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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

MAXIS Global Benefits Network in August 2016 launched the MAXIS Global Risk Solution, a global program management solution offering centralized multinational companies with large global footprints a single-employer, non-profit-sharing arrangement. Key advantages include better terms and conditions; economies of scale; greater predictability of premiums; a global financial view; and a single point of contact for underwriting. Eligible coverages include group death; survivor income; group disability benefits; as well as

The emergence of new, more expensive, cancer drug therapies that help the immune system attack tumors is expected to increase cancer drug spending to over $150 billion by 2020 according to a global oncology report released by IMS Health Holdings. This represents an annual global growth rate for oncology drug spending of 7.5% to 10.5% through 2020, up from last year’s IMS forecast of 6% to 8% growth. The

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

MetLife in August 2016 published its first global whitepaper, Employee Benefits Generating Business Impact, identifying key benefits trends and solutions from around the world. Based on data from 12 markets, the research found that total rewards packages are key to employee engagement, productivity and retention. In fact, nearly 100% of employers in Mexico, Brazil, Australia and the US said that benefits are important for attracting and retaining talent. Key

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

The average cost of care for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored PPO has more than tripled from an average of $8,414 for a family of four in 2001, to the current average of $25,826 according to a report by the Milliman Medical Index. While the percentage increase of 4.7% is the smallest yearly increase yet, it is still well above the increase in

The workplace has been slow to change, considering that the world outside it has changed considerably since the cultural revolution of the 1960s. The number of millennial cohorts in the workplace (those born between 1980 and 2000 and commonly known as Gen Y) recently surpassed the number of Baby Boomers, effectively ushering out decades of dated workplace practices that no longer fit the new culture. A new Gallup study

The objective of Track and Trace Your Pension in Europe (TTYPE) is to allow E.U. citizens to find all relevant information about their pensions regardless of when and where they worked and accumulated pension rights. TTYPE’s European Tracking Service (ETS) extends and builds on existing National Tracking Services (NTS) that store the pension records of an employee along his/her changes in employers in one same country. After a planning

When the Lumina Foundation studied the Cigna Corporation’s Employee Reimbursement Program, they discovered that reimbursing employees for tuition spent on higher education is a valuable business investment that “translates into quantifiable cost avoidance for Cigna.” The Lumina Foundation, a national foundation focused on increasing post-secondary attainment, partnered with Cigna to design the study, which was conducted by Accenture. Lumina’s analysis of Cigna’s Educational Reimbursement Program (ERP) revealed that encouraging

New regulations dealing with the protection of personal data for the citizens of the European Union went into effect on 25 May, 2016. E.U. General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) will fully replace Directive 95/35/EC in 2018, after a two-year transitional period. The new regulations, drawn up in 2012 for the purpose of ensuring a consistent and high level of protection of an individual’s personal data and rights, have

The National Center for Health Statistics (NHCS) in May 2016 reported that the percentage of Americans without health insurance has dropped below 10%, mostly due to provisions in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) that give federal premium subsidies to low-income individuals to help them underwrite the cost of health insurance. In many cases, the insured pay little or no money to be included under health plans available in

The women’s market for insurance worldwide is growing rapidly, and is projected to attract $1.45 to $1.7 trillion through 2030, well up from the $800 million the insurance industry realized in 2013. Most significantly, over half of those trillions will come from emerging economies in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Thailand, and Turkey. Recognizing the potential of these untapped markets, AXA, IFC, and Accenture collaborated to

Just when U.S. employers were getting the hang of program rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and HIPAA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May 2016 has added new regulations on to workplace wellness programs. These regulations, issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), are additional to the requirements already necessary for compliance with ACA/HIPAA wellness programs. These rules

Medical error may be the third cause of death in the United States, just behind cancer and heart disease, but we can’t be sure thanks to a flaw in the reporting system that tracks such things. Martin Makary and Michael Daniel of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine hope to change all that, as they explain in their analysis of the system used by the U.S. Centers for Disease

Cigna discovered that reimbursing employees for tuition spent on higher education is a good business practice that benefits the company as well as the employee. An analysis of Cigna’s own Educational Reimbursement Program (ERP) revealed that encouraging and helping employees attain a secondary or post-secondary degree increases employee retention and career opportunities. Moreover, participants in the program are 10 percent more likely to receive a promotion, 7.5 percent more likely

Despite moving at what may seem sometimes as a glacial pace, RESAVER, the pan-European pension plan project, appears to have reached a major milestone. RESAVER, which is set up as a defined contribution (DC) scheme that will provide second-pillar pension benefits, selected its key operational components – namely its third-party service providers – in April 2016, paving the way for its launch. BlackRock has been selected as the asset

As a response to growing concerns over the high cost of cancer care, the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) Solutions Center, over the course of two 2015 workshops, mounted a study that surveyed 19 self-insured employers representing 1.2 million employees, as well as physicians, oncology experts, employer benefits professionals, executives from health plans, hospitals, consulting organizations, cancer associations, and suppliers of healthcare-related services. The purpose of the study

In November 2015 Cigna released its Global Mobility Trends Survey, updating the 2013 edition. The survey, conducted between April and June 2015, included 2700 expatriate respondents on assignment in 156 countries. Key findings: Global mobility appears to be evolving into a career unto itself. Expats say they need more communication and support, but employers are viewed as moving in the opposite direction. Expats want more assistance with local culture

Health care costs will continue to rise worldwide in 2016 according to the Willis Towers Watson (WTW) 2016 Global Medical Trends Survey of 174 insurers in 55 countries, employers in 34 countries, and 30,000 employees worldwide who have employer-sponsored health benefits. As private medical insurance costs continue to rise, from 7.5% in 2014 and 8.0% in 2015 to a projected 9.1% in 2016, WTW noted that more than half

Lockton Benefit Group in April 2016 announced a material investment in its InfoLock data intelligence platform, used to advise employers on developing comprehensive health management programs to address the continuum of health risks across their working population.  InfoLock will now include predictive analytics solution SCIO Health Analytics, enabling client service teams to gain timely insights into trends and make evidence-based recommendations that have a high probability of improving employee behavior

According to Aon Hewitt’s 2016 study of medical trend expectations of employer-sponsored medical plans in 90 countries, the cost of employer-sponsored medical plans is continuing to rise as in previous years and still significantly outpace global inflation. Average Medical Trend Rates by Region 2015 2016 Medical trend rate Annual general inflation rate Medical trend rate Annual general inflation rate Asia Pacific 10.4% 4.2% 9.4% 3.2% Europe 5.7% 1.6% 5.9% 1.6%

250 U.S. employers, representing nearly 7 million workers, recently took part in the “2016 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Well-Being” survey conducted in late 2015 by Aon Hewitt that revealed plans by large employers to expand their current financial well-being programs for their employees in 2016. The survey indicated that 55 percent of employers currently offer some sort of help for workers in the areas of budgeting, money

Modern Survey, a Minneapolis, U.S.A.-based employee survey and talent analytics solutions provider, has been acquired by Aon Hewitt in February 2016. In search of new sources of revenues, large employee benefits consulting firms are diversifying into and/or expanding employee engagement services. Modern Survey is responsible for software solutions in the areas of talent analytics, onboarding, 360o feedback, engagement, retention, performance, and measurement. Modern Survey’s current offerings are visible at

A 2015 survey of U.K. defined contribution (DC) pension plans reveals that there is a disconnect between what new initiatives they want to deliver and what they can actually provide. The Aon DC Survey 2015 revealed that out of 330 respondents from 297 U.K. DC pension plans, 57% of respondents feel that the top priority for DC schemes is better member outcomes, while 47% identified the need for specific