”

One of the most common questions we hear within the IPMI industry is: how will the cost of international private medical insurance rise in the next 5 years?

ROMAN BEILHACK, CEO, GLOBALITY HEALTH told us, “Costs are expected to continue to rise at levels above general price inflation. There are continual advances in medical science with new treatments and medicines being developed all the time. It is normal that insured members will demand the best treatments and services available, particularly for expatriates. In order for insurers to offer these new treatments then there will inevitably be premium increases.

However, insurers should not use this as an excuse to increase premiums beyond what is necessary. As can be seen recently, Globality is holding 2016 rates at 2015 levels for many categories of its business."

ARJAN TOOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CIGNA GLOBAL IPMI added, “Medical inflation is driven by unit cost, i.e. the price of each service; and utilization, that is how many and what type of services are used. As the world’s health care standards continue to rise and the range of treatment facilities and breadth of treatment options available continues to increase, it is without doubt that both unit cost and utilisation will also continue to increase.

It’s our job as the insurer to understand these risks and continually evolve our proposition to protect our customers from the impacts of medical inflation as far as possible. We’re continually working on initiatives to help minimize the impact of inflationary volatilities including investments in expanding our medical network and claims teams globally, meaning we can counteract medical inflation spikes to a certain extent as we build long-term relationships with hospital groups. It’s a lot about experience as well - it’s imperative that our claims advisors know the expected cost of a hip operation in Singapore, for example, and can ask the right questions to ensure the costs are appropriate.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to say exactly how premium costs will rise over a 5 year period, but our focus will continue to be on driving forward our mission of helping the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security.”

ANDREW APPS, HEAD OF GLOBAL HEALTHCARE, BELLWOOD PRESTBURY commented, “If I had a crystal ball, it would be easy to answer this; however, the reality is that no one really knows to what extent iPMI premiums are going to rise over the next few years. What is certain is that premiums will continue to increase due to the rising cost of medical treatment along with the ever popular demand for private medical treatment.

That said, increased competition amongst the iPMI providers has, to some degree, helped to keep premiums palatable for most policyholders (putting to one side the notion that nobody likes to see their premiums increase), with average year on year increases running between 5-10% depending upon where a person is living and working. How long this will continue is anyone’s guess, but the market is hotting up with yet more new provider entrants trying their hand.”

GRISELLE CHERNYS, CEO, WELLAWAY added, “The cost of international private medical insurance will rise dramatically and this will be driven by the development and demand for new treatments, pharmaceuticals and technology. Longevity is also playing a role in the inflation and utilization of medical services which creates more demand and demand will drive costs.”

















AXA PPP Healthcare Introduces New Cost-Effective Health Cover

AXA PPP healthcare is now offering medium and larger-sized businesses a new approach to securing affordable health cover and support for the whole workforce.

Benefiting employees who are not covered by ‘traditional’ medical insurance, AccessHEALTH focuses on early intervention and support and, in turn, helps employers tackle key health risks to productivity in their business such as musculoskeletal conditions and mental ill health.

Designed for schemes of 100+ employees and available from 01 January 2016, AccessHealth has:

  • NO exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions
  • NO excess to pay
  • NO ‘qualifying period’ to use the benefits.

And it comes with two cover level options, Core and Plus.

Core level includes:

  • Online private GP appointments from AXA PPP healthcare’s Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere (up to three consultations per membership year)
  • Mental health counselling – telephone support, with five face-to-face counselling sessions where clinically appropriate
  • Musculoskeletal – over-the-phone guidance plus ten physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy sessions (per membership year)
  • 24/7 telephone access to AXA PPP’s dedicated team of nurses, midwives and pharmacists for support with any medical matter or concern
  • Health Gateway – the proactive health portal that provides an intelligent personaised approach to health risk management.

In addition to these features, Plus level covers:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – 12 sessions upon GP referral (per membership year)
  • Consultations – up to three specialist consultations (per membership year)
  • Diagnostics – full refund for specialist-referred in and day-patient tests, scans and surgery to establish a diagnosis.

