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PA Group Named Charles Jorge New President

PA Group, Premier Assurance Group SPC Ltd., announced the appointment of Charles Jorge, who served as PA Group’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, as its new President and the transition of current President, Leonardo L. Cornide, to the position of Chairman of the Board.

“We are at a stage in our company’s growth where we need to scale our efforts and increase our global expertise. We believe that Charles Jorge has the appropriate skills and vision to take our company to the next level,” said Leonardo L. Cornide.

Before joining PA Group, Charles Jorge was President at Worldwide Medical Assurance Ltd., an international insurance and reinsurance company headquartered in Panama. Prior to this position, he led, as VP of Sales and Marketing, the Life Division of American Fidelity Assurance, an “A+” rated company by A.M. Best since 1982.  In addition, Mr. Jorge also has well-documented success with Pan American Life Insurance Company, based at the company’s headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana. Charles Jorge brings 26 years of prominent industry experience to PA Group.

“I am privileged to accept this opportunity to lead the talented team of executives heading PA Group’s different operating divisions. I am committed to see this company grow and reach its full potential and continued global expansion,” said Charles, who joined PA Group in May 2014, and oversaw the company’s revamping of its business development team and its successful expansion in Latin America.

PA Group’s new appointed chairman, Leonardo L. Cornide, expressed confidence in the company’s decision to name Charles as his successor. "Charlie is a remarkable leader who has been responsible for a great portion of our success over the past 19 months," said Cornide. “We are delighted that he has accepted the position." Leonardo concluded, “I'm confident Charlie will ensure that PA Group continues to make its name in the market, becoming a leader in providing global insurance and international financial services.”

Mr. Jorge holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida, and a LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow (LLIF) designation, completed at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. Furthermore, Charles has distinguished himself as an industry leader serving on several boards and councils for industry trade associations such as LOMA and LIMRA, among others.


Vitality Increases Executive Staff to Capitalize On Market Growth

 The Vitality Group, part of the world's longest-standing and largest incentive-based workplace health promotion and prevention program, has expanded its executive team following the successful launch of its partnership with John Hancock Insurance and exceeding the three-fourth million member milestone in the United States (US).

"These additions and new appointments of our executive staff strengthen our ability and capacity for growth," said Alan Pollard, CEO, The Vitality Group (TVG). "We are well-positioned to continue developing the most actuarially-sound and effective wellness program to help our clients have healthy and productive employees."

Executive Promotions

  • Derek Yach, Chief Health Officer
    Previously Executive Director of the Vitality Institute and Senior Vice President of TVG, Derek will serve as the Chief Health Officer for Vitality. He will continue to oversee a team invested in building out the science and evidence underpinning health promotion and workplace well-being and applying it in practical ways to improve overall health. Derek will represent Vitality externally from a health perspective and lead interactions with business, global media and NGOs globally.
  • Steve van der Watt, CEO of new Vitality entity
    Previously Chief Sales Officer, Steve will be the CEO of a new entity within TVG that will be announced later this year which represents an exciting and substantial growth opportunity for the organization. Steve has led the remarkable revenue growth for Vitality's corporate channels over the past few years.
  • Stephen Mitchley, Chief Strategy Officer
    Promoted from Chief Operating Officer to Chief Strategy Officer, Stephen is spearheading the development of common Vitality capabilities across the various partner markets in which Discovery operates.
  • Sean Katz, Chief Information Officer
    Previously Senior Vice President, Systems and Technology, Sean is responsible for systems and technology delivery for TVG.
  • Brad Beckman, Chief Operating Officer
    Promoted from Senior Vice President, Servicing and Human Resources, Brad will lead the execution of strategy and operations for TVG.

