INDUSTRY FOCUS - Insurance & Healthcare: Industry Insights and Corporate News

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By Jennifer Khoo


AD MediLink

Healthcare advisory firm AD MediLink has reported the opening of Hong Kong’s newest private hospital, Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital (GHK) – a 500-bed multi-specialty private tertiary hospital located in Wong Chuk Hang on Hong Kong Island. It is the 12th private hospital in Hong Kong and dedicated to providing quality healthcare at slightly more affordable rates than other private hospitals in the city.

GHK is also the first private teaching hospital, amongst two other teaching hospitals in Hong Kong. In collaboration with the University of Hong Kong, it will provide training and development to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals whilst also contributing to the advancement of clinical research.

Aetna International

Aetna International, one of the world’s leading health insurance providers, is calling for urgent efforts among governments, food producers and retailers, employers and insurance companies in tackling the growing global crisis of obesity. It suggests a holistic approach combining health incentives, taxes and education programs to tackle “globesity.”

A recent report by Aetna, Globesity: Tackling the World’s Obesity Pandemic, shows that obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980, with 13 percent of adults worldwide classified as obese and nearly 40 percent as overweight. It also predicts that these numbers will rise further if urgent, collaborative and targeted action is not taken.

AIA Group

AIA Group Limited (AIA), the largest independent publicly-listed pan-Asian life insurance group, has signed a multi-year agreement with English footballer David Beckham, under which he will become the company’s global ambassador and support AIA in its goal of helping people in the Asia Pacific region live longer, healthier, better lives.

Beckham will appear at AIA’s community and business activities to personify and demonstrate the benefits and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. His appointment follows the launch of AIA Vitality, Asia’s first and only comprehensive science-backed wellness platform. It provides the knowledge, tools and motivation to help bring about long-term positive behavioral change for a healthier lifestyle.

AIG Insurance Hong Kong Limited

As Chinese and Asian multinationals expand overseas, they will face unique risks and liabilities in every market they enter, according to a recent article published by AIG. This is particularly the case in markets outside of Asia, where shareholder claims and class action lawsuits can cost companies millions of dollars in defense and settlement costs. 

This is not a phenomenon restricted to the United States, where companies are generally aware that corporations face a generally more litigious environment. Australia has seen a significant increase in shareholder class action suits in recent years and is now the jurisdiction where corporations are most at risk of facing class action outside of the U.S. market.

Allied World Assurance Company, Ltd

Allied World Assurance Company’s Accounts Receivable Insurance offering is now available in 49 states across the U.S. and the city of Washington, D.C. The coverage will help chief financial officers and other senior financial executives mitigate the risk of non-payment for their companies due to customer insolvency, protracted default and/or political risk.

This will enhance the ability to reach more customers and help them protect their companies’ balance sheets. In addition, Hugo Carson has joined the team as Vice President, Accounts Receivable Insurance, and will be based in Chicago. He brings over a decade of credit insurance underwriting experience to Allied World.

Aon Hong Kong Limited

Aon’s latest 2017 Risk Maps report on Political Risk and Terrorism and Political Violence finds that an evolving terrorist treat and populist nationalism are creating an increasingly volatile operating environment for international business, with impacts including business interruption and disruption in the supply chain.

Other violent risks are also evolving at the geopolitical level, leading to increased defense spending, more authoritarian forms of government and a weakening consensus between states. These developments have underlined the importance of considering crisis management perils that go beyond property damage, particularly in sectors that have been most affected such as oil and gas, transport and retail.

Baxter Healthcare Limited

When hospitalized patients are malnourished due to inadequate consumption of calories, protein and other nutrients needed for tissue maintenance and repair, there can be significant human and healthcare costs, reports Baxter Healthcare.

In the U.S., malnourished inpatients are exposed to a five times greater likelihood of mortality and are two times more likely to have an extended hospital stay than regular patients.

This creates an estimated US$42 billion burden to the healthcare system, according to Baxter. In addition, malnourished patients are 54 percent more likely to be readmitted within 30 days, which may lead to an additional US$17,000 in hospital costs per patient.

Chubb Insurance Hong Kong Limited

More than 50 percent of 500 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) surveyed in the UK, Ireland and France are concerned that they are underinsured and are worried they are buying insurance that may be inadequate for their needs, according to research published by Chubb Insurance.

Findings of the research suggest that HNWIs look for service excellence in their insurance cover, identifying three main “pillars” of what high-quality service looks like. They are: platinum support – a high level of responsiveness with a single named point of contact; specialization – addressing their unusual lifestyle and atypical possessions; and superior claims-handling experience – a fair, expert and “pain-free” process of filing claims.

Chubb Life Insurance Company Limited

Chubb has appointed Michael Ho to the role of Country President for Chubb Life in Hong Kong, responsible for leading the Hong Kong operations for Chubb Life (the life insurance division of Chubb) which provides a broad range of life insurance and wealth management solutions for customers at different stages of life.

