Archive for the ‘Towers Watson’ Category

2014 Current and Emerging Global Benefit Themes — Employee Benefits: A Headquarter Perspective

June 26, 2014 Comments off

2014 Current and Emerging Global Benefit Themes — Employee Benefits: A Headquarter Perspective
Source: Towers Watson
From press release:

Seven out of ten global or regional benefit managers at multinational companies have limited or no access to timely financial information related to current employee benefit spending, according to Towers Watson’s 2014 Current and Emerging Global Benefit Themes research.

Mark O’Brien, senior consultant at Towers Watson said: “It is striking that global and regional benefit managers at many multinationals – which often spend hundreds of millions of dollars on employee benefits annually – do not have this vital piece of information. Nowhere else within their businesses would such a lack of management information or oversight be acceptable. The underlying information exists, but needs to be extracted in a structured manner from finance systems, which is often the difficult part. Notwithstanding, we see more advanced multinationals allocating the resources necessary to address this so they can use information on benefit spend to help identify risks and opportunities, make decisions and prioritise their activities to increase the return on investment from their benefit plans.

The Towers Watson research also shows that two-thirds of multinationals are at the early stages of developing their global benefits strategy and management approach. This means they are either just getting started or narrowly focusing on a single global benefit management area.

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Companies Worldwide Spending More on HR Technology, Towers Watson Survey Finds

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Companies Worldwide Spending More on HR Technology, Towers Watson Survey Finds
Source: Towers Watson

Companies around the world are planning to increase and redirect their investments in HR technology as they embrace talent management solutions, HR portals, software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems and mobile applications, according to an annual survey by global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW). The survey also revealed that about one in three companies plan to change their HR structure in an effort to improve both efficiency and quality.

The 2014 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey, a global survey of 1,048 companies, found that one in three respondents (33%) plan to spend more on HR technology in the coming year compared with the previous year. This includes 23% that plan to increase spending by as much as 20% and 10% that plan to increase HR technology investment by more than 20%. Only 15% plan to spend less on HR technology in the coming year.

The big questions about Scottish independence; Towers Watson summarises what Scottish independence could mean for pension plans, their sponsors and financial institutions.

June 17, 2014 Comments off

The big questions about Scottish independence; Towers Watson summarises what Scottish independence could mean for pension plans, their sponsors and financial institutions.
Source: Towers Watson

As we enter the final three months of the countdown to the Scottish Independence referendum, Towers Watson has released a short paper, entitled The big questions, outlining how a yes vote to Scottish independence could affect UK-wide financial institutions and pensions plans. It poses questions in several fundamental areas such as currency, membership of the European Union and tax and fiscal policy.

In the paper Towers Watson summarises the main questions for pension plans, as well as some of those likely to affect the investment and insurance industries, in the event of a yes vote. It suggests that these will only be answered through the developing economic, social and regulatory policies of an independent Scotland and not ahead of time.

Global Uncertainty Fuels Workers’ Desire for Retirement Security — 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Global Uncertainty Fuels Workers’ Desire for Retirement Security — 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey
Source: Towers Watson

The 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Study examines how employees’ preferences for retirement security affects their financial priorities and retirement planning, what makes them join an organization and what makes them stay, and the kind of benefits they desire.

The research was conducted in 12 countries, and the survey was completed by 22,347 employees representing all job levels and major industry sectors.

For large numbers of employees around the world, retirement security has become a higher priority.

Employees in India, Brazil, Canada and the U.S. lead the world in concern about retirement security, while it is less of a priority in Japan.

Retirement Security Tops List of Employee Concerns

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Retirement Security Tops List of Employee Concerns
Source: Towers Watson


  • Older DC plan-only participants are more likely to expect most of their retirement income to come from Social Security.
  • Almost seven in 10 workers were happy with their health plans in 2007, but satisfaction rates dropped to 59% in 2013.
  • Sixty-two percent would give up some pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit, and more than half would sacrifice pay for a more generous benefit.

Towers Watson/NBGH 2013/2014 Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Towers Watson/NBGH 2013/2014 Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care
Source: Towers Watson

The 19th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care tracks employers’ strategies and practices, and the results of their efforts to provide and manage health benefits for their workforce. This comprehensive report, The New Health Care Imperative: Driving Performance, Connecting to Value, identifies the actions of high-performing companies, as well as current trends in the health care benefit programs of U.S. employers with at least 1,000 employees.

The survey found that employers are clearly committed to providing subsidized health care benefits to active employees, even in an environment of continued health care cost increases, uncertainty about some provisions of health care reform and an economy that is slow to recover.

Despite a moderate health care cost trend of 4.1% (after plan changes) in 2013, costs continue to rise above the rate of inflation, thereby exacerbating concerns about companies’ long-term ability to provide these benefits.

