Author Archive

Eric Muller-Borle

Eric Muller-Borle

Global Benefits Vision founder and expert in global compensation & employee benefits, global mobility and insurance at large. A former industry executive and management consultant, Eric leads a team dedicated to provide accurate, high value business information to today's practitioners.

Bermuda-based Athora Holdings in January 2019 completed the acquisition of Generali Belgium, first announced in April 2018. The final consideration paid is approximately €540 million. Generali Belgium has 530,000 customers and sells a range of life and non-life insurance policies through around 1,000 independent brokers. In 2017, total premium income amounted to €640 million and assets to €6.5 billion. The company will be rebranded to Athora Belgium in the

Hong Kong-based property and infrastructure group New World Development (NWD) in January 2019 acquired FTLife Insurance, Hong Kong, from JD Group. NWD, through its subsidiary NWS Holdings, paid HK$21.5 billion (US$2.75 billion) for FTLife. The deal is one of the top five insurance M&As ever in Hong Kong. Beijing-based Chinese financial firm JD Group in November 2018 had put FTLife up for sale. It was reported to be looking for

Replicating an earlier deal in 2017 between the European Union (E.U.) and the United States (U.S.), the latter in January 2019 signed a “covered agreement” with the United Kingdom (UK) that protects their respective international insurers and reinsurers when doing business with each other. The new covered agreement basically provides for a limited but very useful form of mutual recognition of reinsurance companies and of (re)insurance regulators. The existing

American International Group (AIG) in December 2018 announced that it has completed the acquisition of Ellipse, a specialist group life, critical illness and income protection carrier in the UK, from Munich Re. Ellipse CEO Lee Lovett reports to Adam Winslow, CEO, International at AIG Life & Retirement. AIG expects Ellipse’s expertise in group protection and its technology to significantly enhance existing AIG Life operations. AIG Life will now distribute

AIG Life Limited (UK) in December 2018 announced the appointment of Philip Willcock as CEO, effective March 1, 2019. He will be based in London and report to Adam Winslow, CEO, International, Life & Retirement. Willcock spent over 20 years with Aviva holding various senior positions in the UK life & health businesses. Most recently, he was CEO and President of Aviva’s joint venture in Indonesia and CEO of

Lloyd’s Brussels in December 2018 announced the appointment of Delphine Marchessaux as chief underwriting officer. Delphine previously was head of underwriting, Cargo at Axa Corporate Solutions (now AXA XL) in France. Earlier, she was head of Marine claims (cargo and hull), having started her career as a Marine claims executive and team leader at AXA Corporate Solutions. She holds a Master of Science degree in Law from IFURTA (Institut

Lloyd’s in December 2018 appointed Sonja Rottiers as CEO of Lloyd’s Brussels and regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). She reports to Lloyd’s CEO John Neal. Lloyd’s Brussels was launched in November 2018 to ensure that Lloyd’s syndicates can continue to write policies in the E.U. after Brexit. Before joining Lloyd’s, Rottiers was a non-executive board member for ING Belgium; Belgian cinema chain Kinepolis; and Leasinvest

Published in December 2018, the OECD Pensions Outlook 2018 report examines how national pension systems are adapting to improve retirement outcomes. This has direct implications for the design and implementation of occupational pension plans. The report focuses on funded pensions and discusses how different pension tools can be combined to meet certain goals. It also considers how countries can improve financial, i.e. tax, incentives. This edition draws lessons from

Willis Towers Watson (WTW) in December 2018 announced the appointment of Pam Enright as Senior Director and leader of its Expat Benefits Solutions business. She will report to Francis Coleman, managing director, Global Services and Solutions, and be based in Chicago. Pam has been in the employee benefit industry for over 25 years. Prior to joining WTW, she was a senior vice president and director of global benefits at

French insurer Apicil in December 2018 launched an EUR 10 million insurtech fund along with private equity firm Odysseus Alternative Ventures (OAV). The fund will invest in European startups “seeking to develop new technologies, new business models and new forms of delivery for the insurance sector”. APICIL Group is France’s 4th largest provider of occupational health, life, and retirement plans. OAV is the private equity and venture capital arm

Andy Stocker in December 2018 became Head of Employee Benefits Gulf at MetLife, based in Dubai. He has spent his entire career at MetLife, where he previously was Head of distribution, MetLife Global Employee Benefits and Maxis GBN; Vice President and head of distribution for MetLife Global Employee Benefits; head of Global Relationship Management; and Regional director of Employee Benefit sales, based in Dallas, Texas. He holds a Bachelor

Swiss Re in December 2018 appointed Paul Murray as Global Head of Life and Health, based in London, UK. He succeeds Swiss Re’s CEO of reinsurance for the EMEA region, Russell Higginbotham. Murray previously was global chief pricing officer for the L&H business; head of Swiss Re’s global L&H Products Center; managing director, Life & Health Products, Asia; managing director, Life & Health Products, UK, Ireland and Africa; director,

