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iPMI Magazine provides premium and freemium content delivery solutions specifically tailored to the international private medical insurance market.

Using the latest technology, iPMI Magazine delivers critical iPMI business communications to an eclectic worldwide readership, from international medical payor to global service provider. 

iPMI Magzine News classifications include:

Write to ipmi[at]ipmimagazine.com to learn more, or to submit content. 

About iPMI Magazine

Due to the nomadic nature of the international private medical insurance (IPMI) industry, iPMI Magazine is an internet based news service for worldwide insurance and assistance professionals who need to understand the impacts of insurance and healthcare policy, regulatory, and legislative developments.

Over 40,000 senior level business decision makers, in over 120 countries, rely on iPMI Magazine to stay 1 step ahead of the risk and on the inside track of international PMI. Covering business travellers, high net worth individuals, expatriate and leisure travel markets, iPMI Magazine is the only international news source covering the most exciting sector of international health insurance: international private medical insurance.

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Aviva Launches 1st Annual UK Risk Insights Report

  • 69% of businesses said the long-term impact of Covid-19 on their business will be negative
  • Businesses twice as likely to say impact of Brexit has been negative rather than positive
  • Cyber is a top-five risk as businesses increase homeworking and diversify through digital
  • Only 11% of businesses said climate change and extreme weather events was a top-five risk
  • 89% of businesses believe they are resilient to business risks
  • Only 47% said they regularly undertake health and safety risk assessments
  • Report comes as Aviva launches a new risk management website to provide expert guidance and support

British businesses have loosened their grip on the climate emergency as they continue to battle the Covid-19 crisis, with many employers stating that their business is not exposed to any risks as a result of climate change, Aviva’s first annual Risk Insights Report1 shows.

Commissioned by Aviva with YouGov, the research canvassed the opinions of 1,260 business leaders from organisations of all sizes, industries and locations across the UK.

The report charts the top concerns on the minds of British employers, with Covid-19, Brexit, and business and supply chain interruption dominating the top three spots. Climate change ranked as the number 13 risk faced by businesses, with just 11% identifying it and extreme weather events as one of their top five concerns. 

The Top 10 Risks facing UK Businesses*

1.   Public Health Events – 46%

6. Macroeconomic developments – 26%

2.   Changes in legislation and regulation – 35%

7. The health and mental wellbeing of employees – 19%

3.   Business and supply chain interruption – 32%

8. Shortage of skilled workforce – 17%

4.   Loss of reputation and brand value – 29%

9. Market developments – 16%

5.   Cyber security and cyber incidents – 27%

10. New and changing technology - 16%

*Business leaders were asked to select up to five risks. The table ranks the top risks by the proportion of businesses that stated that risk is one of the five risks they are most exposed to 

While 89% of businesses believe they are resilient to business risks, less than half (47%) of all businesses said they regularly undertake health and safety risk assessments, fire risk assessments (33%) or business continuity planning (28%). This is especially concerning, given that some assessments are required by law (e.g. health and safety, fire). Small businesses in particular are struggling to prepare: 42% of small businesses said they have not carried out any of the main risk management activities in the past 12 months.  

Coronavirus

Operating in the midst of a global pandemic has presented businesses with an ongoing series of challenges of a breadth and depth previously unknown. Looking to the future, 69% of businesses said the long-term impact of Covid-19 on their business will be negative. For 39% of businesses, lower growth is expected as a result. So it is not surprising that businesses said they are more “worried” about the impact of Covid-19 than any other risk in the research.

Brexit

Business leaders were more than twice as likely to say that the impact of Brexit on their business has been negative rather than positive. This outlook reflects the risks businesses face from legislative and regulatory changes, which was the second largest risk business leaders said they are exposed to, after public health events.

Businesses say they face a wide range of risks during a potentially bumpy period as the UK seeks to develop new trading relationships outside the EU. For example, supply chains that previously relied on the free movement of goods and services across the EU have had to be reviewed and revised.  Aviva’s research shows that three-in-ten (31%) businesses said they were actively looking to source from local or British suppliers to help ensure greater transparency and control, especially as consumer attention on a business’ supply chain has heightened. One-in-six (17%) business leaders identified a shortage of skilled workers as a top-five risk for their business, reflecting uncertainty in the supply of labour post-Brexit.

