Lara Helmi is the Managing Director and co-founder of CONNEX Assistance Middle East, the leading provider of full service assistance in the region. Since its inception in 1999, Lara has led the company’s expansion to operate in 14 countries across the Middle East and Africa through a vast network of providers.
Eva Kluge, MBA, is a proven expert in healthcare assistance and air medical transportation. She is currently Head of Business Development and Provider Networks at IMA Germany, a subsidiary of Groupe IMA based in France. Eva has over 25 years of experience in senior operational and strategic roles with major assistance companies in the travel insurance industry, including MunichRe/ ERGO Group and Europ Assistance.
For over 10 years, she was also successfully responsible for business development and marketing for two well-known air ambulance companies in Germany and Austria, where she received several awards for her pioneering work in the air ambulance sector.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare and Social Management and an MBA in Digital Transformation. She is also fluent in five languages, including Arabic, and has lived for seven years in the Middle East.
As a trained Agile Coach and Scrum Master, Eva is truly passionate about reacting quickly and proactively to a wide range of new challenges and transforming companies into learning organizations.
Sebastien Bedu is the General Manager of GCC for the Middle East team, based at the International SOS office in Dubai. He joined International SOS as the Branch Manager of MedAire, the Aviation & Maritime division of International SOS in 2015. During that time Sebastien was predominantly responsible for the growth and delivery of the Middle East & Africa’s book of business of the company and also led the development and implementation of the first-in-the-World travel pass during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, he was promoted into his current role of General Manager, GCC for International SOS where he now manages and oversees the Commercial and Operations teams for the region. Prior to joining International SOS, Sebastien worked for several large corporations where he was Director of Sales for the Middle East.
Mandy is Managing Editor of ITIJ and AirMed&Rescue. She has been involved in the international travel and health insurance sector since 2006 and regularly writes about industry issues such as underwriting, consolidation, cost containment, consumer education, fraud, assistance provision and complex air ambulance missions.
Jonathan Cooper (JC) is the managing director and founder of WIS Group Ltd; through its group companies WIS provides technology and marketing management solutions to insurers and distributors across the GCC that enables efficient distribution of travel related products. With a career spanning over 30 years in insurance, JC has worked with the world’s leading providers in the travel & retail sectors and crafted some of the most innovative and impactful customer solutions. JC has been based in Dubai for the last 9 years, has a passion for travel, and considers it his personal mission to improve traveller protection in the market, while realising the full commercial potential that this presents.