Issue 005, 2016 q3

Going global 005

BY Mike Arbour Division President of Sedgwick International and CEO of Vericlaim

For U.S.-based global corporations with exposures around the world, a major challenge is determining a consistent global strategy for risk; is it better to work with service providers in every country in which they operate or to find a more centralized way to manage claims worldwide? There are numerous benefits to a centralized global approach: standardizing claims processes across geographies, maintaining the vendor relationship through a single point of contact, ensuring compliance with various regulatory requirements, continuity and currency of claims data, and so on.

It may seem like an obvious choice to use one service provider to manage claims and risk needs in a coordinated way around the globe, but the real challenge is finding one that can do so proficiently.

So many aspects of this business vary greatly by country; claim outcomes and norms are inseparable from the cultures and geographies in which they occur. A valued partner will not only have deep roots in multiple geographies and honor varying local customs and regulations, but also have the multinational expertise to support customers in maintaining global standards.

The claims landscape in the U.S. differs greatly from those in other countries. Workers’ compensation administration is a very American line of business, but managing the costs and services associated with workplace injuries worldwide remains a focus for many multinational firms. With economic realities changing in many countries regarding national systems for disability and leave, transnational companies are looking for solutions for managing these kinds of employee absences globally. Due to the litigious nature of American society, our domestic casualty claim counts are about 10 times those of most other developed nations, but a liability claim in Canada or France could take three or more years to close—a thought that likely makes U.S. claims and risk managers cringe. Property is the most consistent line of business worldwide, though claim volumes may be higher abroad due largely to other countries’ less stringent fire protection standards. In short, translating American risk and benefits expertise into a global practice is no easy task.

Disparities like these get to the heart of Sedgwick’s own strategic approach to international expansion. In order to replicate the service experience across the 150 countries where our customers operate, we’ve chosen to use a combination of owned operations and licensed partnerships with strong, indigenous providers to build Sedgwick and Vericlaim’s global network. This addresses customers’ needs for broad geographical coverage, deep local expertise and the regional customization needed to properly apply our caring counts philosophy the world over.

Partners that “get it” work to develop long-term relationships with customers, take the opportunity to get to know their businesses inside and out, and find ways to meet their needs. This is what we strive for at Sedgwick, whether our customers operate only in the U.S. or span multiple geographies. Bringing together our intimate understanding of customers’ organizational processes, cultures and values in the U.S. with global coverage and local expertise allows Sedgwick and Vericlaim to be everywhere customers need us when they need us most.

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issue 005, 2016 q3

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