• Costs you less overall in the long term. (You will lose 40-60% on average with insurance. You will lose approximately 10% with MiniMAX Mutual and the remainder is returned to schools).
  • May give you cheaper upfront initial charges
  • More equitable to all schools. All schools are Equalised towards the 90% efficiency point over time
  • More choice of options
  • Lack of caveats to prevent payout
  • It is not in our interest to prevent payouts as it is not our money we are paying from
  • Can make monthly payments if required to ensure you are happy
  • May cost you more in initial charges (if insurer uses loss leading tactics) - but this will be recouped later due to Equaliser effect.
  • No contract to enforce payment - but MiniMAX payments are paid from schools money not ours so we have no reason to withhold payment when due
  • Costs you less overall in the long term. (You will lose 20% on average with other mutuals. You will lose approximately 10% with MiniMAX Mutual).
  • More efficient - 90% returned to schools - only 10% spent on overheads and costs of operating the mutual scheme.
  • Equaliser mechanism makes it fairer to all schools - no more receiving tiny percentages of your contributions back. Everyone gradually moves towards 90% efficiency and the longer you are a member the less money you will be out of pocket.
• Some schemes may be more efficient than 90% - but check first to see the ratio of repayments to net contributions as it is unlikely.
There are really several things to consider.
  1. Are you getting the choice of protection/benefits you require?
  2. How efficient is the scheme overall?
    • This affects the likelihood of all members/participants getting back the most money and losing the least.
    • Check with any potential provider what the ratio of repayments to contributions is - you want the highest possible and get them to check over as many years as possible what has been paid in and paid out.
    • Alternatively check how much money does not end up back with members - you want the lowest possible percentage.
  3. How is the efficiency of individual members controlled as this will affect your net costs?
    • Try to establish how individual schools have faired in the same way. If there are a high percentage who have received back less than 50% of their contributions then the scheme is not well controlled or equitable.
  4. Are you paying for bundled services you do not require?
The administrators of the scheme must be allowed flexibility to work with the resources at their disposal. Even though we have designed the scheme to always have enough funds, due to the unpredictable nature of absence there is a very slim chance that in an extremely volatile year the scheme may completely deplete it's funds. In this exceptional scenario you will not lose the payment you were due but it may be delayed until the fund recovers.
If a contract exists guaranteeing payment in a set of circumstances then the risk passes to the party agreeing the payment. The transferral of risk from one party to another would mean that the scheme is not a mutual and is in fact insurance. Insurance then attracts insurance premium tax and other regulatory necessities which then pushes the cost up for you. To get the best possible value you need to be part of a mutual and not covered by insurance.
Any school, academy or other education provider. The only establishments that cannot become a member are those who have access to a local authority mutual in which we are already involved. Those schemes should already operate in your favour and we do not wish to undermine them by providing another very similar option.
First register with us then go to the Quotation page after logging in. Complete the form for each staff category you wish to enroll. The more history you can provide the better the quotation will be. If you are unable to provide much history then we have to take the worst case scenario and base the contributions more on the averages and then add contingency. Ultimately it makes no difference as our Equaliser mechanism will even everything out but from your cash flow perspective it is more advantageous to provide a full account of your absence history.
We will continue to make repayments for these. You will need to include the absences in your history and therefore your contributions will be slightly more than if you were not already having absences. Again over the long term this will make no difference as the Equaliser will even everything out.
Overheads as a percentage is approximately the inverse of efficiency. So...
  • 10% of contributions spent on overheads, means 90% of contributions come back to schools. Therefore net cost is 11.1% of claims (e.g. MiniMAX)
  • 20% of contributions spent on overheads, means 80% of contributions come back to schools. Therefore net cost is 25% of claims (e.g. Average mutual)
  • 40% of contributions spent on overheads, means 60% of contributions come back to schools. Therefore net cost is 66.6% of claims (e.g. Good Insurer)
  • 50% of contributions spent on overheads, means 50% of contributions come back to schools. Therefore net cost is 100% of claims (e.g. Poor Insurer)
You can see that in the first example using MiniMAX that no matter what the claims are then net costs are minimised.
The Equaliser prevents any member losing too much money or put another way incurring unfair higher than average net costs. If we assume the efficiency of the scheme is 90% then the minimum efficiency of all individual members approaches this over time, so for example
  • At the end of year 1 a member will be at least 60% efficient.
  • At the end of year 2 a member will be at least 68% efficient.
  • At the end of year 3 a member will be at least 75% efficient.
  • At the end of year 4 a member will be at least 81% efficient.