Chris Horlick, Distribution Director at AXA PPP healthcare, said, “For organisations who want to safeguard their employees’ health but are unable to provide full medical insurance for the whole workforce, AccessHEALTH provides cost-effective access to expert healthcare without any delays and engages people in their own wellbeing.

“As well as bringing a highly valued benefit to workers who, ordinarily, would not have the benefit of company-paid medical insurance cover, AccessHEALTH will help employers to keep their workforce active and healthy and, if they should become ill or injured, provide early access to investigation and treatment of the two biggest causes of sickness absence – musculoskeletal conditions and psychological issues.” 


Bupa's Global Expansion To Drive Growth In Profits, Offsetting Difficult Market Conditions

According to Moody's Investors Service, Bupa Group's successful global expansion in recent years, strong track record in generating capital via retained earnings and good access to debt markets continue to strengthen the British based private health insurer's credit profile.

Moody's report titled "Bupa Group Growing Profitably Despite Difficult Market Conditions" is now available on Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release. This report presents our responses to the most frequently asked questions about the approach we use to rate Bupa's debt obligations, what factors could lead to an upgrade and how the group stacks up against its peers.

"Bupa is a dominant player in various private medical insurance markets globally, including Australia, the UK and Spain", says Helena Pavicic, a Moody's Analyst. "These operations are also complimented by its leading position in a number of emerging markets such as Chile, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Poland, which should provide the group with material organic growth opportunities", added Pavicic.

Bupa's rating currently carries a positive outlook. Factors which could drive an upgrade in Bupa's ratings by one notch include, but are not limited to, a Solvency II ratio sustained above 180%; sustained profitability improvements, notwithstanding tough market conditions; and the continued growth and integration of recently acquired businesses.

Bupa's Baa2 debt rating is derived using standard notching practice from the insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) on Bupa's UK operating entity, Bupa Insurance Ltd (BINS). BINS' A2 IFSR, and consequently Bupa's debt ratings, also incorporate parental support to reflect the growing diversity of Bupa's cash-flows outside the UK, which continue to strengthen the group's ability to service its debt obligations.

Relative to its peers, Moody's believes that Bupa's business profile benefits from the group's strong market position in its chosen healthcare markets and relatively low underwriting risk. Its profitability track record, historically weak relative to peers, continues to improve and better align the group's financial profile with Moody's expectations for an A1 rated group.


OMNIASIG Maintains Its Profitable Growth Trend

OMNIASIG Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) maintains its upward trend in the first three quarters of 2015 and reports a total gross written premium value of 694.31 million lei, which represents an increase of 19.47% compared with the same period last year.

OMNIASIG’s profit during this period was 9.57 million lei, according to IFRS standards. The Property insurances line (Fire and Allied Perils) registered, in the first nine months of the year, a gross written premiums’ value of 134.91 million lei, an amount almost equal to that of the same period of 2014.

During the same period, the Health insurances line registered a gross written premiums growth of 30.07%, reaching a total value of 4.04 million lei.

Also, the results achieved in these three quarters on other important lines were:

  • Accidents and illness insurance: gross written premiums – 6.36 million lei;
  • Aircraft Insurance: gross written premiums – 6.13 million lei; 
  • General Third Party Liability Insurance: gross written premiums – 23.06 million lei;
  • Travel insurance: Gross written premiums – 4.86 million lei;

Motor Insurance (MTPL and Motor Hull, cumulated) registered revenues of 481.64 million lei, up by 26.43%, as follows: -

  • MTPL: Gross written premiums in value of 254.28 million lei
  • Motor Hull: Gross written premiums in value of 227.35 million lei

The total claims paid on these segments amounted to 316.30 million lei, cumulated.

Mihai Tecău, President of the Managing Board of OMNIASIG VIG commented, "We are glad that, on the occasion of the 20 years anniversary in 2015, our company has joined a determinant upward trend. OMNIASIG is a financially stable company that enjoys the trust of our customers and partners. This fact is also shown by the level of satisfaction registered among policyholders, which demonstrates that our concern for continuous improvement of the services we offer and for strenghtening the trust of our clients brings forth fruit. We will move forward with the same strategy based on prudent risk underwriting on all product lines, coupled with permanent and prompt response to our customers' specific needs. Our goal remains the support and the development of non-motor product lines."

