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[VIDEO] The Prime Times - November 2015

The Prime Times is back with another dose of health and insurance news from around the world. This month we look at the happiness of expats living abroad, illness connected to longevity, and how ASEAN unity could lead to new markets for insurers.

Posted on Nov 12, 2015 by Travis Jones

Users in China can view this video on Youku here.


Destinations for Health, Wealth, & Happiness

InterNations has recently released the results of their annual survey on which destinations around the world have left expatriates with the most health, wealth and happiness. Over 14 thousand expats in 195 countries responded.

Ecuador was #1 on the list of Top Expat Destinations in 2015, which Mexico, Malta, Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, Panama, Canada and Australia filling out the top 10.

Focusing on Asia, other than Singapore and Thailand, there were a number of other countries that were included in the top 50, including the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Myanmar.

These countries all ranked highly for their combined score in 6 categories: Quality of life, ease of settling in, work, family life, and personal finance.  In the category that has the most to do with health, quality of life, Singapore came out on top not only for its inhabitants feelings about the levels of safety and medical care, but also for the city’s exceptional leisure, travel and transport options.

Looks like there are a lot of great options out there if you would like to work abroad.


Living Longer. Living Sicker?

Our next story has a mixed bag of news from recent research published in the UK’s Lancet medical journal. The research states that people are living longer, but also dealing with more illness as a result.

The findings reported that over the past quarter century, global life expectancy has risen by an average of 6 years for both men and women. The research pointed to these improved mortality rates being caused by decline in deaths from diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. Since 1990, the average life expectancy has gone from 65 to 71 years.

However, due to heart disease, stroke and lower respiratory infections that are more common among older people, instances of these types of lifestyle diseases are rising on a worldwide scale. Lead author of the study, Professor Theo Vos of the University of Washington in the US, said, “The world has made great progress in health, but now the challenge is to invest in finding more effective ways of preventing or treating the major causes of illness and disability.”

The bottom line is that declining child mortality and increased life expectancy are leading to an increase in global population, which the United Nations has projected to rise to 11 billion by the end of the century, so dealing with illnesses that commonly develop in old age is going to be of increasing importance each year.


A single ASEAN insurance market?

Finally, ASEAN member states are warning health insurance companies in the region to prepare for what could potentially be a single market among member countries. 

The organization, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maynmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has stated its intention to integrate its members economically under the banner of the new ASEAN Economic Community, which is expected to be officially unveiled at the end of 2015.

With an emphasis on integrating the economies of member states, the Community would bring down barriers that could allow an insurer in one country access to a number of new markets. One major hindrance to this, however, is that the standardization of insurance regulations across countries will be extremely difficult, if not practically impossible anytime in the near future.

On the subject Cambodian Minister of Economy & Finance Aun Porn Moniroth said that greater consistency in regulatory standards among the 10 ASEAN states is crucial to facilitate liberalization of the insurance sector in the region, and that regulatory differences raise the cost of cross border services, and compliance cost for different sets of rules can be high, thus hindering insurance market integration in ASEAN.

Here’s hoping that ASEAN insurers, regulators and policy makers can accomplish the worthwhile task of integration.

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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