New Staff Appointments & Promotions

  • Karen Kaplan, Vice President of Product Development
    Karen has been a core member of the Vitality team in the US for 12 years. She has driven successful launches of many strategic partnerships and projects. As Vice President of Product Development, her focus will be on further developing Vitality's product roadmap to support both our partnerships and corporate clients.
  • Keith Karem, Vice President of Marketing
    Having previously led business and partnership marketing for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Keith brings a wealth of experience in business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing, new product development and brand management. Keith is charged with developing a new brand strategy for the company.
  • Kenneth Sloan, Vice President of Sales
    With more than 20 years' experience in sales and management leadership in health plan consulting and wellness, Ken held sales positions most recently with 5Star Life Insurance Company (an Armed Forces Benefit Association enterprise) and United Healthcare. Ken will play a key role in furthering Vitality's relationships with brokers and consultants.
  • Mark Smith, Chief Sales Officer
    Mark joins Vitality from HealthMarkets (a Blackstone Portfolio Company) where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Agency Officer, leading one of the largest distribution businesses in the individual health insurance space. Prior to that he held various senior regional and national positions at United Healthcare and was previously part of the Discovery family, having worked for Destiny Health. Mark is charged with leading the recently enlarged sales team.

Evolving Role of the Vitality Institute
The Vitality Institute was launched two years ago by Discovery Ltd, the South African insurance company, as part of its commitment to health promotion and well-being programs that advance social good. The Institute's dual purpose was strengthening the science underpinning prevention and health promotion, and elevating the discourse to reflect a more evidence-based approach to chronic disease prevention. The Institute has become accepted by lead media, government, corporations and academics as a "go-to" place for leadership and insights on adult health promotion, prevention and workplace health.

"The Institute has made enormous progress during its tenure and after careful consideration, we've determined that the time is ripe for the Institute to evolve to a new phase for optimal global impact," said Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery. "Current initiatives run by the Vitality Institute will be completed towards the end of 2015, at which point key projects will be internalized within Vitality to take implementation to the next level both in the US and across our other markets."

Derek Yach, Chief Health Officer, Vitality, noted "As a first flagship initiative the Institute convened a Commission on Health Promotion and the Prevention of Chronic Disease in Working-Age Americans which brought together leading experts from multiple sectors, ranging from public health to finance and technology. Specific recommendations, published in a report launched in June 2014, are being implemented which we believe will have a profound effect on the way prevention is viewed and managed both in the US and beyond."

Examples of actions coming from the Commission are:

  • The call for prevention science has led to the deans of schools of public health and the National Institutes of Health starting new advocacy and analytic work to redress underspending in this field,
  • the importance of getting evidence-based health metrics included in integrated reporting frameworks has led to an initiative that involves large corporations, workplace health experts, standard-setting bodies linked to the Dow Jones and other stock exchanges; and
  • the need to address data/privacy concerns around the use of personalized health technology (including wearable devices) has led to draft responsibility guidelines for the design and implementation of such technologies.

About Vitality
The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Ltd., a global financial services organization offering an incentive-based wellness program to employers as part of their benefits program. With a foundation based on actuarial science and behavioral economic theory, Vitality encourages changes in lifestyle that reduce health care costs, both in the short run and long term, by rewarding members for addressing their specific health issues. Vitality wellness programs serve companies in a wide range of sizes and industries, improving individuals' health and wellbeing as well as employers' bottom lines.

Vitality brings a global perspective through successful partnerships with large employers and best-in- class insurers around the world, in countries including the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, China, Singapore and Australia. Additional information can be found at


Healix Appoint New Director To Lead International Insurance Sector

Global risk management & assistance group, Healix International, has appointed Rob Upton as Director – Insurance Markets, to oversee the company’s continued expansion into the international insurance sector, accelerated by the recent acquisition of Capita Global Assistance.

“Healix is a fantastic company that I’ve admired for a long time.” says Upton, formerly Sales & Marketing Director at CEGA. “The quality of service and customer focus is unsurpassed and this is being recognised by the market. We’re the fastest growing assistance company in the world right now and I’m delighted to be joining at such an exciting time.” 

Scott Sunderman, CEO of Healix International adds, “It’s important to have the right people leading our business in our key markets and Rob’s credentials and track record speak for themselves. He is widely respected and admired within the industry and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us.”

Healix International is a global leader in international medical, security & travel assistance and international occupational health services. Working on behalf of multinational corporations, governments, NGOs and insurers, Healix is entrusted to look after the welfare of millions of expatriates, travellers and local nationals in every country of the world, 24 hours a day.

Rob can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on +44 (0)20 3805 7182. Or for more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



ONLY 1 Position Remains On Maritime Labour Convention 2006 Round Table Business Forum

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) is an International Labour Organization convention established in 2006 as the Fourth pillar of international maritime law and embodies "all up-to-date standards of existing international maritime labour Conventions and Recommendations, as well as the fundamental principles to be found in other international labour Conventions".

