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Global insurance premiums passed the USD 5 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, equivalent to more than 6% of world gross domestic product (GDP) according to the July 2019 issue of sigma, “World insurance: the great pivot east continues”, from Swiss Re Institute. This surge was based on solid growth in the non-life sector, especially in China and other emerging Asian countries, as well as in advanced

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in June 2019 released the 2019 World Investment Report, which analyses global and regional foreign direct investment trends and prospects. It also documents national and international investment policy developments. In its theme chapter, the 2019 Report provides the global landscape of special economic zones (SEZs) and offers a policy framework for addressing key emerging challenges. The report highlights: Global foreign

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for the United States was released in June 2019, indicating a decline from the previous month of May. The Index now stands at 121.5 (1985=100), down from 131.3 in May. The Present Situation Index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, decreased from 170.7 to 162.6, while the Expectations Index, which is based on the short-term consumer outlook for income,

Institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for corporate governance are the topics for the 2019 Corporate Governance Factbook, released in June 2019 by the OECD. The Factbook provides easily accessible and up-to-date information about the institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for worldwide corporate governance, and complements the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance. It is intended for use by governments, regulators, and the private sector to compare their own frameworks with

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

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

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

The OECD in April 2019 released its 2019 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook, which presents new evidence on changes in job stability, underemployment and the share of well-paid jobs available. The report also discusses the policy implications of these changes with respect to how technology, globalization, population ageing, and other mega-trends are transforming the labor market in OECD countries. The report also focuses on how labor market regulation

According to the OECD’s latest Employment Outlook 2019, released April 2019 as part of the OECD’s Future of Work initiative, governments need to overhaul their approach to employment and jobs to reduce further social and economic tensions. Without rapid action, many people, particularly the low skilled, will be left behind. Among the findings of the report: A rising number of young people with less than tertiary educations in many

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

Deloitte in April 2019 released its Global Human Capital Trends report for 2019. The theme of the report is “Leading the social enterprise—Reinvent with a human focus” and the report examines the challenges organizations face to reinvent the ways in which they engage with their stakeholders. The report cites “intensifying economic, social, and political issues,” as the driving factor in this need for change and states: “After nearly 10

The UK government in April 2019 published practical guidance on social security contributions for UK and EU internationally-mobile workers in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This guidance also includes actions UK employers would need to take for outbound employees to the EU. This follows draft legislation published in December 2018 by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) regarding the UK’s proposals to

According to information prepared by Deloitte UK in April 2019, the UK government has published practical guidance on the social security contributions position for UK and EU internationally mobile workers if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and actions UK employers would then need to take for UK outbound assignees to the EU. This follows on from draft legislation published by the Department of Work and Pensions

A report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in April 2019, Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class, suggests that governments need to do more to support middle-class households who are struggling to maintain their economic weight and lifestyles as their stagnating incomes fail to keep up with the rising costs of housing and education. This new analysis “delivers a bleak picture and a call for

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in March 2019 released the ninth edition of Society at a Glance, the biennial OECD overview of social indicators. The full report can be accessed here. This edition of the report addresses the growing demand for quantitative evidence on social well-being and its trends, and focuses on LGBT groups (lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender) and their lack of acceptance in

  With the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union delayed until May 22, 2019, if the Brexit deal is accepted, or April 12, 2019, if rejected, many clients of the insurance industry are unsure of what to do in either case. Lockton in March 2019 released an advisory: Brexit update: What US multinational employers need to know to help its clients and others in the industry during these

Insurance Europe in March 2019 published a checklist regarding the insurance implications of a no-deal Brexit. Insurance Europe is the European insurance and reinsurance federation, representing all types of insurance and reinsurance carriers. Intended for the general public but relevant for business travelers and short-term secondments, the checklist deals with: Motor insurance – Currently, motorists insured in any EU member state can drive their vehicle in any other EU member

New GDP data published in March 2019 by the Conference Board shows that growth has slowed to 2.6 per cent in the United States for the final quarter of the year, despite growing at nearly four per cent last year. Growth is still above the U.S. economy’s long-term two-per cent trend. The U.S. can expect a further slowdown in growth due to fading effects of an anemic fiscal stimulus,

OECD in March 2019 released a new survey, “Risks that Matter”, which asked over 22,000 people aged 18 to 70 years old in 21 countries* about their worries and concerns, and their opinions on how well they think their governments help them tackle social and economic risks. The nationally-representative survey finds that many people in OECD countries believe public services and social benefits are difficult to reach and inadequate.

Randstad in March 2019 released the first quarter 2019 edition of its Workmonitor report. Workmonitor’s Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next six months, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. Besides mobility, the survey addresses employee satisfaction and personal motivation as well as a rotating set of themed questions. The report for

People respond to voice warnings, not to standard fire alarms, and evacuations are speedier when timely information is communicated, according to a study released in March 2019 by Siemens Building Technologies. It has been noted many times, in multiple studies, that building occupants often ignore or are slow to respond to standard fire alarm sounders. There is even a tendency for people to continue with their activities, oblivious to

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s and Interim Economic Outlook published in March 2019, global growth is slowing, showing signs of decoupling, with greater concern for Europe than the US, which is experiencing a slight slowdown. The slowdown has been faster than anticipated a few months ago; growth in Europe has been particularly disappointing, as trade growth both within the EU and with external partners

Emerging markets will remain the growth engine for the global economy and the insurance industry over the next decade, according to the latest sigma report from Swiss Re Institute, published in March 2019. The study explores how the seven largest emerging markets will contribute more than 40% of global growth in the next decade, with China accounting for over a quarter of the global output. (The seven largest emerging

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in February 2019 released a new paper, titled “Trends in life expectancy in EU and other OECD countries” that reports on trends in life expectancy in the 28 EU countries and some other high-income OECD countries, and examines potential explanations for the slowdown in improvements in recent years. The slowing of improvements, which has been measured since 2011, has been greatest