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Survey Report

2019 Internationally Mobile Employee Benefits Design Survey

Summary of key findings

Compensation Strategy & Design|Risk & Analytics|Executive Compensation|Future of Work|Health and Benefits|Inclusion and Diversity|Mergers and Acquisitions|Retirement|Talent|Total Rewards|Integrated Wellbeing
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February 27, 2020

Recognizing the unique nature of internationally mobile employee benefits and the challenges employers have in maintaining competitive and compliant plans, our 2019 survey reveals several new trends and validates enduring market standards.

Internationally mobile employees (IMEs), both international assignees and business travelers, are valued resources for multinational companies and often play a critical role in supporting global business strategies, including expansion into new markets as the economies of different geographies become more interdependent. When employees travel outside of their home country to support the business needs of their employer — whether on a short business trip or a long-term international assignment — there are unique challenges and risks that should be addressed as a matter of duty of care.

Multinational companies are becoming increasingly savvy in providing enhanced benefits and related services to IMEs, as there are multiple factors that make it increasingly difficult to find an “easy button” to offer a suitable set of benefits. A rapidly evolving legislative landscape, security risks and the perpetual rise of health care costs worldwide all have a significant impact on the design and costs of global plans, making it more challenging — but not impossible — to manage compliance factors and stay within a set budget.

Multinational companies are becoming increasingly savvy in providing enhanced benefits and related services to IMEs

The right combination of global health and risk benefits not only helps attract and retain talent but also provides the necessary structure for effective pre- trip/assignment planning, management of chronic illnesses, access to high- quality health care, and various services to support overall wellbeing and security.

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Recognizing the unique nature of IME benefits and the challenges employers have in maintaining competitive and compliant plans, we conduct a biennial IME Benefits Design Survey, drawing responses from organizations around the world. In 2019, more than 60 global organizations across 27 industries in 15 countries participated. In contrast to our 2017 IME survey, the 2019 version includes new content that allows for a more focused orientation toward core employee benefits for IMEs — specifically, health care and risk benefits for international assignees and business travelers.


The results of the 2019 survey indicate several new trends and validate several enduring market standards:

  • The top factor when selecting an expatriate health care vendor is the ability to offer compliant coverage in all applicable home/ host countries (ranked #4 in the 2017 survey).
  • 86% of respondents offer one consistent international health plan for all categories of international assignees.
  • 73% of respondents offer life insurance benefits to international assignees, with 43% doing so as part of an international plan (versus a home or host country plan).
  • 57% of respondents offer business travel medical insurance, and 66% offer business travel accident insurance.
  • Most respondents (72%) have formal global mobility policies that vary according to category of international assignee.
  • There is a widespread consensus about formal duty of care policies, with 59% of respondents confirming they already have policies supported by both HR and risk management, and 25% indicating this is an area of interest.

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About the survey

In 2019, more than 60 global organizations across 27 industries in 15 countries participated in the IME survey.

For the purposes of this report, any reference to international assignees will include all categories of employees working on expatriate assignment or secondment outside their country of origin (home country) for a period of time, typically six months or more. This includes expatriates, inpatriates, third country nationals (TCNs) and key local nationals (e.g., localized expatriates, regional executives).

International business travelers will include employees who travel on short- or long-term business trips outside their home country, usually for short periods of time (less than 180 days per trip).

 

Access key findings and more insights in the full PDF report.

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