Title 4 of the MLC covers Health Protection, Medical Care, Welfare and Social Security Protection.

Medical care on board ship and ashore: Seafarers should be covered for and have access to medical care while on board; in principle at no cost and of a quality comparable to the standards of health care on shore. Countries through which territory a ship is passing should guarantee treatment on shore in serious cases.

Shipowners' liability: Seafarers should be protected from the financial effects of "sickness, injury or death occurring in connection with their employment". This includes at least 16 weeks of payment of wages after start of sickness.

Health and safety protection and accident prevention: A safe and hygienic environment should be provided to seafarers both during working and resting hours and measures should be taken to take reasonable safety measures.

Access to shore-based welfare facilities: Port states should provide "welfare, cultural, recreational and information facilities and services" and to provide easy access to these services. The access to these facilities should be open to all seafarers irrespective of race, sex, religion or political opinion.

Take Your Seat At The Round Table - APPLY HERE.


iPMI Magazine speaks with Phil Austin, Head of Global Individual Private Medical Insurance at Cigna

Phil Austin runs Cigna’s Global Individual Private Medical Insurance business, based in Glasgow, Scotland. He first joined Cigna International in 2002 as Partnership Director for the UK corporate business.

As Head of Cigna’s Global Individual Private Medical Insurance division, Phil is developing and implementing the company’s individual consumer strategy on an international scale and creating a world-class international individual business. He is also responsible for building the business segment and driving profitable growth, targeting high net worth and globally mobile individuals through various channels such as the internet, bancassurance and intermediaries in key global markets.

Phil brings over 20 years of experience in global sales, marketing, product strategy and general management to the Cigna Global Health Options team. He returns to Cigna after serving as Vice President of the European Group A&H (Accident and Health) Business for Chartis.

Phil first joined Cigna International in 2002 as Partnership Director for the UK business. He went on to hold several positions within the organisation, including Health, Life & Accident (HL&A) Europe Sales & Marketing Director and Interim CEO for HL&A Europe.  

Cigna, the US based global health insurer posted a staggering $29bn revenue last year, and has over 14 million customers on its books. They have just launched a new set of IPMI products targeted at global expatriates and iPMIM finds out more.

You rejoined Cigna in 2011. Why did you return?

We launched our global individual PMI business in 2011, and it was an opportunity I simply couldn’t miss. This is clearly a market which is seeing exponential growth, it’s a very fast moving market, and that’s something I really wanted to be part of. Getting the chance to run our global individual expatriate business has certainly presented its own challenges. In a lot of ways it’s very different from the Corporate business, but the principles are still the same – Cigna have a reputation for high service, high quality plans, and that is now being continued in the individual market. The other thing that really excites me about Cigna is the way that the customer truly is at the centre of everything we do – everything is focused on the needs of the individual, and we don’t get closer to this than in the expatriate individual business.

What is Cigna’s take on iPMI?

Our individual iPMI products have been built around the needs of customers and brokers. We stripped back the concept of what an iPMI plan ‘should’ look like, and rebuilt this with things like flexible module options, cost shares and deductibles. What we have now are 3 plans which give our customers and brokers absolutely flexibility and choice to build a plan which meets their unique needs and fits their budget. Our top level Platinum product has some of the richest benefits on the market; whilst our Silver and Gold products present options for expatriates who are still looking for a quality plan, but perhaps don’t need cover for things like maternity. Every customer still benefits from the customer service which Cigna is known for, and gets access to our 24-hour global control centre and network of over 1 million hospitals and physicians worldwide.

Cigna has a huge amount of experience in the expatriate market, primarily through Corporate plans. We’ve also worked extensively in global markets for the last 30 years offering individual health, life and accident plans – so moving into iPMI was a natural next step in this journey. We’re now taking those years of experience and learnings and applying them to the iPMI market, which has given us a really great platform to provide our customers with what they want.

The expat market is clearly growing. Where are you seeing trends?

We are offering a truly global product, serving expats all around the world. I’m seeing a lot of movement out of the US and Europe into Asia, and when you look at where we’re selling policies, there is a growing trend towards Asia. Whilst the new plans expand into the mid-market, we still see a lot of demand at the upper end of the market for our Platinum plan. This goes to show that when moving abroad, people don’t want to take chances with their healthcare and are often quite willing to pay to get the very best - both in terms of ease of access to and the quality of the providers themselves.

