[REGARD D’EXPERT] Marc Leclerc

International social protection: The importance of a 360-degree tailor-made support for companies

By Marc Leclerc, Executive Vice President, Consultancy and GBM, Henner Group

In a constantly evolving world, social protection is transforming in line with ever-changing reforms, expectations and practices. Now more than ever, it has become a major and complex issue for companies developing internationally. The question is how to optimise the management of employee benefits. How can we ensure that we have a global vision of local regulations and the technicality conferred by the implementation of social protection schemes?

Social protection: a sector in full transformation

In recent years, traditional models of social protection have undergone a continuous transformation linked to two trends: the inflation of healthcare costs in the world as well as regulatory reforms affecting the obligations of employers. Employers must now take into consideration new expectations, uses and behaviours to form their strategy. Indeed, social protection is no longer limited to healthcare, life and disability plans. It is devised and built by incorporating additional services that on the one hand place the focus of healthcare on preventive models, and on the other hand facilitate access to quality care throughout the world at controlled costs. Faced with this transformation and the complexity it entails, global benefits management is developed with a 360-degree vision, integrating multiple fields of know-how that companies can no longer do without, given the challenges they represent (actuarial, legal and medical expertise, general and sectoral benchmarks, local partnerships to provide  necessary insight in terms of local social protection practices, etc.).

Multi-dimensional and customer-centric support

Nowadays, building social protection programs requires multidimensional support that provides companies with independent advice. Players specialising in life and health insurance, such as brokers, closely support companies to devise a well-thought-out, effective, sustainable and innovative strategy. The HR and C&B functions thus benefit from tailor-made expertise covering the entire social protection value chain: 

1 - Consulting, which allows personalised support in defining, designing and optimising the structure of healthcare, life and disability plans in order to provide the solutions best suited to the needs of businesses. It is based on the implementation of actions aimed at:

  • Improving the cost competitiveness of plans: audit, analysis of benefits and recommendations for supervised services;
  • Making the performance of the plans sustainable: design, implementation, coordination and management of innovative benefits to control healthcare expenses;
  • Enhancing the human resources strategy: coordination of the expectations of employees and their representative bodies while fulfilling economic imperatives.

2 - Medical support for all employees by setting up a preventive and medical approach within companies (health checks, patient management, recommendations from qualified health professionals around the world, etc.). The benefits for the company are twofold because they enhance its image and the interest in the health of its employees while allowing it to control costs.  

3 - Customer and insured experience as a driving force, which is based on:

  • Integrated management with teams dedicated to customer relations to support policyholders on a daily basis in the management of their policy;
  • An aggregation of additional and innovative services that simplifies the overall treatment experience (teleconsultation, assistance, prevention, etc.);
  • Digital tools to simplify procedures for policyholders and companies. 

Agile management of international employee benefits 

The increased globalisation of commercial activities and the development of subsidiaries around the world often require coordination and control from the parent company to standardise the social benefits between the different structures, headquarters and local subsidiaries.

A global vision of the social protection systems in place and defining local policies in terms of social benefits has become essential to ensure a coherent HR strategy that makes it possible to strengthen the attractiveness and retention of talent. 
With this in mind, it is vital to be able to rely on a partner who has the support of an agile network of local brokers operating on five continents to fully take the specific nature of each country into consideration. This model guarantees risk control, independence, and flexibility. Indeed, a global coordination of plans allows companies to meet their challenges based on:

  • An effective governance model: inventory and mapping of risks, definition of strategy, roles and responsibilities of the players involved, reporting, compliance, etc.;
  • Improved performance: benchmark, insurance solutions (pooling & underwriting, etc.) to optimise and control costs, risk management, insurer negotiations, etc.;
  • Enhancement of the employer's promise: medical monitoring of employees and implementation of employee assistance programs (prevention and well-being), HR communication, etc.


About the Henner Group:

Henner is an international and independent group that develops and manages innovative personal insurance solutions for individuals, professionals and companies. A leader in France on the group health insurance market and specialist in social protection (health, life and disability insurance, pension plans and funeral insurance), the Henner group also has recognised expertise in employee savings and stock ownership. It advises more than 11,000 companies in France and internationally and supports clients both directly and through its network of partner brokers.

To provide its clients and members with access to care wherever they are in the world, the company has formed the world’s largest network of healthcare providers, with 1.6 million providers in 189 countries. It also delivers a range of services to develop prevention action and promote quality of life in the workplace among companies. www.henner.com