Key Details

  • The original schools’ mutual scheme optimiser (since 2003)
  • Already helped thousands of schools save money
  • Already helped thousands of schools receive improved service levels
  • Joint methodology developed between Esphera/Local Authorities/Schools proven time and again
  • Most efficient (greatest proportion of contributions returned to schools) and therefore best value
  • Most equitable (“Equaliser” algorithm ensures no school unfairly over-subsidises others – no big losers) and therefore lowest risk
  • “No need to claim” automatic repayment process (if we can link to your HR system)

How Esphera Operates the Scheme


For over 30 years our experts have used actuarial, stochastic, operational research and data intelligence methodologies to unlock the value in data and provide practical solutions to numerical real-life conundrums. We have been able to apply these skills to produce a service which holistically tackles the issues of staff absence. We can cater for all stages in the absence cover life-cycle, from micro-analysis of historical absences and costs to produce practical and fair renewal rates, through processing absences and resultant claims, to the end point of reporting on and reviewing what has happened to start the process over again. All of these stages are built into our management system so that they are able to be completed as efficiently as is practically possible.


Esphera has been involved with schools’ staff absence mutuals since 2003. We have witnessed funds which are truly excellent and have almost full buy-in and continuation from their schools. We have also seen schemes which are fundamentally flawed and have failed when they could have been saved. This experience has given us the knowledge to know what the problems are and how to overcome them, what the good points are and how to exploit them for schools’ advantage. We have used this wealth of experience to advise on new schemes and to incorporate key benefits into the MinMAX Mutual to ensure success. We refuse to pay for false promotion by industry bodies, we prefer to let the results speak for themselves, and let word of mouth from our customers and members spread the word.


The MiniMAX Mutual employs bespoke online systems developed by Esphera in conjunction with multiple local authorities which enable us to cater for any eventuality and peculiarity and choice of terms and benefits. We have reduced human input to an absolute minimum as most of the common time-consuming tasks are performed automatically. Quotes can be generated by members quickly, absences input in seconds, repayments calculated almost immediately, and financial position checked at any time, all through our unique online management system.

Schools First

Esphera was originally formed with one purpose – to prove that absence insurance was poor value and to get the best deal for schools. Now that we’ve shown that in the many council schemes we’ve operated, we now offer an even better outcome through this direct to schools solution which cuts out more overheads than ever before.


By doing things quickly, efficiently and accurately means that we can operate for a much lower cost than the alternatives out there. Lower overheads ultimately mean more money is available to go back to schools and our Equaliser algorithm ensures that all members are treated exactly the same with no big losers.

We ourselves have very low overheads with no fancy offices, no company cars, an on-demand development and support service meaning staff are only engaged when required. Also, we have no marketing team and the majority of our interaction with members is solely online through automated processes. We are then able to pass these savings to our members with a low management charge to the scheme.