As an insights-driven organization, we commissioned proprietary, independent research to look at market sizing and distribution channels in this market and to understand the core needs of the stakeholders (customers, brokers, medical providers, etc). We have grown a very successful direct to consumer business online, we have a growing intermediary channel and we also sell our range through bancassurance partners.

In 2013 insurance is a given. What are consumers looking for when selecting private medical insurance coverage?

We are more and more seeing customers ask what else we can give them over and above just paying their claims, and we’ve recognised that insurance is a given. Consumers are becoming much more discerning and demanding of insurers. We’ve recognised this and are leading the way in developing additional value add tools and services which customers value.

We recently launched a travel toolkit which provides consumers with an array of tools and services fitting for the traveler on the move – for example, online eDocument storage, emergency travel alerts, and dynamic country guides which our customers can refer to as they travel. Marry this with our online Health Risk Assessments (HRAs), and focus on preventative health, and our customers are getting a lot more than just insurance.

Globalization is driven by technology, consumerism and the search for new business. What role is technology playing in your private medical insurance plans?

Of course, health insurance has moved on from just paying claims. Whilst the ability to do that efficiently is crucial: making it simple and easy for our customers is among our top priorities, we’ve asked what else we can do to improve our offering for the broker market through better technology. We can offer full online medical underwriting which will often give you an instant decision in many cases, provided no additional information is required. This forms part of the online Intermediary Zone through which brokers can generate quotes, manage their client database and view clients’ documents online.

Whilst the online functionality is great to have, we know brokers often want to be able to speak to someone directly, so we support this with a real-time Intermediary Support Team who have the capability to generate quotes, and set up policies on a broker’s behalf.

Whilst the majority of our team is based in Glasgow, Scotland, we have local Business Development Managers (BDMs) in Central Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US. Such is the value we feel local decision makers can make to our broker community, we have plans in place to increase the size and footprint of our BDM team and provide more localized Intermediary Support agents to support brokers in market. Each market has its own legal, regulatory and cultural nuances, its own ways of doing business, and its own approach to healthcare - so it’s crucial we have local people in the local market who can bridge those needs.

What is important when designing a private medical insurance product?

You absolutely have to listen to your customer, and listen to the market. We spent a lot of time carrying out research to build a unique proposition in the market, and this has been critical to our success. There’s a lot to be said for asking customers and brokers a direct question – ‘what do you want from a health insurance plan?’ 9 times out of 10 you will get an answer along the lines of making it easier to build a plan that suits their needs – both in terms of plan design and budget. That’s why we’ve invested a lot in building out or proposition, launching 3 brand new products, and creating completely modular plans.

How do you see the cost of expat healthcare changing in the next five years?

Rising medical costs are a universal challenge. Aging populations and increased global health risks have driven up medical trend over the years. We’re seeing this starting to stabilize in some markets, but the research is telling us this is only likely to grow further elsewhere, especially in Asia. This is where our product development team comes in. By developing modular products which give our customers and brokers the maximum level of choice and flexibility, they can build a plan which is customized to what they need. After all, if you know you’re not going to have a baby, you don’t necessarily want to include maternity care on your plan.

It’s all about choice. Our customers get the opportunity to manage their premiums with cost share and deductible options across the core inpatient and outpatient modules on all of our plans. In addition, by looking at preventative health management and offering things like online Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) which are available in our Health & Wellbeing module, customers can proactively manage their own health before they get to the stage of a doctors’ or specialists’ visit - reducing costs accordingly.

For worldwide insurance brokers who want to better understand International Private Medical Insurance, what advice would you give them?

Every time I go out and meet a broker, the lasting impression I get is that people are often surprised about the level of opportunity in this market. There’s a lot of interest out there both at the upper end of the market with Directors and Consultants following their careers, and also at the mid to low end, particularly in the student and retiree markets. The research only points to further growth, with increasing numbers of expatriates becoming ever more globally mobile.

There is undoubtedly a distinct lack of information out there for people looking to move abroad, which is where I really see the broker adding value. Brokers can position themselves as the experts and offer the solutions that best meet the ever-changing needs of their customers.

