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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

Building on a tried-and-tested concept, a great innovation in U.S. healthcare. Reproduced Without Permission from The Onion – Sept 23, 2015 www.theonion.com/r/51369 and kept warm expressly for GBV readers. ROCHESTER, NY—During a meeting with new hires Wednesday to discuss employee benefits, Radian Analytics human resources manager Ellen Schultz is said to have strongly pushed the company’s infinite-deductible health care option. According to sources in attendance, Schultz described the low-premium,

Nursing homes and long-term care (LTC) facilities face rising liability costs in the coming years unless they can find alternatives to litigation. According to a national study that surveyed 35 U.S. providers operating an aggregate 240,000 LTC beds, the overall national LTC loss rate is expected to increase by 5 percent annually, driven by a 3 percent rise in litigation claim frequency. These findings were the result of the

GBV magazine publishes this 14-page, in-depth article which discusses alternative investments and their suitability for life insurance in general and pension liabilities in particular. By and large, alternative investments are investments in assets other than equities, bonds and cash. They include real estate, commodities such as oil, cocoa and gold, capital goods such as ships and aircraft, and even more exotic categories: hedge funds, private equity, project finance, venture

Generali Employee Benefits in February 2016 released a special issue of its newsletter entirely devoted to the African continent, available for download here. The 28-page PDF booklet covers the region’s macroeconomic outlook (good despite multiple challenges), provides an overview of the African employee benefits industry (still in infancy but with positive trends emerging – and already some degree of complexity and regulations that one needs to be aware of)

Did we lose our focus on global employee benefits? Hopefully not! In fact, global employee benefits do include insurance and assistance services pertaining to international travel, so we thought you might be interested in hearing this fascinating news from one of our adjacent industries, travel, as reported in February 2016 by B2B website travelmarketreport.com . Available as a mobile phone app, OneGo offers unlimited U.S. domestic flights on plans

European Union authorities signal a stronger commitment towards furthering the integration of private pension systems across Europe and extending the single market to insurance and pensions. In November 2015, the European Commission highlighted efforts by a number of countries in reforming their first-pillar pension systems, especially in the view of increased longevity. At the same time, it insisted that further steps needed to be taken by member states to

Medical inflation appears to have slowed down in the U.S. in 2015, the average increase of health care rates for mid-size and large employers was 3.2% against 4.4% in 2014 and an expected 4.1% in 2016. Lower utilization levels due to reduced purchasing power of individuals and lower increases in medical prices contribute to this modest and perhaps temporary slow-down. The average total health care cost per employee, including

Captive insurance has been an increasingly popular alternative risk transfer mechanism for U.S. companies for decades. But what may come as a surprise is that one of the great growth opportunities isn’t a new property or casualty exposure. It’s employee benefits. Some seemingly minor changes in the U.S. regulatory landscape may go a long way in explaining the renewed interest in employee benefits captives – but read on: Peter

The 1,500-participant, sold-out event in the Bataclan concert hall was sponsored by music production firm Universal Music Group, a division of Vivendi Universal, who had invited a large number of guests, mainly managers and executives from the advertising, media, music, and broadcasting industries. As soon as Saturday, November 14, most large French brokers and TPAs had set up rapid-response teams and call centers, providing psychological and other support to

Zurich presented the “Zurich International Programs for Employees” at the October 2015 biannual meeting of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA). The new product, to be launched in 2016, allows multinationals to manage their employee benefits coverages through a single global program, combining local policies with cross-border policies; as well as providing centralized data and reports. From a marketing standpoint, the new product is aimed squarely at

AXA Group’s AXA PPP healthcare unit in the UK in August 2015 launched its “Corporate Health Plan for Mid Corporates”, geared towards small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) from 65 to 250 employees, that provides access to medical diagnosis and to approved treatments and drugs to get employees back to health and back to work quickly. Features usually reserved for larger groups include networks of quality-assessed healthcare providers: over 250 hospitals, 400

