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How To Approach EB Challenges at the International Level, Part II

A further look into how the head office can support its subsidiaries in practice

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In our previous article in this series (see Part I here) we examined a case in the Netherlands that demonstrates how the head office of an organization can help subsidiaries with an international approach.

We will now analyse another example in which an international solution added value to local employee benefits (EB) provision. Maintaining the example of the German Group, we are assessing a subsidiary located in the United States, where it is customary to provide employees with a wide range of benefits.

If an employer pays life insurance premiums on an employee’s behalf, any payments for coverage of more than $50,000 are taxed as income. As such, employers very often set the level of life insurance benefits no higher than the tax-free value.

Employees are allowed to join the group life insurance plan to top-up cover. The pricing of such top-up cover is agreed upon amongst insurers, also because of the risk of anti-selection. This makes the top-up cover relatively expensive. Additionally, if the company’s population is big enough to be experience rated, the top-up cover’s experience rate can affect the employer’s basic benefits premiums.

To help reduce the cost of the top-up cover for the employees AND eliminate the effect on the basic cover’s claims experience, the top-up cover can be reinsured via a multinational insurer and virtually pooled with other employee benefits plans of the organisation.

Engaging the services and expertise provided by employee benefits specialists will support the process of identifying and implementing the correct solution, resulting in gaining control over employee benefits data and costs. This support is necessary in placing the control of EB organization back into the hands of C-level management, at local as well as at Head Office level.

Only with such support and knowledge will organizations with international operations see an optimization in their EB management and find the right balance between costs and benefits.

This brief article is the fourth in a series of six contributions brought to you by ASN, Advisory Services Network AG. You can see the first article here and the second article here.

ASN, Advisory Services Network

ASN, Advisory Services Network AG, based in Zürich, focuses on driving better management through its global network of international insurance experts, supporting organisations of all sizes.

ASN provides trusted advice and services to management at head office level, as well as local subsidiaries, establishing the levels of control and information access required to reach that ‘dream’ EB scenario.

Contact ASN for an Employee Benefits consultation: email balazs.kaposvari@asn.ch or visit asn-insurance.com/corporate



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