How to approach Employee Benefits challenges at international levelA look into how head offices can support their subsidiaries in practice.
In the previous articles of this series (Article I & Article II), we discussed the importance of knowing the insurable Employee Benefits (EB) specific to your organisation, so as to understand the total costs associated with providing benefits to employees.
With this knowledge gathered centrally in the head office of your organisation, your central Finance and Benefits managers will be able to seek possibilities of optimization at a local level with an international approach.
Optimization, in this sense, can mean different things:
- Sustainably reducing costs while keeping the level ofbenefits
- Streamlining EB design and provision throughout the organization
- Reducing the complexity of the set-up (number of providers, EB plans)
- Using the organisation’s size and utilising its buying power
To demonstrate such possibilities, consider this example based on our experience in the Netherlands:
The subject, a medium-size company (700 employees), is a subsidiary of a German group. The Dutch Workers’ Council, in co-operation with the unions, decided to grant certain benefits (Life and Disability) to the employees to complement the standard statutory benefits. The employer asked a broker to find insurance coverage for this risk.
However, given the individual and complex nature of the benefits design, there was no insurer on the Dutch market with existing products for this unique and specific risk, so all quotes available were unable to offer benefits in line with the expectations of the Workers’ Council.
The answer to the problem was a tailor-made solution with an international approach. The insurance network of the group’s existing multinational pool provided the necessary framework and re-insurance for the Dutch insurer, which otherwise would not have been willing to create this specific product for the relatively small company.
The solution to gaining control over employee benefits data and costs can be found in the supportand expertise provided by employee benefits specialists. This support is imperative in placing the control of EB organisation back into the hands of C-level management, locally and at the Head Office level.
Only with such support and knowledge can organisations with international operations achieve optimization in their EB management and find the right balance between costs and benefits.