Thomson Reuters operates five multinational pooling arrangements for risk benefits such as life insurance, disability cover and, where viable, medical insurance. It has operated this arrangement, where possible, across the 90 countries in which it has a presence for at least nine years.
Mohammed Valjy, international benefits manager at Thomson Reuters, says: “We pool wherever we can. There are some countries in which we cannot pool. For example, in India we have about 8,000 employees but we cannot pool because of the legal situation there. However, we make sure to pass some of the savings back.”
The media company does not dictate that local HR teams must use the pooling arrangements, provided by Insurope, to buy insurance benefits, but explains the advantages of doing so. Valjy says: “Sometimes we have local HR, who are quite comfortable using the same insurer every time without really looking into the situation. Sometimes it’s not the right thing because we don’t know what the costs are going to be going forward.”
Valjy keeps in regular contact with representatives from the pools, which has a number of advantages for the organisation.
“Sometimes you do not get information coming through from countries,” he says. “It is a good means of finding out what’s happening in some of those countries you do not hear much from sometimes. It is a good means of getting information back to corporate HR.”
In most cases, dividends are paid to central corporate HR, which it may use to fund projects in particular countries.
Valjy says pooling has a number of advantages. “It gives me more control and more idea of what is happening locally,” he says. “I use it as a compliance, governance tool where I know what is happening, what is coming up for renewal and at the same time making sure we use the right insurers and have some kind of control. It gives me more control and more idea of what is happening locally.
“If it is a good year with good claims experience and we get a dividend, that is a bonus.”
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