Climate Change

Only 11% of businesses ranked climate change and extreme weather events as one of their top five risks. While current risks facing British businesses are pressing, they should not be the only risk management and prevention considerations taken by businesses.

More than one-in-three (36%) businesses said they were not exposed to any risks as a result of climate change. Businesses cannot ignore the very real risks associated with climate change and climate-related extreme weather events. Those businesses that did recognise climate-related risks said they are most exposed to economic and market risks (29%) as a result of the climate emergency, followed by regulatory and legal changes (24%) and operational disruption (21%).

Cyber

In response to the challenges of operating in the midst of a pandemic, nearly half (48%) of businesses said they increased their digital adoption of technology. They did so largely to reduce their cost base (28%) and diversify their operations (27%). However, the migration online also poses a significant and growing risk, with more than one-in-four businesses (27%) – and one-in-three large corporates (36%) – listing the risk of cyber attacks as a top risk faced by their business.

The impact of a cyber attack can be crippling: 44% of businesses said they would face operational disruption in the event of a cyber attack; 42% said loss of data; and one-in-three said loss of customer confidence (33%), financial impact (33%) and loss of reputation (32%) would all stem from a cyber attack. However, 20% of business leaders said they did not think they were exposed to any Cyber risks, highlighting the need for greater awareness of cyber risks.

Nick Major, Interim Managing Director, Commercial Insurance, Aviva, said, “Businesses have had to deal with a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the past year, and the agility and determination they have shown in response to the challenges they have faced has been extraordinary.

“The pandemic has underscored how increasingly interconnected and complex the risk landscape is; the importance of a strategic, proactive programme of risk management and prevention has never been clearer.

“Looking ahead, the challenge for businesses will be to juggle a multitude of pressing risk management priorities: managing the uncertainty of operating in a current pandemic, knock-on risks such as supply chain disruption, emerging risks such as cyber, while not forgetting fire and flood, and the evolving threat of climate change, which in the long-term pose some of the most disastrous risks to business. The ability to manage the immediate threat, but retain an eye on the evolving and longer-term risks is going to be critical for business.

“The explosion of homeworking and the move online through  successive lockdowns has created an opportunity for cyber criminals; as our dependency on technology grows, so too must our emphasis on the prevention and protection from the increasing threat of cyber attacks. Cyber is now one of the biggest risks businesses face.

“British businesses are strong and resilient, and will emerge from the challenges of the current pandemic and Brexit. But evolving risks such as cyber and climate change remain the most significant long-term threats, not just for business, but for society. Failure to address the climate emergency now jeopardises our collective future, and UK businesses have a responsibility to act today to ensure a better tomorrow.”

At a time where 83% of businesses recognise the need to maintain or increase their focus on risk management strategies, quick access to expert guidance and support is key. Aviva’s report coincides with the launch of the new Aviva Risk Management Solutions website to assist all businesses large or small, providing access to guidance to help identify, understand and mitigate the current, and – importantly – new emerging risks they face.  The new website can be found at https://www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions/.

1 Aviva commissioned YouGov to conduct research amongst business leaders in a variety of industries in the UK in order to understand their views on topics such as business risks, changes to ways of working, ESG, regulatory challenges and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Fieldwork was conducted between 3rd - 24th September 2020 and  included views of 1,260 UK senior business leaders from 648 small, 312 mid-market and 300 corporate companies (as defined by their annual revenue), from a variety of industries: Professional and business services, manufacturing and industry, construction and real estate, arts, entertainment and leisure, technology and electronic, retail and wholesale, motor trade, charities, and the public sector.

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AXA & Eurasia 2019 Future Risks Report

The report finds that the main risks in the next five to ten years will relate to climate changetechnology and geopolitical instability. Risks are increasingly interconnected, meaning that protective measures must be considered through a global, interdisciplinary, and multi-stakeholder approach.

For the 2019 edition, AXA has formed a partnership with Eurasia Group, a US-based leading geopolitical advisory and consultancy services firm. This collaboration has enabled AXA to enhance its in-depth risk knowledge and extend the scope of the report to encompass geopolitical trends, which are rapidly re-shaping the global risk environment.

More than 1,700 risk experts from over 50 countries contributed to the 2019 survey. 

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE.

