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.L’assurance en Mouvement and The Links published in June 2018 a collective work entitled « Dessine-moi une mutuelle 2018-2028 » (Draw me a mutual 2018-2028). Co-written by some of the biggest names in the French mutualist world, the book aims to explore the new modernity of mutuals. I propose to you from today and in the coming weeks a synthesis of the 7 articles of this book. Let’s start with the first article, co-written by Benedict in particular Briatte (MGP) and Jérôme Saddier (MNT) , entitled « Reinventing timeless mutual principles ».
Reinventing the economic model of non-profit
The mutual model is reaching its limits because of changing regulations and massive societal changes. Alliances become necessary to pass these caps, and these are the ones we have seen on the market for several years. These alliances can be between actors of different natures (mutuals, IP, companies, etc.). This brings out operating models that must be innovative. The fact remains that the mutuality must find its model to assume its status. The words of the French president of the mutuality are rather clear : “The model of the mutuality of tomorrow, it is the non-profit”.
In this environment, there is often a confusion between non-profit and lack of profitability or the fact of not being able to earn money ( Note : Warning, already at this point, earn money and be profitable are 2 different things … ! ).
Mutuals have a non-profit nature, which means they generate profitability, but choose to allocate profits to a societal role and humanistic values. Do not confuse profit making with the way these profits are used. Generating profits is necessary for any economic activity to survive. The use that is made of it is the whole issue. Redistribution towards social action, towards actions of book III ( ie eg health centers) or reinvesting in the model.
The question of taxation is problematic. There is a disagreement between insurers and mutuals on the issue of taxation. Insurers consider it normal to see mutuals taxed on their bottom line. Mutuals bring more to society than the traditional model of a capital-intensive enterprise, and they believe that, having no shareholders to provide equity, they should be exempted or at least treated with a particular regime.
Borders of non-profit principle
It is important to consider the mutual environment, not only for itself, but also in its environment. For mutuals who care for civil servants, and who work for their well-being, seeking a tax cut is counterproductive. Indeed, there will be less means for their daily activity. An SA is a chain People are investing in a business to make a profit. A mutual is a loop, it is created by and for its members.
The 3 principes of mutualism
In the future, the only mutual status will no longer suffice, it will respond to 3 main principles :
- social added value : work for members and not for shareholders
The mutual must not lose sight of its primary commitment, that of accompanying members and solving the problems of people’s daily lives. It is important not to be carried away by technocracy, which is very time-consuming and counterproductive .
Purpose and operating model
Mutualism is integrated as a branch of the social and solidarity economy. There must be consistency between the purposes and the organization. In terms of purpose, social protection is increasingly competitive, identifying truly differentiating goals is illusory, despite the great discourse. However, there is another purpose, that of a collective solution, built together with democratic mechanisms. This issue loses some of its clarity in the context of collective contracts where one becomes a member by the choice of his employer.
Timelss historic bases
The main foundation of mutualism is the general interest, a value that many French people hold and claim. The question of access to care for all is also historic and it is interesting to note that the digital can perhaps bring new answers. The financial aspect remains critical, because to function, it is to maintain financial stability in an environment that is lacking so much. Finally, what remains the core business of mutuals, health, and proximity to members are essential fundamentals.
Towards equal access to care without segmentation
The difficulty of the current healthcare system lies in the risk of segmentation, of a 2-speed health. Mutualism must bring forward a project of a new leap forward from social security and social protection in the broad sense, to better cover all those who need it, when they need it and for the care they need.
Develop solidarity beyond traditional circles
Mutuals act primarily for their network of members and members. However, the ambition would be to be able to have an impact beyond these circles alone and to be able to act on themes of society that affect us all.
Key take-aways of « Reinventin timeless mutual principles » ?
This sum of small items in the shape of a kaleidoscope presents a mutualist context that seeks a new breath. Mutualism focuses on repositioning its model separately in the competitive environment. The stakes are high, but in a context of a social and solidarity economy that has been growing in recent years, we can say that there is a future. It is not certain, however, that these first contributions provide a concrete answer. The principles and the theory are clear, the practice is a little less so. The next articles will perhaps give substance to this vision 2018-2028 ! Subscribe to the newsletter to follow the next publications.