Q: What are IEEE-sponsored discount programs, also known as affinity group programs?
A: IEEE, like other professional associations, alumni groups, or employers, is an affinity group, whose members may be eligible for specially negotiated pricing. IEEE members can recognize their affinity group discounts by the authorized use of the IEEE master brand placed on the vendors’ advertising, mailings, or websites. Licensed use of the IEEE master brand is not a product endorsement.
Q: What are the advantages of sponsored insurance plans for IEEE members?
A: In many cases, IEEE members will find the rates for group insurance to be lower than rates for comparable products that they could buy individually. Group products may have other advantages over individual products. For example, premium credits based on the group’s plan performance can reduce members’ costs over time. Some types of insurance plans are permitted to discount their rates for members of association groups, according to government regulations. Often, a group insurance plan will have uniquely rich features, which add value compared to similarly priced, public plans. Some products offer the ease of enrollment without an underwriting process. Members should always comparison shop to determine if an IEEE-sponsored insurance plan offers the best value for them.
Q: Why are some discounts only available in certain countries?
A: Vendors are usually interested in offering unique discounts to sizeable affinity groups. IEEE’s membership in the United States is approximately 200,000. As IEEE’s membership in various countries becomes more sizeable, there may be the opportunity to develop more national or regional discount programs.
Q: Shouldn’t IEEE be able to leverage the size and buying power of its aggregate, global membership to obtain a universal discount?
A: Companies that distribute products globally may not necessarily offer affinity group discounts in all markets. As IEEE identifies desirable member benefits and providers that have global distribution and discount capabilities, we will seek to add these benefits.
Insurance plans are regulated in each country. Member insurance plans of various types are currently available in the US, Canada and India.
Q: Why does IEEE, a learned society, sponsor personal products and services?
A: IEEE members request discounts on insurance and personal products. Many indicate that these cost-saving benefits are important to their reasons for joining and retaining membership. Those members rely upon the personal benefits they can obtain through IEEE, especially if they do not have employer benefits. In most cases, IEEE has the opportunity to earn royalties, which help to offset increases in member dues worldwide.
Q: How does IEEE determine what discounts to offer?
A: IEEE identifies the need for a discount in a variety of ways, including feedback from member surveys and recommendations of volunteer committees or the IEEE professional staff. At all times, IEEE seeks discounts that will add value to membership for a significant number of members who would utilize the benefit. IEEE conducts a thorough assessment process to determine whether products should be added to our portfolio and which providers should be selected.
Q: Who approves the IEEE-sponsored discount benefits?
A: IEEE has a multi-tiered approval process for sponsored discount programs. Additions to the benefits portfolio are reviewed within MGA committees and the MGA Board. Vendor contracts are subject to the IEEE Contract Review process. See MBPAC for additional information.