For companies operating in many locations globally, it can be challenging to have a fair and consistent approach to employee benefits and protection. Local trends, differing legislation and the limits of host-government support structures can all add complication. It can be quite difficult for employers to ensure they are providing adequate support and protection to their valued internationally mobile employees.

Common questions often arise: How do we prevent duplicating cover for those employees — and therefore costs? How do we ensure that what we are doing complies with local regulations? How do we guarantee that our solution remains valid through rapid changes in the local markets?

The smart companies know, however, that adequately preparing your business for the impact of various global factors can make all the difference to the effectiveness of your international benefits spend.


A Mercer global survey of internationally mobile businesses sought to identify concerns and gain insights about benefits provision for both short and long-term assignees posted in other locations.

The top themes include:

  1. The key to the success of any international strategy is ensuring that international assignees are not disadvantaged, in benefit terms, by accepting these assignments. Over one-third (39%) of survey respondents cited this as their biggest challenge. However, for most companies, finding a product that is comparable to the benefits received in their home country can be hard to find and harder to get right, especially when a number of employees are posted in different places with different entitlements. Are the benefits that the company provides going to retain, or even attract, the right talent for the job?
  2. Although the simplest solution may seem to be setting up a policy for each assignee as needed, this is not optimal. In fact, 22% of participants in Mercer’s survey said that having a more globally consistent approach to benefit provision and minimizing ad-hoc arrangements for assignees was the main objective when implementing their strategy. This makes sense, given the issues related to local governance and law, and the time and diligence required to get this right. Saving time is saving money, so finding an appropriate solution that meets this need will, in turn, improve the return on investment.
  3. Ensuring a smooth transition when international assignees return is vital. One in ten (12%) said that ensuring a smooth transition when international assignees returned to the home country at the end of an assignment was important. Since no two insurance policies are ever quite the same, how can inconsistency be managed and fluidity created, especially if employees are moving all the time to react to changing business requirements?

Along with these themes, the survey determined that there are three principal success factors of overseas benefits provision: adequate benefits, valued perception by employees and cost effectiveness.


The good news is that many companies are continuing to think about international insurance solutions and, as a result, lots of support and guidance is available.

Are you looking for information to help do this on your own? We can offer a window into detailed trends around the world through the Mercer 2017 Benefits Survey. The global report provides thorough and invaluable narrative around the results and related topics while delivering strategic advice to help you manage the issues raised.

Contact us today to get started.