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2009 Press Releases

METLIFE RESEARCH UNDERSCORES CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR GLOBAL BENEFITS MANAGEMENT

In-Country Competitive Benefits a Priority as Employers Seek Talent around the World

NEW YORK, April 22, 2009 – As U.S. companies continue to expand globally, they are being challenged to develop benefits programs for their international workforce that are not only competitive in local communities around the world, but also cost-effective to implement and manage in a wide number of countries.  MetLife, a leading provider of employee benefits, today announced the availability of a new report, Managing Global Benefits: Challenges and Opportunities, which discusses the challenges facing multinational employers in managing their global benefits. Through the use of proprietary research, the report offers practical solutions for employers when it comes to making benefits decisions that impact employees across the globe. A complimentary copy can be obtained at metlife.com/multinational.

Recent research commissioned by MetLife found that as companies expand globally through establishing new offices or acquisition, the most common employee benefits challenges include: developing a flexible global benefits strategy that can meet the varied needs of an international workforce;  creating a competitive benefits program to help attract and retain talent in various locales while finding ways to mitigate the costs of administering multinational benefits; and building recognition for the value that global benefits management brings to a company.

“Multinational employers are quick to realize that a ‘standardized’ benefits program for all employees across all geographic areas may be impractical, and also highly ineffective in achieving benefits objectives such as employee retention, attraction and productivity.  The need for flexibility is key.  It is especially important to take into consideration government mandates and cultural factors when shaping local benefits programs to help improve employees’ satisfaction with their benefits, and, in turn, improve job satisfaction,” says Rudy Bethea, vice president, Multinational Solutions for MetLife.

Managing Global Benefits: Challenges and Opportunities highlights findings from MetLife’s 7th Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study, which found that 54% of U.S. employers with international locations expect the competition for talent to increase over the next 18 months, even when taking into consideration the current economic climate.  This compares with only 40% of U.S. domestic-only employers.  In addition the majority, 63%, of U.S. multinational employers agree that benefits are very important to employee retention.  The report also features in-depth interviews of senior U.S.-based decision makers with international employees.

According to Managing Global Benefits: Challenges and Opportunities, multinational employers are focused on improving the process of planning, implementing, managing and monitoring global benefits.  In fact, 59% of U.S. corporations with multinational operations consider “consolidating all benefits administration onto a common platform” to be one of their top priorities – compared with 45% of their peers from U.S. domestic-only corporations.  The report also reveals that global benefits decision-makers consider multinational pooling to be a top-of-mind solution to help manage multinational benefits.  Pooling is a tool that aggregates the administration and financial experience of local benefits plans.  Those that have been most satisfied with pooling utilize it to meet the benefits needs of their local employees and to help streamline the process of managing their multinational benefits.

The guide provides tips for better managing multinational employee benefits programs including:

  • Define and articulate a flexible global benefits strategy that can accommodate varied cultures and mandates of different localities and regions.
  • Establish a management structure, and clearly define roles and responsibilities at both headquarter and subsidiary levels.
  • Gather local plan data and research the benefits offerings of direct competitors to ensure benefits offerings meet or exceed market standards to aid in employee attraction and retention.
  • Think more broadly on ways to obtain data, such as using networks, consultants and associations.
  • Consider cost effective options for choosing and administering multinational benefits, such as leveraging a central team, outside benefits resources, and multinational pooling.

An important piece in the delivery of MetLife’s international capabilities is MAXIS, a global employee benefits network of insurers in over 75 countries, strategically located in both mature economies and emerging markets. Developed by MetLife and AXA, the MAXIS network includes independent carriers as well as MetLife and AXA subsidiaries. Through member companies, MetLife is able to provide access to life, disability, medical and retirement benefits for employees worldwide.

MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.

keldred@metlife.com

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