U.S.-based think tank The Conference Board in March 2018 released its global business cycle indicators for February 2018. The Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.6 percent in February 2018 to 112.3 (2016=100). The Coincident Economic Index (CEI) for the Euro Area increased 0.1 percent in February 2018 to 102.9 (2016=100). The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal

U.S. health insurance start-up Oscar Health in March 2018 raised $165 million in a funding round led by Founders Fund to finance its expansion plans in four to five cities a year. This funding round was led by Brian Singerman and Founders Fund and includes 8VC, Verily Life Sciences, Fidelity, General Catalyst, Capital G, Khosla Ventures, Thrive Capital, and others. Oscar Health claims it has generated an underwriting profit

LifeScore Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. insurance carrier Mass Mutual, and global reinsurer Swiss Re, have announced a collaboration to support LifeScore360, LifeScore Labs’ standards-based algorithmic risk scoring solution. LifeScore360 will be offered as an additional analytics option for Swiss Re’s automated underwriting system (Magnum). In addition, Swiss Re will more generally support the use of LifeScore360 in life reinsurance transactions in the U.S. LifeScore Labs was

Swiss Re in March 2018 appointed Claudia Cordioli as managing director of the group’s reinsurance business in Western and Southern Europe, reporting to Jean-Jacques Henchoz, CEO reinsurance EMEA and a member of Swiss Re’s group executive committee. Swiss Re consolidates its France, Benelux and Switzerland operations with its Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Mediterranean unit, which has been led by Cordioli. Prior to that role, she was CFO reinsurance EMEA

Employers around the world report optimistic hiring outlooks in Q2 2018, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. Employers in 43 of 44 countries say they plan to add staff, with hiring confidence strongest in Croatia, Taiwan, Japan, Hungary and the U.S., followed by 17 countries including Canada, France, Germany and the UK. Employers in Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic report the weakest hiring prospects. “We are

Tax partner Michael Bussa has been named the national leader, U.S., for the Global Reward Services (GRS) practice of audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG. Bussa has more than 30 years’ experience advising organizations on the structuring, implementation, and tax and regulatory compliance of their global reward programs to his new position. According to him, “Globalization, technological advances, regulatory changes, the future of retirement, the shifting landscape of health

In March 2018, Dag Zwikker joined ASN, Advisory Services Network in Zurich, Switzerland, as Sales Area Manager and Business Development Advisor. Founded in 1995, ASN is a boutique consultant and licensed broker in Switzerland and Europe specialized in cross-border benefits advice to organizations that employ an internationally mobile workforce, to individual globetrotters and digital nomads. Dag’s broad experience in international employee benefits – in particular in group risk and

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) for the U.S. increased sharply in February 2018, after also increasing in January. The index now stands at 107.74, up from 106.50 (a downward revision) in January. The change represents a 5.6 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago, “suggesting that strong job growth is likely to continue in the coming months,” according to Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North

Zurich Insurance Group in March 2018 accelerated the growth of Cover-More Group, its specialist global travel insurance and assistance solutions business, by entering into agreements to acquire providers of traveler assistance in Latin America. These acquired businesses operate under the Travel Ace and Universal Assistance brands. The transaction incorporates 19 legal entities operating throughout Latin America, most notably in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Under Zurich’s ownership, the

Global health care benefits provider Aetna International in March 2018 announced that it has acquired Canadian Insurance in Hong Kong, and is now licensed to offer health insurance in Hong Kong. The license allows Aetna International to market its products and services solely under the Aetna brand. Aetna’s history in Asia started in 2007 as a specialist health insurer in Hong Kong, via its acquisition of Goodhealth. Hong Kong

IBIS Academy organizer Gallagher in March 2018 published updates to the conference agenda, particularly significant to the IBIS Mobility track running 7-9 May 2018. Three sessions are of particular interest to global mobility managers. Important Updates in the World of Mobility Tax Managing Risk, Managing Compliance Roundtable “I don’t know – Send it to HR:” Employment Essentials for the Global Mobility Professional

In an assessment of the business costs of Brexit published in March 2018, Oliver Wyman and Clifford Chance have calculated the impact of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on companies if the EU27 and U.K. revert to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading relationship with each other. The cost of Brexit in red tape alone could total around £31 billon for EU exporters and around £27 billon for U.K. exporters,

In a year deemed by many to be both one of global economic growth and geopolitical uncertainty, Hong Kong-headquartered Crown World Mobility (CWM) in March 2018 announced the launch of its 2018 Global Mobility Trends report. According to CWM, “This year, we expect millennials to have an even greater influence on mobility trends. Talent has arguably never been more globally mobile than it is today, and millennials are hungry

Roger Ibbotson, economist and creator of the “Stock, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation” (SBBI®) chart, in March 2018 unveiled his latest research that analyzes the emerging potential of Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIA) as an alternative to bonds in retirement portfolios. Researched and written by Ibbotson and his team at Zebra Capital Management, the white-paper, Fixed Indexed Annuities: Consider the Alternative, suggests bond returns in today’s historically low interest rate environment

Efforts to increase workforce productivity have focused on upgraded technology, process improvement and better governance. A white paper released in March 2018 by Morneau Shepell suggests that it is now time to tackle the most complex element of improving workforce productivity: ensuring commitments to total health from employers and employees. Total Health: the last piece of the workforce productivity puzzle, by Dr. Bill Howatt, explains that workforce productivity, or

GBV: Please tell us about your appointment as Chairman of WBN, what does this entail? Jim Watt: I am going to be assuming the chairmanship of Worldwide Broker Network in April of this year (2018) and I’m excited about the opportunity because I really believe in the network and in the global aspects of business commerce.

The inaugural meeting of the Cross-Border Benefits Alliance (CBBA) on December 6 could be described as a classic meeting of the minds, featuring such authorities as the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and other private and public-sector organizations coming together to promote cross border pensions as well as find a way to address the legislative and judicial issues that surround them.

Duty of Care is a generally accepted principle in many countries around the world. It’s an important factor in building trust and reinforcing commitment toward employees, and in some countries, it’s enshrined in legislation. An employer can be deemed to have breached its duty of care if it fails to do everything reasonable to keep employees safe from harm.

The current 2017-18 flu season is a bad one. Hospitalization rates are now higher than in recent years at the same point, and infection rates are still rising. The best line of defense is the seasonal influenza vaccine. But H3N2 viruses, like the one that’s infecting many people this year, are particularly hard to defend against, and this year’s shot isn’t very protective against H3N2.

Global insurance brokerage Hub International in March 2018 announced that it has acquired the assets of Spectra Management. Headquartered in Sandy, Utah, Spectra specializes in helping companies create employee benefits packages that ‘achieve the delicate balance between financial goals and company culture’. Through its retirement division, Spectra provides 401(k) retirement services, fiduciary risk management services, investment due diligence, plan and compliance review, provider services and benchmarking, and wealth management.