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U.S. Insurance Industry’s Structured Securities Holdings Top $1 Trillion

The U.S. insurance industry’s overall holdings of structured securities rose for a third straight year, by nearly 7% in 2018, and now top the $1 trillion mark, according to a new AM Best report.

The new Best’s Special Report, titled, “Insurers’ Structured Securities Holdings Continue to Rise,” states that all three U.S. insurance segments grew their structured securities holdings in 2018, with property/casualty holdings up by 14.3%; life/annuity holdings by 4.1%; and health by 22.2%. Market issuance of structured securities declined marginally in 2018, by 3%, but was up 4.9% in 2017, after rising 11% in 2016 and 16% in 2015. Collateralized loan obligations (CLO) issuance dropped by nearly 5% in 2018 to $280.7 billion, but between 2016 and 2017 had more than doubled. Insurers continue to add to their CLO allocations, with industry holdings climbing consistently each of the last five years, up 28% in 2018 to $82.2 billion. The life/annuity segment holds roughly 80% of industry CLOs, and its holdings increased by 25% in 2018 to approximately $65 billion.

Other report highlights include:

  • Since 2016, the life/annuity segment has reported a decline of 7.2% in residential mortgage-backed securities, but increases of 13.1% in commercial mortgage-backed securities, and 14.9% in other asset-backed securities.
  • New issues of student loan-backed securities (SLABS) increased by 18% in 2018 to $18.9 billion, following a decline of more than 2% in 2017.
  • The life/annuity industry was the only major U.S. insurance segment to reduce its SLAB holdings in 2018, but all three increased their SLAB holdings substantially in 2017, with the life/annuity segment increasing its holdings by almost $2 billion (31%).
  • Insurers’ holdings in auto loan-backed securities remain modest, at $16 billion, as are holdings in credit-card backed securities. Exposure is minimal, and over 98% are investment grade.

Structured securities can provide bond portfolio diversification, and AM Best views allocations to various types of structured securities as it would many other traditional asset classes, and expects companies to be able to discuss their investments in detail as part of the rating process.

To access the full copy of this special report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=288181.

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How To Submit News, Articles and Case Studies To iPMI Magazine

iPMI Magazine provides premium and freemium content delivery solutions specifically tailored to the international private medical insurance market.

Using the latest technology iPMI Magazine can deliver critical business communications to an eclectic worldwide readership from international medical payor to provider. 

News classifications include:

Write to ipmi[at]ipmimagazine.com to learn more or to submit content. 

About iPMI Magazine

Due to the nomadic nature of the international private medical insurance (IPMI) industry, iPMI Magazine is an internet based news service for worldwide insurance and assistance professionals who need to understand the impacts of insurance and healthcare policy, regulatory, and legislative developments. Over 40,000 senior level business decision makers, in over 120 countries, rely on iPMI Magazine to stay 1 step ahead of the risk and on the inside track of international PMI. Covering business travellers, high net worth individuals, expatriate and leisure travel markets, iPMI Magazine is the only international news source covering the most exciting sector of international health insurance: international private medical insurance.

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International SOS Advises Organisations To Prepare For Hurricane Season 2019

As hurricane season begins, International SOS, the world’s leading medical and security risk services company, advises organisations and their travellers to prepare for extreme weather conditions, as the Atlantic is predicted to see similar storm patterns of previous years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center recently released its predictions1  for this year's hurricane season, forecasting a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season.

“Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30, 2019. On average, we typically see about 12 named storms per hurricane season with six of those becoming hurricanes. Of these six hurricanes, we can expect three of them to be major storms,” said Dr. Robert Quigley, Senior Vice President and Regional Medical Director of International SOS and MedAire. “Although we are on track for a normal hurricane season, these extreme weather conditions bring on a lot of risks for travellers and the communities being affected.”

For 2019, NOAA forecasts a range of nine to 15 named storms that will carry winds 39 mph or higher. Of the storms, four to eight are predicted to become hurricanes with winds 74 mph or higher. Additionally, two to four of these hurricanes are expected to land between a 3-5 category hurricanes that can be just as destructive as, if not more, than last year's Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas and Hurricane Michael in Florida.

