In the June 2019 issue An Interview with IEBA’s New Chairman Norman Dreger R&D: Ultra-Processed Food Causes Weight Gain – Richard Hoffmann R&D: A Walk on The Beach for Good Health – Jay Maddock R&D: Perks Are Used to Control Your Life – Elizabeth C. Tippett R&D: Brain Over Body: How Psychology Influences Physiology – Vaibhav Diwadkar, Otto Muzik R&D: Robotic Health Care Is Coming to A Hospital Near

Nick Burns in July 2019 joined Gallagher as the new CEO of its UK Employee Benefits Consulting Division. He now is based in London and succeeds Tim Johnson. Prior to joining Gallagher, Burns was a non-executive adviser for SMEs and start-ups in employee benefits and creative technology, including Hybrid Legal; Brand Biology; Engage Works; and Neyber. Earlier, he was the CEO of Capita E.B. Solutions; of consulting firm Bluefin;

Global insurance premiums passed the USD 5 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, equivalent to more than 6% of world gross domestic product (GDP) according to the July 2019 issue of sigma, “World insurance: the great pivot east continues”, from Swiss Re Institute. This surge was based on solid growth in the non-life sector, especially in China and other emerging Asian countries, as well as in advanced

MAXIS GBN announced in July 2019 the promotions of Trudie Roberts and Greg Tew to the position of Member Manager for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. The appointments mean the firm now has five dedicated professionals focused on serving members and supporting the growth and development of its network. MAXIS GBN member managers represent local insurers and their needs across projects and initiatives, deliver ongoing local

Non-life reinsurer TransRe in July 2019 completed the redomiciliation of its Swiss subsidiary, TransRe Zurich, to Luxembourg. Owner Transatlantic Holdings had announced the move in September 2018. TransRe Zurich changes its name to TransRe Europe in the process. In addition to P/C, the company also reinsures Accident & Health risks. The continental European offices in Munich, Paris and Zurich, as well as Dubai, become branch offices of Luxembourg. TransRe

AM Best’s Review in July 2019 released the 2019 edition of its list of the top 20 global insurance brokers, with Marsh & McLennan Companies leading the pack. The list ranks global insurance brokers by total yearly revenue. With $14.95 billion in total revenue, Marsh & McLennan (MMC) maintained the lead it held in 2017 thanks to the acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) in September 2018 for $5.6

Gallagher in July 2019 announced the purchase of a minority interest (29.7%) in Czech based insurance broker Renomia. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Prague, Renomia is the largest independent broker based in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, and has achieved double digit growth over the past five years. This growth is credited to a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. With more than 1,500 associates,

In April 2019, global mobility management company Topia announced the appointment of Terry Schmid as CFO. He will lead the global finance and accounting team, joining recently appointed CISO Randy Barr and CEO Shawn Farshchi. Terry has held a number of CFO roles over the past 20 years in the finance and technology sector including for IBM and top Silicon valley companies Coremetrics, Imperva and most recently, Apttus. His

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in June 2019 released the 2019 World Investment Report, which analyses global and regional foreign direct investment trends and prospects. It also documents national and international investment policy developments. In its theme chapter, the 2019 Report provides the global landscape of special economic zones (SEZs) and offers a policy framework for addressing key emerging challenges. The report highlights: Global foreign

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for the United States was released in June 2019, indicating a decline from the previous month of May. The Index now stands at 121.5 (1985=100), down from 131.3 in May. The Present Situation Index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, decreased from 170.7 to 162.6, while the Expectations Index, which is based on the short-term consumer outlook for income,

Global consulting leader Mercer in March 2019 released its annual Quality of Living Rankings. Mercer’s global Quality of Living Survey compared 230 cities considered to be global assignment destinations for expatriates across multiple factors. These included political and social envrionment, consumer goods availability, housing, public services and transport, medical and healthcare, natural environment, school and education and recreation. The Top 10 ranked cities for 2019 are: Vienna, Austria Zurich,

Institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for corporate governance are the topics for the 2019 Corporate Governance Factbook, released in June 2019 by the OECD. The Factbook provides easily accessible and up-to-date information about the institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for worldwide corporate governance, and complements the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance. It is intended for use by governments, regulators, and the private sector to compare their own frameworks with

Global Benefits Vision: What is IEBA’s mission in the global employee-benefits industry historically and what is it today? Norman Dreger: IEBA is the world’s leading association providing education, information and professional development opportunities in the constantly evolving world of International Employee Benefits, with more than 800 members worldwide. In addition to the development of the International Diploma and the Certified Practitioner Accreditation, our objectives include facilitating the exchange of information between

Medical robots are helping doctors and other professionals save time, lower costs and shorten patient recovery times, but patients may not be ready. Our research into human perceptions of automated health care finds that people are wary of getting their health care from an automated system, but that they can adjust to the idea – especially if it saves them money.