French regulator ACPR in November 2018 gave its final approval to the merger between Malakoff Médéric and Humanis, effective January 1, 2019. Both companies are paritarian institutions and offer supplementary pensions and life and health insurance. The new leadership team announced in December 2018 includes: Thomas Saunier, CEO Michel Estimbre, Deputy CEO, in charge of supplementary pensions, Human Resources, IT, underwriting, and operations; Christophe Scherrer, Deputy CEO, in charge

Aon in December 2018 released a paper, The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health, detailing factors driving poor employee mental health in the UK. Debt, separation and bullying are the personal issues of most concern to employers when it comes to employee mental health, according to a poll of employers. Of the 92 employers surveyed, 39 stated that money and debt were their biggest concerns for employee mental health, 27

Global employee benefits network IBN (International Benefits Network) in December 2018 expanded its network of independent employee benefit consulting firms into Africa by adding RCL as member for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Founded in 2014 and based in Kenya, RCL is an actuarial consultancy firm which provides actuarial, financial modeling and risk management advice to governments and governmental organizations, public and private pension scheme trustees and sponsors, (re)insurance companies, not-for-profit

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in November 2018 released the 2018 edition of Health at a Glance: Europe. This report is led by the European Commission and designed to assist member states in improving the health of their citizens and the performance of their health systems. The report cites “two overarching trends [that] warrant special mention”: [T]he steady increase in life expectancy has slowed considerably in

Generali in November 2018 launched Generali Global Pension (GGP), a global business unit dedicated to pensions. The initiative is in line with Generali’s strategic targets of “consolidating its global leadership in Employee Benefits, and accelerating the growth of its asset management business.” GGP will provide multinational corporations with pensions de-risking solutions and cross-border plans. It will also create an additional distribution channel for Generali’s multi-boutique asset-management platform and develop

Accounting standard setting body IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) in November 2018 decided to defer the effective date for International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 17 – Insurance Contracts – to January 1, 2022. IFRS 17 deals with the recognition of income arising from insurance contracts and its presentation in annual accounts. At the same time, the temporary exemption to IFRS 9 that was included in IFRS 4 also was

Employer-provided health care benefits costs are expected to increase modestly around the globe in 2019, according to the 2019 Global Medical Trends Survey of medical insurers published in November 2018 by Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Insurers blame the high cost of medical technology and the overuse and overprescribing of services as major factors in escalating costs and caution that soaring pharmacy costs will become a significant factor over the

Aon has identified that many UK employees do not accurately record sickness absence. Published in November 2018, this insight was obtained by conducting group risk market reviews for employers. Group risk insurers require information on who is absent, the reason for their absence, duration, and more information such as prognosis. Aon, through its market review activity, has seen that some employers either do not record their employees’ absences or

The 2018 edition of the annual event of the Cross Border Benefits Alliance-Europe (CBBA-Europe) will deal with both pensions (November 27) and healthcare (November 28 in the morning) at cross-border and pan-European level. High-level speakers including representatives of the European Parliament, European Commission, multinational companies, social partners, pension funds, insurance companies, national and international trade associations and academic experts will discuss these topics, against a backdrop of the most

AIG in November 2018 appointed Peter Bilsby to the newly created position of global head of specialty, reporting to Christopher Townsend, chief executive officer of AIG General Insurance. Bilsby will have responsibility for the global energy, marine, aviation and credit insurance lines businesses – which includes trade credit. Previously, Bilsby was CEO of Talbot Group, acquired by AIG in July 2018 as part of Validus. Before serving as CEO,

Pension assets continued to rise in 2017, to the tune of USD 43.4 trillion in the OECD area for the first time, with almost all countries showing positive investment results according to the new Pension Markets in Focus 2018 report published in October 2018 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This annual report, which now covers 87 countries, gives an overview of private pension systems worldwide

OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in November 2018 issued a new report, The Institutional Structure of Insurance Regulation and Supervision, which presents the results of a stocktaking of the institutional structure of insurance regulation and supervision practices in 50 OECD and non-OECD countries. The report is based on responses to a questionnaire circulated to OECD and non-OECD countries, with cooperation from the International Association of Insurance

Generali Global Health (GGH) in November 2018 announced the appointment of John Kaye as Head of Business Development, EMEA. He reports to Chief Commercial Officer Stuart Leatherby and is located in London. Prior to joining GGH, Kaye worked at Cigna International for 16 years, with roles in Client Services and Business Development in the Middle East and Asia, before becoming Managing Director for Europe. Previously, he was Client Manager

A survey conducted by Swiss Life in Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom and published in November 2018 found that only 46% of respondents feel confident about their current financial situation. The differences in the individual countries are huge: 65% of Swiss respondents said they feel comfortable with their finances and only 27% feel financially stressed. By contrast, financial confidence in Austria (48%), Germany (44%) and the

Generali Global Health (GGH) in November 2018 appointed Ran Wang as Head of Market Development for the Asia-Pacific Region, based in Singapore and reporting to Chief Commercial Officer Stuart Leatherby. GGH is Generali’s specialist division for international private health insurance (iPMI). Both GGH and Generali have a strong focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Ran joins GGH from Aetna International, where he held the position of Regional Head of Strategy and