If you are an insurance broker, intermediary or agent, interested in selling Cigna Global Health Options Individual Medical Insurance Plans, simply click here to register.

iPMI Magazine speaks with Phil Austin, Head of Global Individual Private Medical Insurance at Cigna


Munich Re appoints Bernhard Kaufmann Chief Risk Officer

Munich Re has appointed Bernhard Kaufmann (44) Group Chief Risk Officer with effect from 1 January 2014.

He succeeds Joachim Oechslin, who will be joining the Executive Board of the Credit Suisse Group from that date. Kaufmann has been with Munich Re since 2000, working in several positions. Since 2008, he has been Chief Risk Officer and Head of Integrated Risk Management with Munich Re’s ERGO Insurance Group.

CEO Nikolaus von Bomhard: “Prudent risk management that actively supports our business has been and will remain key to Munich Re's success. We are pleased that, in the person of Bernhard Kaufmann, we are acquiring a new Chief Risk Officer who not only knows all the facets of risk management but is also already familiar with the business segments of Munich Re.”


Aetna Names Tim Cocchi As Country Manager For Hong Kong Operations

Aetna (NYSE: AET), a leading global diversified health care solutions company, has named Tim Cocchi, 52, as country manager for its business operations in Hong Kong.

The appointment is effective immediately. In this new position, Cocchi will be responsible for sales and account management for Aetna’s growing business in Hong Kong and Macau and general management guidance for the company’s Hong Kong office.

“We’re pleased that Tim will be leading our dynamic team in Hong Kong, which is an important growth area for Aetna,” said Larry Hartshorn, Aetna International’s interim general manager, Greater China. “With his deep industry knowledge and years of experience in countries around the world, Tim will help us further expand our role as a major provider of individual and group health care benefits plans for expatriates and local nationals.”

Cocchi brings to Aetna more than 30 years’ experience in the employee benefits and insurance industries, both in the United States and internationally. He began his overseas career in Dubai as AIG’s regional head for group medical and managed care business in the Middle East. He later held similar regional roles stationed in Paris, Tokyo and Athens, where he continued to lead profitable growth in AIG’s Accident & Health lines of business. Most recently, Cocchi worked for AIA in a regional role based in Hong Kong. Cocchi received an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in business administration from Western New England College.

Aetna has maintained offices in Hong Kong since 2007 and employs 48 people there. Through a strategic alliance announced earlier this year, Aetna’s medical insurance policies in Hong Kong are underwritten by Starr International, a leading insurance firm licensed by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority.


Willis North America Appoints Eric Joost Chief Operating Officer

Willis North America, a unit of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE:WSH), the global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker, today announced the appointment of Eric Joost as Chief Operating Officer.

Joost has been serving as Chief Executive of Willis North America's Specialty Practices since 2009. He will report to Todd Jones, CEO, Willis North America. Willis North America is the North American retail brokerage business of Willis Group Holdings. The business, which in 2012 reported revenues of more than $1.3 billion, has more than 100 local offices across the United States, Canada and Mexico, offering a full range of insurance and risk management services, specialist expertise and global resources to large corporate, middle-market and small business clients. In this newly created role, Joost will lead the development and execution of Willis North America's growth and operational strategies.

He will work closely with business unit leaders across North America and collaborate with Willis Group leadership to ensure Willis has the proper specialization, structure and operating models in place to support growth. Joost will continue to lead the North American Specialty Practices, which feature dedicated specialty brokers serving key marketplace sectors including construction, health care, financial services, real estate and life sciences; as well as dedicated insurance products to protect unique risks such as executive risk and environmental liabilities.

Commenting on the appointment, Todd Jones said, "Eric is well-suited to lead our operational strategies in North America. His experience aligning our specialty practices and product capabilities with our business platforms combined with his strong leadership skills and client focus makes him ideally suited to help us achieve our goal of improving connectivity across all of Willis to ensure we are positioned to support a much deeper and broader delivery to each and every client."

New York-based, Joost joined Willis in 2006 and has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry as a specialist broker and underwriter. Prior to joining Willis he held leadership positions at Allianz and Aon. He received his M.B.A. from Kellogg School of Management and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Northwestern University. 


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 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 or call 1.800.796.1156.

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