“Over the last several years we have experienced brutal hurricanes that caused a lot of devastation in multiple areas,” said Matthew Bradley, Regional Security Director of International SOS and Control Risks. “The frequency and severity of such hurricanes not only have a tragic cost to human life but businesses in affected areas have suffered too. As hurricane season approaches, it is important to implement safe practices that prepare businesses and travellers for extreme weather conditions, and education is the best way to do this.”

International SOS plays a leading role in providing natural disaster assistance and support in the event of the medical and security risks that can arise from hurricanes. Below is some best practice guidance for organisational preparedness:

  • Identify and assign risk ratings to locations and facilities based on the probabilities of hurricane impact using historical geographic data.
  • Provide all tools necessary that impact your personnel in the workplace, helping to support business continuity.
  • Be prepared to suspend travel to and operations at at-risk locations for periods of a week or more.
  •  Establish appropriate thresholds for restricting travel and a clear structure in place to communicate these measures throughout the organisation, both locally   and      more broadly.
  • Account for access disruption, to include enabling employees to have the capability and equipment to work from remotely/from home.
  • Develop pre-scripted messages and test means of mass notification to ensure functionality of messaging prior to an emergency.
  • Consider a table-top exercise of your organisation’s incident management or business continuity plan to assess preparedness and identify areas for improvement.
  • Ensure reliable information sources are available to travellers and staff to stay apprised as storm paths and severity.

For organisations interested in protecting their workforce during hurricane season, a pre-scripted playbook and plan can be downloaded here. Country risk ratings, which take into account impacts from natural disasters, can be viewed on the award-winning Travel Risk Map.

1 https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-predicts-near-normal-2019-atlantic-hurricane-season

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Extreme Storms, Wildfires And Droughts Cause Heavy Nat Cat Losses In 2018

  • Eventful second half of the year contributes to high overall loss figure of US$ 160bn.
  • Half of these losses were insured. Loss burden for insurers substantially higher than the long-term average.
  • Notably, there are clear indications of the influence that man-made climate change has had on devastating wildfires in California, which, like last year, again caused billions in losses in 2018.

Munich Re Board member Torsten Jeworrek comments, “2018 saw several major natural catastrophes with high insured losses. These included the unusual phenomenon of severe tropical cyclones occurring both in the US and Japan while autumn wildfires devastated parts of California. Such massive wildfires appear to be occurring more frequently as a result of climate change. Action is urgently needed on building codes and land use to help prevent losses. Given the greater frequency of unusual loss events and the possible links between them, insurers need to examine whether the events of 2018 were already on their models’ radar or whether they need to realign their risk management and underwriting strategies.”

Overview of natural catastrophe figures for 2018

  • Overall losses of US$ 160bn were above the inflation-adjusted average for the last 30 years (US$ 140bn). This year’s losses were below the extremely high losses of 2017, which had totalled US$ 350bn and were due mainly to record hurricane losses.
  • At US$ 80bn, insured losses were substantially above the inflation-adjusted average for the last 30 years (US$ 41bn), but below last year’s record figures (US$ 140bn).
  • Regrettably, some 10,400 people lost their lives in 2018 as a result of natural catastrophes. Compared with the average of 53,000 over the past 30 years, however, a decrease can be seen. This long-term trend is a clear indication that, from a global perspective, measures to protect human life are starting to take effect.
  • The deadliest disaster of 2018 was a seven-metre tsunami that took the Indonesian city of Palu by surprise on 28 September following an earthquake nearby. Thousands of buildings were destroyed and some 2,100 people were killed. A further tsunami hit coastal regions of Sumatra and Java – islands of Indonesia – on the evening of 22 December. The metre-high tidal wave is thought to have been caused by an underwater landslide triggered by an eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano. Since existing tsunami early-warning systems only respond to earthquakes, the metre-high wave caught inhabitants unawares. At least 400 people died.
  • The most expensive natural catastrophes occurred in the US: The costliest events were “Camp Fire”, a wildfire in northern California with overall losses of US$ 16.5bn and insured losses of US$ 12.5bn, and Hurricane Michael (overall losses of US$ 16bn, and insured losses of US$ 10bn).
  • The sustained drought which caused substantial agricultural losses and many wildfires was Europe’s costliest natural disaster of the year. Direct losses came to US$ 3.9bn (€3.2bn), with only a small proportion of these losses insured. Low water levels on many rivers lasting well into the autumn impacted river traffic and thus also freight transport and the economy.

