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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

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

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

A new report from MAXIS Global Benefits Network entitled, “In the changing world of employee benefits, does one size fit all?”, reveals that multinational businesses failing to offer more flexible employee benefits packages will struggle to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive market for talent. According to the report, the rise of flexible, tailored and personalized E.B. is due in part to the highly sophisticated options now

Gallagher in June 2019 announced that LeAnne Stefl had been appointed Practice Leader of its Multinational Benefits and Human Resources Consulting practice, part of Gallagher’s Benefits and Human Resources division. She reports to Leslie Lemenager, President, International, Benefits and Human Resources division. Stefl joins Gallagher with more than 30 years of insurance industry experience, including executive and leadership positions with several large global consultancies. Most recently, she founded Solvere

Aon and the American Benefits Council have released the Global Benefits Governance and Operations Study 2018/2019. The study queried over 200 multinational companies  ranging in size from over 100,000 to fewer than 10,000 employees, and asked global compensation and benefits leaders for their views on best practices in global benefits management. The survey also explored key issues such as what these organizations can do to improve the alignment of

Swiss Re in May 2019 released its latest SONAR report, in which they highlight emerging and “slow-burner” emerging risks and their potential effects on the re/insurance industry. Emerging risks are newly developing or evolving risks that are difficult to quantify, but potentially have a significant impact on the industry and society. Emerging trend spotlights examine early development, which may offer both opportunities and risks for the insurance industry in

Wambui Wainaina in May 2019 was appointed Director of Compensation & Benefits at software engineering firm Andela, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Andela hires and trains African software engineers to work in its offices in Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Kampala, Uganda. The 1200 developers work for third-parties that struggle to find technical talents. Wainaina joins Andela from Philip Morris International where she served as Benefits Manager, EEMA. Previously, she

GBV author Ruchika Pal in May 2019 joined Apollo Tyres as Group Head – Corporate HR, based in Singapore. Headquartered in Gurgaon, India, Apollo has 16,000 employees worldwide and manufactures tires under the Apollo and Vredestein brands. Ruchika is in charge of global rewards, global mobility, HR policy, and other corporate HR functions; she also serves as HR Business Partner for all corporate functions. Previously, she was the Founder

Worldwide Broker Network (WBN) in May 2019 appointed Alan Fergusson as Employee Benefits Director and member of the executive staff, based in the UK. He reports to WBN CEO Francie Starnes and replaces LeAnne Stefl who joins Gallagher as head of global benefits. Alan held his previous position as managing director of Mattioli Woods after selling his company – Kudos Financial Services in 2011. He has previously served on

Independent captive management firm USA Risk Group‘s senior management team in May 2019 completed a management buyout from Spencer Capital Holdings. The buyout includes operations from all jurisdictions USA Risk Group operates in. The senior management team includes Paul Macey as President; Rob Leadbetter, Senior Vice President and Charmain Aggarwal, Vice President. Jeanne Crawford leads the Barbados office; John Tortell, the Malta office; and Steven Lill, the Cayman Islands

Out of 25 OECD countries for which data are available, the United States, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, England, and Wales experienced a rise in the average of opioid-related deaths (ORD) of more than 20% from 2011-2016. These findings are highlighted in the May 2019 OECD release: Addressing Problematic Opioid Use in OECD Countries, which calls for governments to take urgent action to combat the rise of ORD. In Canada,

The OECD in May 2019 published its Economic Outlook, containing analysis and projections for its 36 member countries and other major economies. A summary of the Economic Outlook and key data is accessible at http://www.oecd.org/economy/economic-outlook/. A special chapter in the Outlook analyses the ongoing digital transformation of the economy and complementary effects on productivity, which is one of the key themes of the 2019 OECD Forum and Ministerial Council

U.S. health insurer and administrator Cigna and pharmacy benefit management organization Express Scripts in May 2019 announced they collaborated with Amazon Alexa, a virtual assistant device, to produce two new voice skills. Express Scripts customers who use prescription home delivery services will now be able to manage their pharmacy prescriptions using voice technology. By saying “Alexa, open Express Scripts”, users can monitor their prescription order status and receive notifications

The U.S. Economy The Conference Board released its findings for the U.S. economy on 10 April, 2018. The group indicates that the U.S. economy has slowed a great deal since the middle of 2018, to just over 2 percent in the first half of 2019. Although set to see “solid though not spectacular performance this year”, 2019 data so far point to more challenging business conditions than 2018. While