There are people who show incredible resistance to extremes of temperature. Think of Buddhist monks who can calmly withstand being draped in freezing towels or the so-called “Iceman” Wim Hof, who can remain submerged in ice water for long periods of time without trouble. These people tend to be viewed as superhuman or special in some way. If they truly are, then their feats are simply entertaining but irrelevant vaudevillian acts. What if they’re not freaks, though, but have trained their brains and bodies with selfmodification techniques that give them cold resistance? Could anyone do the same?

Companies offer all sorts of benefits and extras to attract the most favored workers, from health care and stock options to free food. But all those perks come at a price: your freedom. There’s a reason labor historians call these perks “welfare capitalism,” a term that originated to describe company towns and their subsidized housing, free classes and recreational activities. Like government welfare, offering any benefits that people come to rely on is also a convenient vehicle to mold their behavior.

Taking a walk on a wooded path, spending an afternoon in a public park, harvesting your backyard garden and even looking at beautiful pictures of Hawaii can all make us feel good. Certainly, for many of us, it’s beneficial to have time outside in natural environments. Being cooped up inside can feel unnatural and increase our desire to get outside. The renowned biologist E.O. Wilson created a theory called the biophilia hypothesis, where he stated that people have an innate relationship to nature.

We know we should eat less junk food, such as crisps, industrially made pizzas and sugar-sweetened drinks, because of their high calorie content. These “ultraprocessed” foods, as they are now called by nutritionists, are high in sugar and fat, but is that the only reason they cause weight gain? An important new trial from the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) shows there’s a lot more at work here than calories alone.

An Interview with IEBA’s New Chairman Norman Dreger – R&D: Ultra-Processed Food Causes Weight Gain – R&D: A Walk on The Beach for Good Health – R&D: Perks Are Used to Control Your Life – R&D: Brain Over Body: How Psychology Influences Physiology – R&D: Robotic Health Care Is Coming to A Hospital Near You –

Aetna in May 2019 announced the launch of DNA testing as an optional part of its wellness plans for its European members. The DNA test examines aspects of health and lifestyle, in particular nutrigenomics (the relationship between genes, nutrition and health), fitness, sleep and stress. The goal of the DNA testing is to help members take control of their health and support them to make positive lifestyle changes. Employers

The 2019 Annual Financial Alliance For Women (FAW) Summit will be hosted by AXA from June 17-19 at its headquarters in Paris, France. The theme of the summit is “Building Resilience Through Inclusion” and will focus on highlighting  ways of building women’s economic reliance and growth through inclusivity and empowerment. The summit will commence on the morning of June 17th with a CEO forum, bringing together CEOs from leading

Give an Hour, a US-based, not-for-profit mental health services organization in June 2019 partnered with high profile companies including Facebook, Aetna and IBM to promote global awareness around mental health. The week-long global public education initiative called A Week to Change Direction ran from June 9 to June 15, 2019 with projects registered in 18 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey,

Generali Belgium in June 2019 became Athora Belgium. The name change is the final stage in the January 2019 acquisition of Generali Belgium by Athora Holding. Since the acquisition, the company is led by CEO Dorsan van Hecke. The Athora brand came into existence at the beginning of 2018 following the spin-off from former parent company Athene Holding. Athora now is an insurance and reinsurance group that focuses on

Bermuda-based Athora Holding in June 2019 announced plans to acquire Netherlands-based Vivat from Anbang Group Holdings along with NN Group of The Netherlands. NN will become the new owner of Vivat Schadeverzekeringen (Vivat Non-Life). Athora will retain Vivat’s life and asset management businesses. The acquisition in the Netherlands comes soon after Athora’s January 2019 acquisition of Generali’s operations in Belgium. It is in line with the company’s external growth

Generali Employee Benefits (GEB) and global consulting and digital solutions company Accenture in April 2019 announced the release of a new blockchain technology solution to be applied to the employee benefits sector. The blockchain technology is reported to facilitate data sharing, thereby  increasing transparency within the reinsurance process for captive or pooling services. It is also designed to reduce processing errors through the use of smart contracts and automated

The Summer 2019 edition of Global Benefits Vision’s Directory of Global Employee Benefits and Global Mobility Providers is now available. The new edition can be browsed online and downloaded as a PDF. If you would like to be considered for free-of-charge inclusion in the Directory, email olivia@gbvmag.com for your Information Pack and Data Form.

Rising medical costs and shifting health drivers fuel innovation in employer-sponsored health plans Medical costs continue to outpace general inflation by close to three times, with a global average 9.7% in 2018 with similar increases for 2019 and 2020, according to the Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) 2019 Medical Trends Around the World report, released in June 2019. A survey of 204 insurers across 59 countries, the report assesses how