Worst-ever wildfire season in California – for the second year running

In the autumn, California saw the most damaging wildfires in US history. In early November, the Camp Fire more or less completely destroyed the small town of Paradise in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada about 140 km north of Sacramento. Drought and strong winds helped to fuel the fire, and hilly terrain and limited access routes made it more difficult to put the fire out. On 8 November, authorities ordered the evacuation of the area’s approximately 27,000 residents. Despite this, 86 people were killed. Thousands of homes and cars were gutted by fire. The region has always been threatened by wildfire but had never experienced anything as large or as violent as this. The Camp Fire alone caused overall losses of US$ 16.5bn, with US$ 12.5bn in insured losses, making it the costliest natural catastrophe of the year.

At about the same time, the Woolsey Fire broke out in the Los Angeles area and mainly left its mark in the hills of the celebrity town of Malibu. Around 1,600 houses were destroyed. Due to the high values of the homes involved, overall losses came to US$ 5.2bn, with around US$ 4bn in insured losses. All in all, wildfires in California contributed losses totalling US$ 24bn to the overall 2018 nat cat loss burden, with US$ 18bn of this insured.

Ernst Rauch, head of Climate and Geosciences at Munich Re said, “Our data shows that the losses from wildfires in California have risen dramatically in recent years. At the same time, we have experienced a significant increase in hot, dry summers, which has been a major factor in the formation of wildfires. Many scientists see a link between these developments and advancing climate change. This is compounded by man-made factors such as burgeoning settlements in areas close to forests at risk from wildfire. The casualties and losses are immense, and measures to prevent fires and damage are vital. Insurers also need to take account of the rising losses in their risk management and pricing.”

Hurricanes in the US cause one-fifth of overall losses worldwide

From a global perspective, the 2018 cyclone season will be seen as statistically unusual: tropical cyclone activity levels in the world’s different ocean basins usually varies from one place to another in intensity and frequency. This year, however, named tropical storms in all northern-hemisphere ocean basins outnumbered the long-term average. Prominent among these was the high number of typhoons that hit Japan and the two direct hurricane strikes on the US mainland. In total, cyclones worldwide caused above-average overall losses of US$ 56bn. Approximately half of the losses were insured.

Following a relatively quiet start to the North Atlantic season, a flurry of hurricane activity took off in early September. El Niño conditions that normally help to suppress hurricane activity developed too late to inhibit the 2018 season. The costliest event was Hurricane Michael, which reached the US mainland on 10 October on the northwest Florida coast. With wind speeds of 250 km/h, it is the fourth-strongest storm ever to hit the US. The overall loss is estimated at US$ 16bn. Given the extensive wind damage from Hurricane Michael, insured losses came to US$ 10bn as storm cover is widespread in the US both in the private and commercial-industrial sectors.

By contrast, the share of insured losses was much lower from Hurricane Florence, which had hit the North Carolina coast just three weeks earlier. This is because most of the losses caused by Florence were due to flooding caused by Florence’s torrential rains, and insurance against flood damage is much less widespread in the US than windstorm coverage: estimated insured losses of US$ 5bn out of a total of US$ 14bn in overall losses. It would certainly make sense to have higher insurance density against flood losses given that studies have shown the influence of climate change on torrential rainfall events on the Gulf of Mexico coast, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Japan hit by an unusually high number of natural catastrophes

In 2018 Japan suffered at the hands of both weather-related disasters and geophysical natural catastrophes: A number of typhoons and two earthquakes caused billions in losses.

The typhoon season saw a total of seven storms hit or skirt the islands of Japan in 2018. Five of the storms made landfall or came very close to land with typhoon strength and brought with them torrential rainfall. The development of a particular variant of the climate oscillation El Niño, the central Pacific El Niño, caused circulation conditions that significantly increased the likelihood of a typhoon directly hitting the Japanese mainland. The severest storm was Typhoon Jebi with overall losses of US$ 12.5bn and insured losses of around US$ 9bn, making it one of the costliest typhoons in Japan’s history.

Torrential rainfall in July brought major flooding, especially in the Hiroshima area. Some parts saw as much as almost 2,000 millimetres (litres per square metre) of rain in just 10 days. In total, 11 prefectures were affected by floods and landslides, mostly in the southwest of the main island of Honshu. Losses from the flooding alone amounted to US$ 9.5bn, of which US$ 2.4bn was insured.

