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January/February 2015

Contributors' articles this month


Axel Zoma explains the role of the CIMA insurance treaty, which covers 14 francophone African countries and is now 20 years old, although its roots go back to 1962. With their common insurance code, the CIMA countries can benefit from economic and geographical scale. Mr Zoma considers insured benefit provisions in the region.


In a one-page ‘Viewpoint’ Greg Arms looks back over the last 35 years and comments on how the world of employee benefits has changed. It is intriguing to see what he lists as cutting edge in 1980.

Chris Daykin’s timescale is 25 years because, in his exploration of the global actuarial profession, 1990 – when the independent market democracies in Central and Eastern Europe were formed – was a key year. He includes two maps showing the impressive expansion of the profession between 1998 and 2014.


In her discussion of how globalization has affected employee benefits, Margrit Schmid identifies more choice, more mobility and more complexity as being three significant themes. Despite the greater globalization expected in the future, she does not anticipate a move towards a single employee benefits solution – local considerations, in her view, will always count.


Roger Beech
and Gerry Winters evaluate strategies to optimize health and risk benefit financing, where they find that the supply-side cost-management tools of multinational pooling and captives remain viable solutions for companies. While captives may offer even greater long-term cost mitigation potential, they can entail taking on more risk than some companies will be comfortable with.


Parental leave laws are examined in Brazil, Italy, the UK and the USA by Tiffany Downs. She highlights new legislation and trends in each of these four jurisdictions and determines action items.


Tim Reay
takes the long view on employer-sponsored retirement savings, where he sees the most important elements as being the employer taking responsibility and providing resources for employee financial education. This needs to be coupled with employees being encouraged to improve their overall financial wellbeing, including saving for retirement, and being facilitated in doing this.


Outsourcing benefits management is on the agenda of some companies. This is not for everyone but Mark Sullivan and Paul Devitt take the reader through four steps when assessing its feasibility. This might be as a means of supporting benefits management in a divested business, driving operational and financial efficiencies or providing local-country expertise and central supervision of non-core markets.