With more than 16 years of life insurance industry experience, specifically in growing agency capabilities, Ho has a proven track record in “delivering outstanding results.” He joins Chubb from Prudential Asia, where he most recently held the role of Regional Chief Agency Officer, responsible for building and developing the regional agency capabilities in Asia. 

CIGNA Worldwide Life Insurance Company Limited

Cigna Hong Kong has launched “Cigna HealthSecure Protection Booster,” a new product that offers critical illness protection to customers throughout all stages of their lives. Depending on specific options, policy holders can enjoy a guaranteed increase in the sum insured after a designated period, or opt for retaining the sum insured when their financial needs change.

It covers 53 critical illnesses, including cancer, stroke and heart disease, all three of which are common in Hong Kong. In the unfortunate event that the person insured is first diagnosed and confirmed to have any of those illnesses, 100 percent of the sum insured will be paid to provide financial support.

CXA Group

Singapore-based digital health tech company CXA is the first recipient of funding from a joint investment between EDBI (corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board) and Royal Philips – a partnership which aims to help high-potential digital health companies build technological capabilities to innovate, scale up and expand regionally and globally to address the healthcare needs of an aging population.

The CXA platform helps employers consolidate their vendors into a one-stop marketplace by digitizing claims, health data and payment flows among employees, employers, insurers and providers. CXA can also benefit from integrating Philips’ health monitoring solutions to track employees’ vital signs and to help them prevent and manage chronic conditions.

FTLife Insurance Company Limited

FTLife Insurance Company Limited (FTLife) has launched a first-of-its-kind medical service for its customers who may now seek complimentary advice from doctors at FTLife’s customer service center in Tsim Sha Tsui, a service available every Wednesday on an appointment basis.

The service center is unparalleled in Hong Kong’s insurance industry in that it offers a unique proposition of a one-stop shop for application, underwriting, medical and many other aspects. The goal is to provide an additional way for consumers to maintain good health through a professional medical team and a range of health-protection products.

Herbalife Asia Pacific Services Limited

As part of its business plan to expand globally, nutrition company Herbalife has reached an agreement to form a joint venture with Tasly Holding Group, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) health products and services corporation which manages a broad spectrum of leading pharmaceutical, consumer products, healthcare services and distribution channels in China.

The joint venture will develop and commercialize high-quality consumer health products using Tasly’s deep portfolio of proprietary formulations, patents, know-hows, and clinical studies, and it will leverage Herbalife Nutrition’s scientific, regulatory and commercial development expertise and distributor network to bring the products to a global market.

Hong Kong Adventist Hospital

In an online post, Fion Lin, a registered dietitian at the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, advises readers on the best diet for stress relief which involves adequate consumption of certain nutrients. Vitamin B helps the human body maintain a healthy nervous system, relieve stress and improve quality of sleep and energy levels.

Foods containing a combination of tryptophan and carbohydrates enhance the release of insulin, which helps tryptophan enter the brain to stimulate production of the stress-relieving hormone serotonin. Omega-3 fatty acid, commonly found in salmon, tuna and sardine, helps to relax blood vessels as they often become tense under stress and elevation of blood pressure.

Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation

The value of Hong Kong total exports of goods increased by 18.2 percent in February 2017 to HK$241.7 billion over a year earlier, reports the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC). The value of re-exports increased by 18.4 percent to HK$238.9 billion, while the value of domestic exports decreased by 3.8 percent to HK$2.8 billion.

Exports to the Mainland and many other Asian markets were the main driver of growth. The global trade environment, however, remains subject to uncertainties, including those associated with the interest rate normalization and other policy direction in the U.S., Brexit-related developments, as well as heightened geopolitical tensions in various regions.

Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd

Research compiled by the Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings reveals that tea, especially green tea, is an important source of polyphenols, which act as strong antioxidants. Green tea’s beneficial effects are attributed to its ability to reduce oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, free radical generation and unhealthy LDL cholesterol-oxidation.

Several oxidative stress conditions – such as highly competitive physical exercise or pregnancy – can result in an increase of membrane-bound haemoglobin (MBH) due to the degradation of red blood cell metabolism and of the antioxidant defenses in aged and damaged red blood cells. In a clinical study, green tea is associated with a significant decrease in MBH, suggesting a reduced oxidative stress within red blood cells.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Limited

Life Sciences companies will need to balance increased pricing pressures, a growing regulatory burden and the emergence of cyber risks in 2017, according to recent research by JLT. Consumers want more focused and customized treatments, but governments and health insurers may baulk at the cost of some innovative treatments.

The regulatory burden on industry-wide compliance has also increased: the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is phasing in tougher rules to track and trace products and ingredients in the pharmaceutical supply chain, and similar rules are being developed in Europe. Cyber risk is another pressing concern for the sector where hacking in the supply chain and manufacturing processes is being discovered. 