Still, high-performing companies were able to manage costs by implementing the most effective tactics for improving workforce health.

2014 Global Medical Trends Survey Report

May 19, 2014 Comments off

2014 Global Medical Trends Survey Report
Source: Towers Watson


  • Medical costs continue to rise globally, although trend has slowed in some regions.
  • In some countries, a continuing shift away from state-provided medical benefits has contributed to rising costs.
  • More employers are considering or implementing health promotion and well-being programs to improve employee health and manage costs.

Executive Retirement Benefits: Survey of Executive Retirement Benefit Practices — Benefits Data Source

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Executive Retirement Benefits: Survey of Executive Retirement Benefit Practices — Benefits Data Source
Source: Towers Watson

+ On average, executive benefit plans deliver an additional 5% to 7% of earnings in annual retirement income to a mid-level executive.

+ About half of organizations that sponsor employer-paid nonqualified plans offer only pure restoration executive benefits.

Is 75 the new 65? Rising to the challenge of an ageing workforce

March 12, 2014 Comments off

Is 75 the new 65? Rising to the challenge of an ageing workforce
Source: Towers Watson

+ By 2020, managing an ageing workforce moves up the HR agenda, from just the number seven issue for today, to a top three concern for survey respondents.

+ As a result of the ageing workforce, almost half (43%) expect greater employee demand for benefits and over a third (35%) expect increased flexible working.

+ Nearly half (43%) of employers also expect employee demand for healthcare and retirement provision to grow.

Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Global Pensions Asset Study – 2014
Source: Towers Watson

This is a study of the 13 largest pension markets in the world and accounts for more than 85% of global pension assets. The countries included are Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The study also analyses seven countries in greater depth by excluding the six smallest markets (Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong and South Africa).

The analysis includes:

  • Asset size, including growth statistics, comparison of asset size with GDP and liabilities
  • Asset allocation
  • Defined benefit and defined contribution share of pension assets
  • Public and private sector share of pension assets.

2013 – 2014 Talent Management and Rewards Study — North America

January 14, 2014 Comments off

2013 – 2014 Talent Management and Rewards Study — North America
Source: Towers Watson

  • Fewer than four in 10 employers (37%) say their employees understand how they can influence their careers.
  • A reported 41% of organizations have problems retaining critical-skill employees, and the percentages have been trending upward the last four years.
  • Nearly one-quarter of organizations give bonuses to employees who fail to meet expectations — and close to two in 10 give employees the same bonus regardless of individual performance.

Insurers Say Global Pandemic Is Their Major Extreme Risk

December 20, 2013 Comments off

Insurers Say Global Pandemic Is Their Major Extreme Risk
Source: Towers Watson

Global insurance industry executives ranked a global pandemic, a large-scale natural catastrophe and a food/water/energy crisis as the three most important extreme risks for the insurance industry to worry about in the long term, according to a survey conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW).

Other top 10 extreme risks named include cyber-warfare, an economic depression, a banking crisis and a default by a major sovereign borrower. The consideration of these extreme risks can be useful in helping insurers design more robust risk management processes.

Extreme Risks – 2013

October 31, 2013 Comments off

Extreme Risks – 2013
Source: Towers Watson
From press release:

Towers Watson’s extreme risks ranking has a new top three: Food/water/energy crisis, Stagnation and Global temperature change – while Sovereign default and Insurance crisis have both fallen five places and Depression loses the top spot for the first time since the research began in 2009. While Food/water/energy crisis (previously Resource scarcity) rose ten places to take the top slot, other extreme risks that have also risen up the ranking this year are Global trade collapse (+4) and Global temperature change (+3). Extreme risks that, in Towers Watson’s view, are less of a threat than in 2011 include Sovereign default, which has fallen five places, as has an Insurance crisis, while a Currency crisis and a Banking crisisfell three and two places respectively.

Towers Watson’s research and ranking, entitled Extreme risks 2013, categorises very rare events that would have a high impact on global economic growth and asset returns if they occurred. The top 15 Extreme risks now for the first time include: Stagnation, Health progress backfire, Nuclear contamination, Extreme longevity and Terrorism, while those that have dropped out of the top 15 this year are: Euro break-up, Hyperinflation, Political crisis, Major war, End of fiat money and Killer pandemic.

Retirement Plan Types of Fortune 100 Companies in 2012

November 14, 2012 Comments off

Retirement Plan Types of Fortune 100 Companies in 2012

Source: Towers Watson

In 2012, the number of Fortune 100 companies offering new salaried employees only a defined contribution (DC) plan rose, as it has for many years. Today, less than a third of these companies offer any DB plan to newly hired salaried workers, and only 11 still offer a traditional DB plan to new hires.