Weather-related catastrophes aside, two earthquakes in Japan also caused losses of US$ 9bn in total and insured losses of nearly US$ 2bn. Thanks to the strict building standards in Japan, damage was limited.  

The Philippines were hit by Super Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) with wind speeds of up to 270 km/h. Despite hundreds of thousands of people being evacuated, about 100 people lost their lives in this (highest) Category 5 tropical storm. Despite the high number of casualties, this event actually showed that early warnings and timely evacuation measures can help to avoid tragedies such as that caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 with its more than 6,000 fatalities.

In Europe, a long, hot and exceptionally dry summer caused billions in losses, especially in agriculture. Following a long winter, spring soon saw summer-like temperatures in large parts of Europe. Many countries had virtually no rain for several months. Cereals and field crops ripened too early, and fodder for livestock became scarce in many regions. In some places, there were partial or even complete crop losses. Rivers had too little water and prices for commodities such as petrol and diesel drastically increased after ships were unable to carry full loads until as late as the autumn. This also negatively impacted many companies, which were not covered against such weather fluctuations. In Scandinavia, the drought led to violent wildfires.

The droughts caused direct losses of US$ 3.9bn (€3.2bn), which does not include indirect losses through lost production or high commodity prices. Only a fraction of these losses was covered (US$ 280m, €230m), as in many countries farmers only take out insurance against individual perils, usually hail. As agriculture is likely to suffer even greater effects of climate change, such as longer droughts, multi-peril insurance systems that also cover drought would certainly make sense. However, these can only work with co-financing from the public sector. Some countries, for example the US, have already introduced successful systems of this kind. Schemes co-financed by the government also exist in some EU countries, where drought is now an insurable risk.

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Top International Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) Magazine Risk Management Business News 2015

Indian Economy Suffers $3bn Loss From Persistent Floods Amid Low Insurance Penetration

Impact Forecasting launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during November 2015

The report reveals that an enhanced North East Monsoon – almost certainly impacted by current El Niño conditions – brought weeks of torrential rainfall to southern India and Sri Lanka for much of November and early December, killing at least an estimated 386 people in the heavily impacted states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Chennaimetropolitan region in India was particularly damaged by the event.

Total economic losses in India were estimated to reach INR200 billion (USD3.0 billion), asIndia's General Insurance Corporation reported insurance claims of around INR20 billion (USD300 million).

Adityam Krovvidi, Head of Impact Forecasting Asia Pacific, said: "New economic developments in Asia are taking place in flood plains and marsh lands with scant attention to drainage, thus increasing run-off and flooding. The 100-year rainfall event in Chennaiexposed the inherent weakness of the one-dimensional nature of this economic pursuit, and highlights the need for serious introspection, implementation of mitigation measures and the redesign of urban landscapes. Risk assessment can play a major role in awareness and insurance in mitigating the financial hardships. The large gap between the economic and insured loss from the Chennai flood event further emphasises the need for greater insurance penetration in large industrialized cities in Asia. This will become even more important as Asian megacities continue to grow and the risk of major urban flood events increases."

Elsewhere during November, a series of early season winter storms brought periods of frigid temperatures, freezing rain, ice, heavy rainfall, and the season's first major snowfall to many areas of the U.S., killing at least 18 people. The events led to major disruption to travel and caused widespread reports of damage from the Rockies to the Midwest. Total combined economic losses from the events were expected to exceed USD200 million.

Windstorms Heini and Nils (also known locally as "Barney" and "Clodagh") impacted parts of the United Kingdom and Western Europe in the latter part of the month. Total insured losses, primarily driven by Heini (Barney), were expected to exceed USD100 million.