Kimberly-Clark (HK) Limited

Kimberly-Clark, a U.S.-based company specializing in health & hygiene products, said it is focusing on providing superior quality products for babies and women in its broad-based market in India, a market it currently serves from its Mumbai headquarters and a Pune-based manufacturing facility. With 25 million babies a year, India accounts for US$350 million of the diaper category.

Describing Asia as the most promising growth market, Achal Agarwal, President for Asia Pacific at Kimberly-Clark, highlights the firm’s corporate social responsibility commitment in the country, including restoring school toilets and driving behavioral change among students towards open defecation.

Lockton Companies (Hong Kong) Limited

2016 was a tumultuous year for the environmental insurance market, according to Lockton’s Market Update, given the critical rhetoric of climate change and the U.S. environmental policy in general by the Trump administration. However, any cutback in enforcement or reduction in regulatory standards at the federal level may potentially be offset at the state level.

California, for example, is a state that routinely adopts more stringent standards than those set by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is one of the most productive economies in the world, demonstrating that businesses can thrive despite progressive environmental ideology guiding the formation of regulations at the state level.

Manulife

Manulife recently announced that Roy Gori, currently Senior Executive Vice President and General Manager of Manulife’s Asia Division, has been appointed the company’s President, effective June 5th. Gori will have responsibility for Manulife’s global operating businesses, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Donald Guloien.

Gori will assume leadership of Manulife’s Canadian, U.S. and Investment operations, in addition to Asia. He will also be responsible for developing and executing Manulife’s business strategy. Gori, currently based in Hong Kong, will relocate to Toronto. Chief Investment Officer Warren Thomson, GM of Canadian Division Marianne Harrison, GM of U.S. Division Craig Bromley, and GM of Asia Division (once appointed) will report directly to Gori.

Matilda International Hospital

The Matilda International Hospital has announced its service development plan for 2017, which includes the opening of a downtown family clinic and the introduction of new medical technology and equipment. In January, it unveiled a new brand identity to mark its 110th anniversary.

The in-town Matilda Clinic is scheduled to open in Q2 at Caine Road, Mid-Levels, mainly providing family medicine, blood tests and vaccination services. In addition, it plans to expand its Medical Surgical Ward and to introduce several new medical technologies in 2017, including Hong Kong’s first 3D flat panel mobile C-arm in the operating theatre, holmium laser equipment and new CT scan equipment.

Mead Johnson

Scientific research, conducted at nutrition company Mead Johnson and various academic institutions, has found that human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) – which act as prebiotics and are important for the growth and development of a healthy digestive tract – not only help improve an infant’s digestive health but also boost the immunity system.

Studies have shown a link between prebiotic intake and improved immune function in infants, including reduced incidence of infections, fever episodes, dermatitis and allergies. Babies who consume human milk or formula with prebiotics experience a significant increase in the growth of beneficial types of bacteria which aid in digestion and help promote the overall health of the digestive tract.

Mercer

According to Mercer’s LGBT Benefits around the World Survey, while many global organizations have adopted broader diversity and inclusion policies, just over half have tailored these policies to specifically accommodate LGBT employees. Notably, most organizations that have adopted a stand-alone policy for LGBT employees have done so as a global policy for all locations.

In the survey, one-third of organizations do not have a designated program for LGBT employees within their diversity and inclusion policy, and 20 percent rely on other corporate policies to accommodate for LGBT individuals. However, most have adopted a policy that protects employees from workplace discrimination or harassment.

MetLife

According to research compiled by MetLife, an increasing number of women are business owners and are gradually taking on a larger role in building a secure financial future for their families. A survey by Fidelity Investments found that 92 percent of women wanted to learn more about financial planning and that 83 percent intended to get more involved in their finances.

Women are put at a disadvantage when planning for a secure financial future, especially after retirement, because they live longer and typically have higher health care expenses than men. There is also a gender savings gap, according to BlackRock’s Global Investor Pulse Survey, as men tend to start saving for retirement earlier than women.

Natera Inc

Natera Inc., a leader in non-invasive genetic testing, has appointed Mike Brophy as chief financial officer, replacing Herman Rosenman who has joined the company’s board of directors following his three-year tenure as CFO. Brophy was previously Natera’s Senior Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations.

Prior to joining Natera, he served as an executive director and as a vice president in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley, where he focused on advising corporate clients in the life science tools and diagnostics sector. He holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the United States Air Force Academy.

Now Health International (Asia Pacific) Limited

Now Health International, a Hong Kong-based global business, has launched operation in Abu Dhabi, expanding its range of international health insurance plans across the UAE, particularly among group customers with ten or more employees.