Broker’s Annual Health and Productivity Survey Tracks Employer Trends Employers offering health and wellness programs have moved beyond the standard financial measures associated health care cost savings towards a broader focus on the overall value of health management within a workplace, according to the Willis Health and Productivity Survey published today by Willis North America’s Human Capital Practice. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) with wellness

Enrollment in public health insurance exchanges is expected to grow modestly in 2016, to reach a total number ranging from 9 to 12 million. The majority of current customers – approximately 9 million – is expected to re-enroll. However, the Congressional Budget Office earlier had projected enrollments to reach 20 million by the end of 2016; the shortfall is most significant and the projected number of enrollees likely will

Health benefits startup Collective Health, a third-party administrator (TPA), in October 2015 raised USD 81 million in additional private investments for a total of 119 million since 2013 to support its plans to begin offering group health care products to self-insured employers in the U.S.A.. Principal investors in Collective Health include Google Ventures, Maverick Capital, Redpoint Ventures, RPE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Founders Fund. Based in California, Collective

In the U.S., benefits practitioners are busy implementing strategies to avoid the Cadillac tax — a 40% tax on health plan premiums exceeding USD 10,200 for single coverage and  USD 27,500 for family coverage; the tax is to be effective in 2018. They are making plan design changes such as increasing cost-sharing, reducing subsidies and eliminating plans with extensive coverage. They are also stepping up wellness activities, increasing consumerism

The maximum pretax contribution U.S. employees can make to their 401(k) plans in 2016 will remain at USD 18,000, unchanged from 2015. Other parameters such as the maximum catch-up contribution older employees can make to a plan (USD 6,000), the amount of employee compensation that can be considered in calculating pension benefits and contributions to DC plans (USD 265,000), the definition of a highly compensated employee for nondiscrimination testing (USD

According to a June 2015 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) survey of its members, U.S. employers, of the 83% of organizations that do offer a form of education assistance or tuition reimbursement to their employees, 75% reported the program as successful despite the fact that in many organizations, less than 5% of eligible employees participate in the programs. Education assistance programs provide an employee with a fixed

AIG in the UK have announced in September 2015 the launch of their “Expatriate Care” product, aimed at UK-headquartered organizations with expatriate employees. Interestingly, AIG has partnered with Paris, France – based broker and TPA Henner. One of Henner’s division is a medical plan administrator with a network of 35,000+ medical providers in 160 countries, with discounts and direct billing arrangements. The AIG UK product includes a medical second

Most Western Europeans underestimate their personal risk of becoming unable to work, according to an August 2015 survey by Zurich covering six European countries. Respondents generally tend to overestimate accidents as a leading cause of disability. But at the same time, they are unaware that the probability of becoming work-disabled during one’s working lifetime – whether due to an accident or other causes – may be as high as

Payroll software and services provider ADP and the GoHealth Insurance platform that offers subsidized health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, have together launched a private health exchange that enables employers to assist both full-time employees and the contingent workforce, i.e. part-time, temporary and contract workers ineligible for employer-sponsored coverage, in selecting health plans. Apparently in an effort to leverage up-to-date, detailed employee data from its clients’ payrolls,

GEB launched GEB Horizon Plan, an international retirement and savings product for its small and medium-sized corporate clients.

AIG USA launched a new product, AIG Home Protection, a voluntary employee benefit that covers out-of-pocket expenses related to repairing or replacing home appliances. Available to groups with at least 2,500 employees, it covers parts and labor for repairing or replacing mechanical and electrical failures on products within the home, up to USD 5000/year. The program is an interesting example of B2B2E (business-to-business-to-employee) marketing and of leveraging P/C capabilities

French wholesale broker APRIL Group released in June 2015 a service card for employees facing hardship such as divorce,accident, death of a relative, etc. “April for Me” allows employers to support these employees through help with administrative procedures, hands-on assistance (babysitting, cleaning services, etc.), and support (social worker, psychologist, etc.) in case of a traumatic event. This is expected to drive greater employee engagement and a quicker return to