Other natural hazard events to have occurred globally in November include:

  • One of the worst droughts in decades intensified in South Africa as water shortages affected 2.7 million households. Total economic losses were estimated to exceedUSD2.0 billion.
  • Nearly 100 tornadoes touched down in the U.S. in November across the Plains and Midwest.
  • Winter storms swept through northern China that led to minimal economic losses ofUSD268 million.
  • Noteworthy floods impacted portions of Southern Europe, China, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Severe thunderstorms caused tens of millions of dollars' (USD) of damage in South Africa and Australia.
  • A pair of rare cyclones made historic landfalls in Yemen, killing at least 26 people.
  • Multiple wildfires burned just to the north of South Australia's Adelaide, killing two people. The Insurance Council of Australia preliminarily cited 1,344 insurance claims worth AUD119.7 million (USD88 million).
  • A magnitude-5.5 earthquake struck southern Kyrgyzstan damaging almost 4,500 buildings in Osh Region.
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Willis Group Urges Willis And Towers Watson Shareholders To Support Value Creating Strategic Combination

Willis Group Holdings today urged its shareholders, and those of Towers Watson to vote "FOR" the proposed merger of equals between the two firms.

For Willis shareholders, the proposed deal further strengthens the powerful standalone Willis value proposition. The proposed deal enables Willis shareholders to participate in the significant economic opportunity ($4.7 billion of estimated incremental value) generated by the planned combination.

For Towers Watson investors, the deal accelerates the firm's publicly stated long-term strategy. It delivers value to Towers Watson shareholders through clear, compelling synergies and new client opportunities. For Towers Watson shareholders, as Towers Watson has stated, the combination is expected to result in projected cash net income accretion of an estimated 45% by calendar year 20181.

This transaction was unanimously agreed upon by both boards of directors. Willis will contribute 55.8% of the projected combined EBITDA2 in 2016 excluding synergies, is enabling a significant portion of the merger synergies through its Irish domicile, and its CEO and CFO will not hold those roles in the new company. On the day before announcement, Towers Watson contributed 53.6% of the combined market capitalization3. Taking both these positions into consideration, the final terms were negotiated such that the overall economics (including the dividend to Towers Watson shareholders) were split virtually down the middle: 50.9% Towers Watson, 49.1% Willis. This resulted in a modest premium to Willis' unaffected share price, well within the range of "merger of equals" transactions.

Willis continues to believe strongly that the combined Willis Towers Watson will generate significantly higher shareholder returns than either company could have generated on their own. We urge both sets of shareholders to vote for the deal. We would also like to refute ISS' claim that, "Willis may have more riding on the approval of this transaction than Towers". As we displayed this past quarter, we expect to continue to achieve strong growth coupled with significant margin improvement as a result of our operational improvement program. We remain highly confident in our standalone plan and believe we are positioned for several years of strong earnings growth. 

Both Willis and Towers Watson investors will benefit from the significant incremental value the two companies expect to create together. As previously disclosed, the merger can create more than $375 million in incremental annual revenue in the healthcare exchange, large market property & casualty insurance broking, and global benefits consulting business. The companies also project approximately $100 million - $125 million in annual cost savings and $75 million in annual tax savings.

Dominic Casserley, Willis Group Chief Executive Officer, said: "This transaction is expected to generate significant value through very achievable cost savings, incremental revenues and tax benefits. Shareholders should support this deal as it will drive value creation and accretion to earnings. Willis remains committed to closing the transaction on the agreed terms."

James McCann, Chairman of Willis Group, said: "At the negotiated terms, this is a ground-breaking, strategic transaction that enhances the competitive position and value creation potential of both companies. We call on shareholders of both firms to support the agreed deal."

Willis will hold an extraordinary general meeting of its stockholders to vote on the proposed merger with Towers Watson at 9:30 a.m. on November 18, 2015 at the Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065. Willis stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 2, 2015 will be entitled to vote at the meeting. Towers Watson will hold a special meeting of its stockholders to vote on the proposed merger with Willis at 8:00 a.m. local time on November 18, 2015 at the Royal Palm South Beach, 1545 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139. Towers Watson stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 1, 2015 will be entitled to vote at the Towers Watson special meeting.

Willis investors with questions about the transaction or how to vote their shares may contact the firm's proxy solicitor, Morrow & Co, LLC at 1 (800) 278-2141. Additional information on how to vote is available at www.willisandtowerswatson.mergerannouncement.com

1 See Towers Watson presentation filed with the SEC on 9th November 2015.

2 See projections on page 108 of the S-4 regarding Towers Watson Adjusted EBITDA and WIllis Underlying EBITDA.

3 Prior to adjustment for the pre-closing dividend to Towers Watson shareholders.

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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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