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News for issue 011

Engineers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) , a member of the A*STAR’s group of biomedical sciences institutes in Singapore have developed a new material that claims to kill E. coli bacteria quickly and without the adverse health effects of triclosan, a common antibacterial agent that has been restricted in the European Union. IBN Group Leader Yugen Zhang, PhD, and his team, synthesized a chemical compound made

CareAllies, a new subsidiary of Cigna, was established in June 2016 to help health service providers transition away from fee-for-service business models to those that encourage greater risk-sharing by establishing their own care organizations or even their own health plans. These goals – value-based reimbursement schemes – are similar to those of UnitedHealth Care’s subsidiary Optum. CareAllies will work with private and public providers to provide the technology and

A non-invasive treatment for diabetes monitoring and drug delivery has been developed by South Korean researchers at The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Center for Nanoparticle Research located in Seoul, South Korea. The device, a graphene-based patch, uses a hybrid of gold-doped graphene and a serpentine gold mesh to measure pH (blood acidity level) and temperature by measuring the amount of glucose in sweat. If abnormally high levels of

Expatriates and Emiratis in the United Arab Emirates have seen changes to their health insurance programs as of July 1, 2016. These changes will affect only those under the Abu Dhabi Basic Plan who seek treatment at a private hospital under the Thiqa plan for Emiratis, expatriates, and their families. Procedures at government hospitals are unaffected. Thiqa, the Arabic word for “trust,” is a UAE national insurance initiative delivered

Corporate pension plan buyouts reached $1.084 billion in the first quarter of 2016 according to a LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute sales survey. This is interpreted as a clear sign that companies are eager to limit the amount of risk in their pension plans. The US Group Annuity Risk Transfer Survey, released in May of this year, notes that this is the first time sales have topped $1 billion in

Forget the United States; Taiwan, Malta and Ecuador head the list of countries where expats most want to live this year, a new survey reports. More than 14,000 expats ranked their preferred countries in the InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey, released in August. In addition to the best overall rating, Taiwan also won first place for personal finance and quality of life, and second place for its working conditions. More than

In September 2016, Zurich appointed Jack Howell as regional chief executive officer for Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong and reporting directly to Mario Greco, group chief executive officer. In April 2015, Generali, then still led by Greco, had appointed Howell as regional chief executive officer for Asia. Jack Howell, 46, a U.S. citizen, holds a B.S. in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from the University

AXA in July 2016 announced the appointment of Matthieu André as CEO of AXA Global Life & Savings, reporting to Paul Evans who is in charge of AXA’s life, savings, protection and health activities on a global basis. Matthieu André joined AXA in 1995 as a financial controller after a spell as an auditor and consultant with Ernst & Young. His career path included positions as VP, Corporate Finance

PPG Industries, the Pittsburgh-based coatings, specialty materials, and glass products manufacturer, in April 2016 announced that they will begin buying group annuity contracts in order to provide pension benefits to 13,000+ retirees and survivors in the U.S.A. PPG joins such large corporations as Kimberly-Clark Corp., Verizon, and General Motors, who have adopted this de-risking process in order to reduce premium payments to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC). PBGC

UK employers tend to fall short when it comes to having a defined health strategy plan for their employees, especially when the numbers are measured against mainland Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Aon’s EMEA Health Survey Report, published in early 2016, revealed that only 30 percent of UK employers have a defined health strategy compared with 40 percent of EMEA employers, and that only 37% of UK employers

Europ Assistance USA, a subsidiary of Generali Group and global provider of assistance services in the fields of travel, home and family, health, and automotive, has re-branded itself as Generali Global Assistance North America (GGA), effective 12 June, 2016. The multi-phase re-branding operation will begin with the company’s Identity Protection Services division. All products and solutions carrying the Europ Assistance USA name will be transitioned to fall under GGA

Despite the obvious benefits of exercise, cancer patients are avoiding exercise. According to MacMillan Cancer Support (MCS), which launched a study conducted by YouGov Research, many patients avoid exercise for varying reasons, the top three of which are: worrying about being able to find a toilet (36%), feeling uncomfortable getting active in public (31%) and feeling uncomfortable in active wear or bathing suit (24%). Group exercise therapy delivers benefits

Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) in January 2016 published a whitepaper, Look Before You Leap: Managing Global Mobility. Researched by Kristin Sampson, Area Vice President of Global HR Services within the Benefits and Human Resources Consulting division of AJG, the whitepaper not only addresses the rising concerns associated with the assignment of employees overseas, but steps employers can take to enter the global workplace smoothly and efficiently. In her introduction,

Generali Global Assistance in July 2016 announced the launch in the United States of their comprehensive identity protection platform called Iris OnWatch. With identity theft on the rise, the need for 24/7 prevention, monitoring, alerting, and resolution — the so-called “four pillars of identity protection” — is an important component of cyber security. Iris OnWatch provides an integrated protection system with access to identity theft prevention, monitoring, alerts, and

IGP hosts its annual international employee benefits seminar in Boston, Massachusetts on May 9-11, 2017. The seminar includes a choice of up to 12 country panel presentations about local social security programs and customary private employee benefits practice, including legislative updates and recent trends and new products. Several keynote presentations address key issues of interest to global employee benefits professionals. Optional training sessions on multinational pooling, IGP’s “International Experience

Marking GEB’s 50th anniversary, the 2016 edition of the GEB Forum will be held in Brussels, Belgium, from November 21 to 23, 2016. The preliminary agenda includes several presentations and round tables on the future challenges of the Employee Benefits industry. The event website is here. For more information on attending, contact the GEB event team at .