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Approaches to Global Benefits Market Converge

Over the last few years, the global benefits market has continued to evolve as vendors have launched offerings to address the needs of multinationals. Essentially, there have been two main approaches:

  • Providing global brokerage and consulting services
  • Providing a global technology offering with optional local administration services.

The global brokerage and consulting model has been implemented by the likes of Aon Hewitt, Mercer, Willis, Towers Watson, and Allianz.  On the technology side, we’ve seen Thomsons Online Benefits’ Darwin platform, Mercer’s MercerGOLD+ technology, and JLT’s BenPal.

While there has been some crossover between the two approaches, there has been no formal offering that fully marries the two and provides a cohesive approach – until now. Mercer and Thomsons have entered into an alliance to expand their global benefits management offerings to MNCs, effectively combining both approaches for the first time.

Through the agreement, Mercer will provide its global employee benefits brokerage and consulting services, including benefits program coordination, management, monitoring, and reporting, while Thomsons will provide administration, automation, and enhanced communications of benefit plans through its cloud-based Darwin platform.

This alliance allows each company to leverage their core competency at a time when it is becoming increasingly important to have a global benefits strategy in place as organizations continue to expand their talent pools globally and diversify their workforces.

Within the last year, interest in global benefits solutions has increased greatly, with many vendors partnering with Thomsons for the technology component, including:

  • ADP: launched ADP Enterprise Benefits, a global benefits management program through Thomsons’ Darwin software that is centralized and locally integrated, combined with ADP’s managed services
  • Xerox: launched Xerox Global Benefits Services to provide consistent compliance administration globally, which integrates Thomsons’ Darwin platform and Xerox’s [email protected] portal to provide automated processes, advanced self-service capabilities, and multi-lingual employee inquiry support
  • NGA HR: launched NGA Employee Benefits, a global employee benefits solution that leverages Thomsons’ Darwin platform; the offering began in the U.K., expanded to APAC, and is now rolling out to other regions.

Technology is the backbone of a global benefits offering, aggregating all the data on the back-end to provide insight into key trends such as benefits spend, as well as providing a consistent and standard user experience for employees that is designed to increase engagement. And, with this latest development, it seems that Thomsons’ Darwin platform, which is available in 74 countries and 22 languages, has clearly become the preferred and prominent global benefits technology.

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