Large employers have been reassessing their retirement offerings for some time now. Over the past decade, most have shifted from traditional DB plans to either account-based DB plans or DC plans. The shift is motivated by several factors, including employers’ desire to reduce overall retirement costs (perhaps due to higher compensation and benefit costs elsewhere, especially health care), perceptions that workers prefer more portable plans, market trends and the belief that such a shift reduces financial risk.

Retirement Planning in a Post-Crisis Economy

February 6, 2012 Comments off

Retirement Planning in a Post-Crisis Economy
Source: Towers Watson

Prolonged economic uncertainty and high unemployment have taken a heavy toll on U.S. workers. Few have escaped hits to their retirement savings or to their confidence in being able to retire comfortably. Unsurprisingly, many Americans have become more financially conservative, cutting back on spending and paying more attention to household finances and retirement planning and saving.

As the economic recovery proceeds — albeit in fits and starts — economic satisfaction levels and optimism about retirement are slowly rising as well. Nevertheless, fallout from the crisis lingers in the psyche of American workers, as many remain apprehensive about their economic future generally and about retirement in particular.

This article is the first in a three-part series based on the 2011 Towers Watson Retirement Attitudes Survey highlighting American workers’ attitudes toward their household finances and retirement readiness. The second article will examine how the financial crisis has changed the trade-offs employees are willing to make to reduce their retirement and health care risks. The last article will look at the impact of retirement programs on attracting and retaining employees.

The Talent Management and Rewards Imperative for 2012: Leading Through Uncertain Times

October 31, 2011 Comments off

The Talent Management and Rewards Imperative for 2012: Leading Through Uncertain Times (PDF)
Source: Towers Watson

Despite a volatile economy and high unemployment, almost 60% of North American companies are having trouble attracting critical-skill employees, an increase over 2010. In addition, organizations will continue to face strong pressure to manage costs in the coming year as they experience slow growth in productivity and sales.

These are some of the top findings of the 2011/2012 Towers Watson North American Talent Management and Rewards Survey, conducted in early summer 2011. Findings also showed that a majority of employers are responding to the economy by expecting employees to work longer hours than before the recession and sharply decreasing the rate of increase of merit budgets.

This report focuses on trends in reward and talent management programs, accompanied by our related insights to drive effective design and delivery. We encourage you to consider these concepts in the broader context of your organization’s EVP and total rewards strategy.

Note: To put employer views in context, this report sometimes compares responses to this survey with responses to an unpublished 2011 survey of over 10,000 full-time employees in North America on topics such as total rewards, communication and other work-related issues.

Employers Remain Committed to Offering Health Care Benefits Today but Concerned About Viability of Insurance Exchanges

October 24, 2011 Comments off

Employers Remain Committed to Offering Health Care Benefits Today but Concerned About Viability of Insurance Exchanges
Source: Towers Watson

With many details of health care care reform still unknown, organizations are struggling to develop a long-term health care strategy. To complicate the process even further, employee health care costs continue to rise. To better understand how employers are handling both current cost concerns and development of a health care strategy for the future, Towers Watson conducted a survey of 368 midsize to large U.S. companies in July.

The results reflect respondents’ thinking regarding their 2012 — 2014 health benefit plan decisions and confirm employers’ commitment to offering health care benefits. But respondents also have concerns and questions about the impact of health care reform over the next few years, particularly on the viability of exchanges. Another primary consideration is how their industry peers plan to respond: Nearly four in five employers (78%) plan to monitor other companies’ responses to health care reform and will be influenced by the actions other large employers take regarding ongoing plan sponsorship.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Directors and Officers Liability: 2010 Survey of Insurance Purchasing Trends

February 23, 2011 Comments off

Directors and Officers Liability: 2010 Survey of Insurance Purchasing Trends
Source: Towers Watson

The 2010 Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability survey, the 32nd in a series of studies conducted by Towers Watson, tracks D&O coverage purchasing patterns, providing organizations with critical information on the structure and cost of D&O insurance programs.

Highlights of the 2010 survey include:

  • D&O limit increase. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they had increased their D&O limits compared to their prior D&O policy (versus 12% in 2008), while 75% said their limits had stayed the same (versus 86% in 2008). Only 3% said they had decreased their limits.
  • International coverage. Fifty-three percent of respondents (excluding charities and nonprofits) said their companies have international operations. Of this figure, 47% purchased a local D&O policy in a foreign jurisdiction. This is a marked increase over our 2008 survey results, when only 2% of respondents with international operations purchased a local policy in a foreign jurisdiction.
  • D&O program review. When asked if they had conducted an independent review of their D&O program within the past two years, 54% of respondents said that they had not.
  • Claims. This year’s survey findings suggest increased apprehension over regulatory claims. When asked to rank the types of claims of greatest concern, direct shareholder/investor suits topped the list, followed by regulatory claims and employment-related litigation. The top three types of claims of greatest concern overall were regulatory claims, followed by direct shareholder claims and derivative claims.

+ Full Report (PDF)


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