US and Europe at odds over reasons for multi-national pooling

Multinationals headquartered in the US and Europe show a marked difference in reasons for working with a multinational pooling network, according to research from pooling group IGP.

A survey by the group, which works with Canada Life Group Insurance and Axa PPP Healthcare in the UK, found American companies’ primary concern being the information generated from pooling employee benefits plans to benchmark benefits, while the majority of European multinationals said potential cost savings were the biggest factor.

The research found US clients have on average less than two pools, while those in Europe have an average of three.  About half of respondents have two or three pools. The reason most commonly cited by survey respondents for engaging in multi-national pooling was cost savings, through dividend payments.

Multinationals from both sides of the Atlantic indicated they use the informational resources provided by their pooling network to facilitate central reporting and oversight, as well as to analyse their global experience.

Of the companies surveyed, most tried to offer benefits that align with, or exceed, the local market standards in the countries in which they operate.

And while the survey shows that respondents appreciated the need to tailor local benefit plans, many indicated that they balance local needs with the necessity for overall cost savings by utilising a combination of sign-offs and mandated preferred providers often linked to a pooling network.

IGP Europe Account Representative Nele Segers says: “There are approximately 2,500 multinational pools worldwide, but in the UK, there are around 24,000 multinational companies, many with EMEA responsibilities, and 100,000 multinational companies worldwide. Our survey attempted to find out what the drivers are for pooling, and while we clearly understand this is changing, what was interesting were the regional differences.  This insight from global benefits managers shows how risk management, oversight and governance on a global scale are coming to the forefront and illustrates the significant potential for increased pooling activity in the UK.”