  • At the end of year 5 a member will be at least 86% efficient.
Some members may have claimed more than they contributed so they will gradually work back down to the scheme efficiency figure, so for example a member who has claimed 200% of their contributions
  • The following year their total efficiency will be approximately 190%
  • The year after their total efficiency will be approximately 175%
  • The year after their total efficiency will be approximately 160% and so on
Please Note: These figures are purely illustrative to demonstrate that a high efficiency moves back down and a low efficiency moves back up. The actual figures will vary depending on the exact make up of members and the absence experience. The equalisation is done using the surpluses in the scheme.
Our goal is to be the leading mutual absence assistance provider for schools' staff absence in the UK. As a mutual we do not have any shareholders and therefore we do not generate profits. A fixed percentage (10%) of contributions goes to Esphera Solutions as they provide all the technology and administration experience to operate the scheme on the minimal possible basis. Other than that 90% of the funds are either paid back to schools or retained to provide working capital for the scheme to function. Any surpluses that the scheme makes also goes back to schools and therefore all of our resources are committed to assisting members. To keep the costs as low as we do relies on most activities being carried out online. The stages for membership are as follows
  1. Register Interest
  2. Request Quotations to join
  3. Express wish to Accept Quote for required staff categories
  4. Provide full staff working pattern details
  5. Make payment to start membership
  6. Enter absences as required - receive payments automatically
  7. Receive annual report on membership and Equalisation details
Our members trust us to provide daily benefits for absent staff when required on a discretionary basis. We hope that not only can we help you spend less on staff absence mitigation but that you also play your part and use the services responsibly to enable more schools to participate and take advantage of the efficiencies we can bring. The more of you that become members the more efficiently we can operate the scheme. Therefore providing us with accurate and up to date details via the online system will help ensure that everyone is treated as equitably as possible.
  • Choice of daily benefits - choose any amount from £40 up to £250.
  • Choice of waiting days - choose from 0 to 25 days, increasing your waiting days will decrease your contributions.
  • Include/Exclude Stress absences - excluding stress will reduce your contributions.
  • Include/Exclude Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Leave absences - including will increase your contribution level.
  • 24/7 GP Access - allows staff to have a consultation with a GP in the comfort of their own home or at their place of work. It can be over the phone or through a video consultation - will increase contribution levels.
  • ProActive Absence Management Counselling Service - With immediate access to Occupational Health clinicians, the key aim of our service is to identify the reasons for non-attendance, and to work in partnership with your school to combat and reduce absenteeism. A range of issues are likely to affect your team including musculo-skeletal issues, impact of home/family responsibilities, recurring medical conditions, stress and back pain. Will increase contributions.
Firstly REGISTER and then log in and go to the Quotation page.
Our current customers include metropolitan borough councils with less than 50 schools, medium sized unitary authorities and county councils with 100's of schools across England and Wales. We provide them with advice, data analysis consultancy and online mutual scheme software systems to help them improve their schemes. MiniMAX Mutual is our only "direct to schools" scheme and draws on our experience of good and bad mutuals to create an even more efficient option for schools and academies.
Having worked with and talked to various local authorities over the years we have seen a distinct change in philosophy that has disadvantaged schools.
  • Absence insurance has been getting more expensive as IPT increases, schools move to mutual schemes leaving the insurer to make more money out of fewer schools
  • Many authorities do not wish to operate mutual schemes as they do not have the resources and there is no incentive for them to do so.
  • Some authorities operate inefficient schemes where some schools unfairly subsidise others.
  • Some authorities make the obvious savings that mutuals bring but do not pass those savings onto schools.
We therefore see the clear benefits of missing out the local authority (where they are not efficient enough) and running a much more optimised scheme resourced with the best tools to get the most out of a scheme. This means more for schools at a much reduced cost. Whilst the scheme itself is not-for-profit Esphera Solutions covers its costs with the 10% management fee and makes enough profit to keep it sustainable. Therefore both Esphera Solutions and the schools benefit from the operation of this scheme. Esphera Absence Management Services exists purely to safeguard the pooled fund.
Over the years we have invested in and developed bespoke systems geared around the way mutuals work which as a consequence do most of the heavy lifting. Much of what needs to be done is done electronically. We do not have a big marketing team and let the facts and numbers speak for themselves. Therefore we rely on our extensive mutual experience, technology and innovation, and less on human resources for much of the work and as always staff costs are the bulk of most companies costs.
Just ask via our contact form (CLICK HERE) - we'll reply and then add it here if we think it will be useful to others.