Chikungunya Fever outbreak in the Caribbean

2612506038_9c5c4c9833_mDisease control officials in the Western Hemisphere are on edge about a rising outbreak of chikungunya fever, a brutal mosquito-borne illness that is nearing epidemic status in the Caribbean.

For decades, chikungunya outbreaks were confined to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. However, in December, it was confirmed for the first time on several Caribbean Islands. The Centers for Disease Control has warned that there is a risk that the disease will be transported to new areas by infected travelers. So, travelers, we need you to pay attention and take steps to protect yourself.

Trust us – you don’t want to contract this disease. People infected with chikungunya fever can suffer from severe pain, high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and rash. Right, it’s no fun. The name is derived from an East African word for “that which bends,” which is a reference to the contorted posture the infected often take on because of the intense pain they suffer from.

Travelers should protect themselves by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. This means using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.

This is a situation that bears monitoring, so as we always advise, please pay attention to the news, particularly if you’re traveling to the Caribbean

source : the

New benefits added to ALC Prima Healthcare plans

Bubble Strip ClearOver the past few months we have been listening carefully to what you have been saying about how we might add further value to our international medical insurance plans, so from the 1st June we will be introducing either new cover or increasing existing benefits across our Prima Healthcare plans. To find out more, contact your nearest ALC Health sales centre.

Six Travel Etiquette Tips

If you’ve ever travelled before (you have, right?), you’ve likely witnessed or personally experienced an encounter with an obnoxious traveller. From berated flight attendants to loud talkers to the person who reclines their seat so far back, they’re practically resting on your lap—these types of travellers are sadly not uncommon writes the

The Golden Rule is important when you’re traveling too; travelers need to treat others as they want to be treated. In other words, be kind and remember you’re not the center of the universe.

If anything, being a polite and respectful traveler will not only make life easier for those you encounter, but it will provide you with a better traveling experience as well.

Not sure if you’re practicing the proper travel etiquette? Here’s what you should know:

Use Inside Voices The best way to judge if you’re talking too loud? Stop chatting for a minute and listen to how everyone else is talking (or not talking). Either bring your conversation down to a whisper, or match it to the volume of those around you. Appropriateness for how loud you’re allowed to be differs across cultures, especially when in a confined space such as a train or car.

Pack Lightly Although packing less is a great way to save a little money on fees, the fact that you’ll be able to get around with ease makes it simpler for yourself and those around you who would be obliged to help. Plus, this way people won’t be bumping into your bulging backpack all day long.

Don’t Stand In Front of Everything From monumental statues and paintings to entranceways and aisles, avoid making it difficult for people to walk around and/or see important attractions. If you need to have an important conversation with someone or must linger for some reason, try to move to the side.

Be Ready If you’re waiting in line for something, make sure you’re ready when you get to the front. If you’re going through airport security, for example, keep your boarding pass and personal identification in hand and take off your shoes and belt well in advance. This makes the process much faster for employees and those waiting behind you.

Understand Cultural Differences What is accepted in your home country might not be in another. From language to dress to cultural taboos, it’s important to acknowledge these differences and accept them. While you should do as much research as possible about the local culture before your trip, be respectful to others and don’t fight it if you’re told to do something differently.

Limit Mobile Technology Use Texting, talking loudly on the phone, or taking selfies while walking is a recipe for disaster—and can be an extreme annoyance to those around you. Restrain your mobile technology use in public, and you’ll not only make it a more pleasant experience for others, but you might get more out of your travels as well.

Save money, Buy before 1st June

Family (1)With our annual premium review approaching, now is the time to save money by arranging for your new international medical insurance with ALC Health to start before our rates increase on 1st June.

Choose from our range of flexible plans, each offering a range of comprehensive value-added benefits designed to give you more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

get your free quote here or contact ALC Health’s private client team at or call us on +44 (0)1903 817970

Vote for ALC Health at the Health Insurance Awards

vote-buttonVoting for this year’s Health Insurance Provider Awards is now open … and we’d really like your vote

We’ve been working really hard over the past 12 months to make sure that ALC Health continues to be your preferred international medical insurance provider and so now is your chance to show whether we have done a good job by nominating us in this year’s Health Insurance Provider Awards.

Simply click on the Vote for ALC Health herered button and follow the voting instructions to cast your vote for ALC Health in the Best individual international PMI Provider and Best group international PMI Provider categories and make 2014 our year !

Thank you, your vote means a lot to us

Pollution compensation for expat workers

shutterstock_72778033Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has announced plans to pay expat workers in China a wage premium to compensate for dangerous air pollution. Thought to be a global first, Panasonic describes the payment as a “premium for expatriates to compensate for a difficult and sometimes harsh living environment.” writes

The air quality in many Chinese cities is routinely found to be at hazardous levels, something Panasonic, which operates several factories in the country, is taking into account for its expat workers. Chinese government statistics agree that air quality standards are well below internationally accepted levels in all but three of 74 major cities.

Panasonic declined to say how much the premium would be, or how many workers may be entitled to it. The move is part of wider deals reached in Japan’s annual labour talks, reported the Guardian.

Health risks

The air pollution in many Chinese cities regularly exceeds the World Health Organisation’s guidelines, particularly with regards to PM2.5 – small particles, or particulate matter, which can penetrate the lungs and are thought to cause thousands of premature deaths every year.

Levels of PM 2.5 regularly reach 400 micrograms per cubic metre in Beijing, much more than the WHO safe guideline of 25 micrograms. High levels of particulate matter have been linked to lung cancer, heart problems, and complications in pregnancy. As individuals are largely unable to control outdoor air pollution it is up to local and regional governments to implement changes to improve air quality.

Smoking bans cut asthma and premature births

imagesCAFPGMRHSmoking bans cut asthma and premature births by 10%, study says according to the BBC.

Laws banning smoking in public places have had a positive impact on child health, an international study in the Lancet suggests.

Researchers found a 10% reduction in premature births and severe childhood asthma attacks within a year of smoke-free laws being introduced.

A research team analysed 11 previous studies from North America and Europe.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said smoking bans benefitted adults and children. Read More >

We’re at the 8th Asia Health Insurance Conference

18th-19th June 2014, Singapore

This year’s Asia Health Insurance Conference is being held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore and will see ALC Health Director, Andrew Apps taking on the role of Conference Chairman as well as making a key note presentation on “providing innovative high-end insurance products to the region”.

As Asia’s comprehensive Health Insurance Strategy Conference, the event brings together senior executives from private insurance, government, providers and industry experts to discuss business potential in this important market.
If you are attending the conference, and would like to set up a meeting with Andrew, do let us know and we’ll arrange a time and place .