With a 65% higher score compared to the industry’s benchmark, OMNIASIG recorded an extremely positive level of satisfaction among customers Starting August 2015 OMNIASIG implemented a system for measuring and evaluating the quality of customer services – the Net Promoter Score (NPS), an internationally validated standard. Customers who had a claim file at OMNIASIG were therefore asked to answer one question about their experience and how the case was handled, the policyholder’s satisfaction and the services quality being measured in an effective manner, on a scale from 1 to 10.

In the first three months from the system’s implementation, the NPS general indicator was 72.96%, of which 72.37% for Motor Hull and 76.94% for household insurances, according to the answers provided by insures. These results show a high degree of satisfaction among our policyholders. Please note that currently 95% of all claim files open by OMNIASIG are paid in less than 5 days after submitting the last document in the file.

As the satisfaction of our customers is the most important aspect of our services quality, this monitoring system will continue to operate on a permanent basis from now on. Also, for the continuous improvement of customer services, the call center line – 021.9669, available for reporting claims and scheduling the ascertainment, has now extended its functioning program, including Saturdays and Sundays.

Powerful downward trend for complaints

The total number of complaints received by OMNIASIG in the first three quarters was 580 (registered per unique claimant and per single case), which represents a decrease of 41.77% compared to the same period of last year. At the same time, justified petitions decreased by 55.80% compared to the first nine months of 2014. The justified petitions received by the company in the first nine months of the year represent 17.07% of the total registered ones, per unique claimant and per unique case.

Compared to the total number of insurance policies issued by OMNIASIG in the first nine months of this year, the volume of registered complaints, per unique claimant and per unique case, represents within this period less than 0.04% and compared with the total number of claim files paid by the company in this period – only 0.97%.

The company continues to prove its financial stability, by maintaining its solvency and liquidity indicators at high levels. The company's share capital is in value of 439.65 million lei, the available solvency margin is 227 million lei, the solvency degree is 164% and liquidity coefficient is 1.80, far above legally required financial indicators.

OMNIASIG Vienna Insurance Group has a complex reinsurance program that covers all the important underwritten portfolios and allows the risk transfer towards the international specialized markets, thus contributing to the strengthening of the company’s financial stability. Companies situated in the world ranking of reinsurers are participating in reinsurance contracts of OMNIASIG VIG. OMNIASIG VIG is a company administered through a dualist system, led by a Managing Board, which is supervised and coordinated by the Supervisory Board. The company has a portfolio of over 100 products and an extended territorial network, of which 32 branches, organized in 6 regions and 85 agencies.

OMNIASIG has a strong sales network, represented by 1,200 agents and 400 brokers. Complaints are declining - only 0.97% of the paid claims

Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) is the leading insurance player in Austria as well as in Central and Eastern Europe. About 50 companies in 25 countries form a Group with a long-standing tradition, strong brands and close customer relations. VIG has had 190 years of experience in the insurance business. With about 23,000 employees, Vienna Insurance Group is the market leader on the insurance markets. It is excellently positioned to take advantage of the long-term growth opportunities in a region with 180 million people. Vienna Insurance Group is the best-rated company of ATX members, the main index of Vienna Stock Exchange. Vienna Insurance Group is also listed on the Prague Stock Exchange..


OUT NOW: International Private Medical Insurance Companies and Providers V1.3 - Adds NEW Wellaway Advertising Campaign

Version 1.3 of the International Private Medical Insurance Provider Directory is out now.

Medical insurance underwriters and providers are represented and International Private Medical Insurance Magazine would like to take this opportunity to say a warm thank you to all of the guide sponsors including ALC Health, Antaé, Cigna Global iPMI, Expatriate Group, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Healthcare International, Integra Global and Wellaway.


List your company in the iPMI Magazine iPMI company guide. Working hand-in-hand with your own company micro website on iPMIM, this guide can land-your-brand on the desk of an eclectic worldwide readership.



