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[VIDEO] The Prime Times - March 2016

The Prime Times is back with another dose of health and insurance news from around the world!. This month we look at a UK task force calling for greater fraud regulation, how it is that exercise helps our mental health, and how e-cigarettes are affecting UK smokers.

Posted on Mar 24, 2016 by Travis Jones


Taskforce calls for more regulation

Our first story today concerns Insurance Companies in the United Kingdom, as a group there calls for greater regulation in the insurance industry.

The country’s Insurance Fraud Taskforce, which is associated with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, among others, has moved on from months of ‘valuable research and ground-breaking dialogue’ carried out in its first year of existence. Now, using the information it has gathered, the taskforce has issued recommendations to the UK government and the insurance industry at large.

These recommendations include:

  • The UK government should examine how fraudulent and late claims can be discourage through court costs and evidence rules.
  • The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority should ‘properly and strongly enforce referral fee bans’ by working closely with claims management companies, and include organizations that are not currently regulated.
  • The  government should develop a strategy to cut down on nuisance calls and texts in order to reduce the amount of honest customers ‘being coerced into making spurious claims’.

BIBA’s executive director Graeme Trudgill had this to say on the recommendations, “For some years both the incidence and cost of insurance fraud have been increasing, with the impact being felt by honest customers. BIBA has included fraud-related calls for action in our manifestos for a number of years.” He went on to say, “We are also pleased that the separate recommendations of the independent review… have been referenced in the Taskforce recommendations as we believe stronger regulation and enforcement [are] key to helping reduce fraud.”

For the sake of insurers in the UK, we hope that their government will take action on the recommendations, as insurance fraud currently adds about 50 pounds to the annual insurance costs of every insured person in the country.


Exercise for mental health

Next, a recent study sheds more light on something that mental health professionals have known for some time: Exercise boosts our mental health.

A new imaging study from UC Davis Health System published in The Journal of Neuroscience has shown more about why people with good physical fitness also show better mental fitness.

It turns out that low levels of two common neurotransmitters – glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid – are linked to major depressive disorders, according to study lead author and professor in the school’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Richard Maddock. He stated, “Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters… Vigorous exercise is the most demanding activity the brain encounters… but nobody knows what happens with all that energy. Apparently, one of the things it’s doing is making more neurotransmitters.”

So exercise is actually leading to the creation of more neurotransmitters that prevent depression. 

While the benefits to the mind faded over time, they did have somewhat long lasting effects, and those that exercised clearly exhibited higher levels of neurotransmitters than the control group that did not exercise at all.

Only testing strenuous exercise so far, the team hopes to test less intense activity, such as walking, in the future.

Whatever the future holds, the results are clear. To keep our minds fit, we better get out there are exercise!


E-cigarettes get results

Finally, we have another story from the United Kingdom, as a recent study shared some good news about tobacco smoking there.

Researchers at University College London have concluded that the recent e-cigarette trend has allowed 16 to 20 thousand people in England to quit smoking long term in 2014 alone.

The team’s numbers went on to show that nearly 900,000 people tried using e-cigarette products to quit smoking that year.

Earlier research had already shown that e-cigarette usage increases the chance of being able to quit smoking by 50% vs other methods, so it was good that the UK was able to quantify how many people were able to quit smoking with the devices.

Sadly, the increased performance only raised long-term quitting success rates from 5 to 7.5% - a far cry from the ideal rate in the minds of health professionals. Let’s hope future advancements can help people around the world kick their smoking habits for good.

That’s it for this edition of the Prime Times. We’ll be back next month with another dose of health and insurance news. Until then, for all your international health insurance needs, be sure to check out!




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