Following the launch of Now Health International’s partnership with RSA Insurance in the UAE last year, insurance plans issued in Abu Dhabi will be insured by RSA Insurance and administered by Now Health International.

Customers will have access to the full range of Now Health International benefits and services, including its claims processing and a mobile app allowing customers to easily search for the nearest medical provider and submit a claim.

Old Mutual International Isle of Man Limited

A market insight report by Old Mutual indicates that stock markets worldwide have advanced in the first three months of 2017 amid improved company earnings, better-than-expected economic data, and a solid pace of growth. The report finds that company shares in emerging markets, such as Brazil and India, outperformed those in developed markets as the U.S. dollar retreated.

Global debt markets rose as investor expectations for inflation – which erodes the value of the fixed payments on bonds – stabilized, and the U.S. Federal Reserve carried out a widely-anticipated interest-rate increase. Rate hikes typically weigh on debt markets as they raise the appeal of cash vs. bonds.

Prudential Hong Kong Limited

The 2016 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI) gives Hong Kong a satisfaction score of 58/100, suggesting the needs of people’s primary relationships (i.e. with partners, parents, friends and children) are fulfilled 58 percent of the time, below the average score of 68/100 across all markets in Asia.

The PRI measures, via a numerical score, the levels of satisfaction among people with their primary relationships. The relationship scores with their partners, best friends, parents and children among people surveyed in Hong Kong are 51/100, 40/100, 35/100, and 34/100, respectively. Colleagues score just 24/100, although more than half of working people say their work colleagues are among their best friends.

Sinophi Healthcare Limited

HuaiYin Hospital in Huai’an City, Jiangsu Province, China, provided treatment for a total of 537,195 out-patients in 2016 (up from 515,674 in 2015) – an average of more than 1,470 patients served daily. Its in-patient numbers also increased to 47,740 (up from 47,470 in 2015).

In 2014, Sinophi Healthcare invested in HuaiYin Hospital, a Class-AA public hospital with over 1,000 beds, located in the central HuaiYin District of Huai’an City with a population of approximately one million. As the second largest hospital in Huai’an City, the hospital serves the people of HuaiYin District and attracts patients from across other urban and rural areas of Huai’an City and its 5.5 million inhabitants.

Starr International Insurance (Asia) Ltd

According to the latest Executive Brief published by Starr, the eagerness of western corporations to take part via partnerships, investment funding, technology transfer, and procurement support in “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR)-related projects may spark a broader revival in the mining, commodities, and construction sectors.

The rush initially could be led by global mining giants as the area covered under OBOR holds huge mineral reserves, including precious and industrial metals as well as large oil, natural gas and coal deposits, followed by those in energy, engineering and transportation equipment. China has already earmarked US$82 billion for OBOR projects.

St James' Settlement

St. James Settlement (SJS), a local charity dedicated to serving children, teenagers, families, the elderly and people with disabilities, has organized a writing competition as a platform to help others cope with the loss of a relative or friend and go through the difficult grieving period.

The initiative, entitled “Letter to Heaven: Love never changes,” was launched in partnership with HKU’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration and local newspaper AM730 to encourage people who have faced the loss of a loved one to express their feelings by writing about it. It will be held from March to May 2017.

Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital

Plant stanols or plant sterols (phytosterols) – found naturally in plant-based foods such as corn, wheat, rye, vegetable oil, nuts and seeds – are groups of compounds proven to reduce the absorption of both dietary and biliary cholesterol from the digestive tract into the blood, according to research recently highlighted by the Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital (TWAD).

Studies suggest that an intake of 1.5-2.4 grams of phytosterols reduces total cholesterol levels as well as LDL-cholesterol (considered a form of “bad” cholesterol) by an average of 7-10 percent within two to three weeks. An average of 2 grams daily is recommended but is normally achieved through supplements as most daily diets provide only about 300 milligrams.

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. has released its annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report for fiscal year 2016, highlighting the overall progress toward its environmental and social goals as well as ongoing support for the community. The company has identified 12 strategic goals connected to its business and to its four key CSR areas (Community, Environment, Marketplace and Workplace).

The company was recognized last year by the United Nations Foundation with a Global Leadership Award for the accomplishments of Walgreens’ highly impactful initiative called “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” It provides life-saving vaccines to children in developing countries through the Foundation’s [email protected] campaign.

Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson has announced the appointment of James Leung as Regional Director, Business Development and Proposition, Health and Benefits, Asia and Australasia, amid strong market demand for more sophisticated benefits solutions in an era of rising medical insurance costs. He will be responsible for developing client relationships, formulating health and benefits solutions, providing benefits management services for clients at the regional level.

A specialist in health risk management, corporate wellness and employee benefits insurance placement, Leung has previously held leadership roles with insurers, international benefits consultants and brokers, and was instrumental in the implementation of programs for different organizations, including a first-of-its-kind, industry-specific program for the transportation sector.