OUT NOW: International Private Medical Insurance Companies and Providers V1.2

Version 1.2 of the International Private Medical Insurance Provider Directory is out now with the addition of Antaé, a leading employee benefits firm based in Switzerland.

Based in Lausanne in Switzerland, Antaé is specialised in advice, design and distribution of international mobility solutions: private medical insurance, travel health insurance, assistance and security, protection, kidnap and ransom, pension. Our clients are international corporate businesses and organisations, NGOs, international private schools and international students in Switzerland. Antaé is FINMA registered – N° 28246

Medical insurance underwriters and providers are represented and International Private Medical Insurance Magazine would like to take this opportunity to say a warm thank you to all of the guide sponsors including ALC Health, Antaé, Cigna Global iPMI, Expatriate Group, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Healthcare International, Integra Global and Wellaway.


List your company in the iPMI Magazine iPMI company guide. Working hand-in-hand with your own company micro website on iPMIM, this guide can land-your-brand on the desk of an eclectic worldwide readership.



Bupa Global Appoints Sheldon Kenton As Global Commercial Director

Bupa’s international health insurance business, Bupa Global, is pleased to announce the appointment of Sheldon Kenton to the role of Global Commercial Director.

In this newly created role, Sheldon will report to Robert Lang, Managing Director for Bupa Global, and serve as a member of Bupa Global Executive Team. The role will focus on the growth of Bupa Global’s corporate sales and health benefits business, which provides products and services in over 190 countries, as well as the further development of its institutional distribution partnerships around the world.

Sheldon joins Bupa Global later this year following a long tenure with Cigna Corporation, most recently as Chief Commercial Officer for Cigna Global Health Benefits (CGHB) North America.

Sheldon’s appointment builds on the momentum created by Bupa Global’s significant investment in its international private medical insurance (IPMI) business and commitment to globally-minded and globally-mobile customers. This commitment was demonstrated in 2013 by Bupa’s considerable (49%) investment in a US-based specialist health insurance and services company, and in 2014 when Bupa Global began a strategic global partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 106 million members. 

This partnership created the largest combined healthcare provider network ever formed in the IPMI market. Sheldon’s appointment complements several recent senior industry hires to Bupa Global that strengthen the commercial and clinical teams. These include: Lorna Friedman from Mercer Health & Benefits; Mary Trometer and Nic Brown from Aetna International; Justin Howcroft from Friends Provident International; and Stephen Killian from United Healthcare Global.

Commenting on this appointment, Robert Lang, Managing Director, Bupa Global, said “We are delighted to have Sheldon join our team later this year. He will be instrumental in ensuring Bupa Global’s corporate and health benefits customers access the full scope of Bupa’s significant global presence in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand and Chile, as well as Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India and Thailand.”


OUT NOW: International Private Medical Insurance Companies and Providers V1.1

Underwriters and providers are represented and Team iPMIM would like to take this opportunity to say a warm thank you to all of the guide sponsors including ALC Health, Cigna Global iPMI, Expatriate Group, GeoBlue, Globality Health, Healthcare International, Integra Global and Wellaway.


List your company in the iPMI Magazine iPMI company guide. Working hand-in-hand with your own company micro website on iPMIM, this guide can land-your-brand on the desk of an eclectic worldwide readership.

iPOLICY Magazine Issue 004 June 2015 Powered By International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) from iPMI Magazine on Vimeo.


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The new directory is also featured in our Medical Broker and Intermediary report, iPolicy.

Issue 4 is out now and can be found at:

iPolicy Issue 4 kicks off with an executive interview with the new Managing Director @ Cigna Global iPMI.

About the iPMI Company Directory

Delivering pertinent company information to worldwide insurance brokers, intermediaries and agents the International Private Medical Insurance Magazine iPMI Provider Network Directory is the definitive global resource featuring international medical insurance underwriters and providers.

Identify, select and source the most appropriate insurance partners that may assist you expand your product portfolio range and coverage. Designed by iPMI providers for iPMI brokers, the directory works hand-in-hand with iPMI Magazine company micro web sites. Follow the interactive links throughout the directory for more company intelligence and content.

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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.