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Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.: Constantly committed to purpose and clients

By Adrian Paul B. Conoza, Special Features Writer

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on businesses and individuals, the insurance industry continues to fulfill its purpose, and its relevance among consumers has even widened with the increase in health and safety concerns.

Testifying to the steady commitment of the sector is the remarkable performance of Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. as it remains the top life insurance company in the country.

Last April, the Insurance Commission reported that in 2020, Sun Life posted the highest premium income among life insurers at P39.27 billion. With this latest achievement, Sun Life has successfully retained its no. 1 position for 10 consecutive years.

Sun Life Philippines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Country Head Benedict C. Sison attributes this steady performance of the company to the focus it gives on clients, coupled with constantly being driven by its purpose.

“What really drives us is our purpose of helping clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives,” he said in an e-mail. “Being no. 1 is but a reward for putting our focus on our clients.”

Mr. Sison also noted as an achievement that the company recorded paying claims and maturities amounting to P4.7 billion last year. “This stands for the fulfillment of our promises to our clients, and to be able to carry out our mission in such extraordinary times is an honor,” he said, adding that the company is thankful that it was able to keep its team together and focused amid the pandemic.

Furthermore, the CEO finds Sun Life fortunate to have advisors and employees who genuinely believe in the company’s purpose and are determined to do their part in making it happen. This, he added, enables the company to aim for more robust and impactful strategies to enhance client experiences.

Mr. Sison also sees the company’s longevity — marked by generations of advisors championing Sun Life’s advocacy and generations of clients constantly relying on the company — to have strongly supported Sun Life, especially in a challenging time like the ongoing pandemic.

The CEO noted, nonetheless, the constant imperative to be adaptive to change, which has been further stressed by the pandemic. “[T]he world can change in a day,” he said. “This emphasized the value of a good sustainability strategy and sound risk management practices, highlighting a strength that Sun Life has proven in its 126 years in the Philippines.”

Such strategy must be coupled with a strong culture, he added. “During the extreme lockdowns, it was our company’s culture of collaboration, community, resilience, and passion that allowed us to rethink our plans and pivot quickly to a new operating model,” Mr. Sison added. “When the organization is aligned in its values, purpose, and goals, it is easier to pivot when a crisis occurs.”

A significant part of Sun Life’s pivot amid the pandemic is upgrading its digital capacity, which consist of rolling out its Digitally-Enabled Selling process and Remote Online Medical Examination — both of which, Mr. Sison noted, continue to be key in the successful pursuit of the company’s purpose.

The CEO added that Sun Life has implemented its eRecruitment platform that allows the company to enhance the journey of its new advisors; the Advisor Home Office platform that helps current advisors expedite tasks; and its own eLearning platform that allows its community to continuously expand their knowledge despite the current restrictions.

“Our Human Resources and Business Transformation teams have started efforts to inculcate a digital mindset among our employees,” Mr. Sison continued. “Educational opportunities on the agile approach, risk management, psychological safety, and other programs have been expanded to boost collaboration as we strive to strengthen our digital capabilities.”

Alongside its digital efforts, Sun Life continues to find new ways of reaching people better through a dedicated team for client research; its cross-functional Client-Centric Solutions Idea Generation council that focuses on innovating solutions for clients; as well as external experts and third-party research companies.

As the country proceeds into the ‘now normal’, Sun Life remains grounded on its focus on its clients by enhancing their experience across every platform possible and deepening relationships through emotional connections.

At the same time, it will continue to be focused on its purpose by further defining financial security and healthier lives through four pillars: liquidity, health and protection, wealth accumulation, and wealth transfer.

“Health is an opportunity that this pandemic heightened. It’s an area we will further emphasize and grow,” Mr. Sison said.

In light of these, the CEO said that plans are in place to launch new product solutions, embed technology into more digitally enhanced human capabilities, and further enrich the client-advisor engagement while observing safety protocols.

The company, he added, will continue to engage the business owners segment as it continues to develop solutions and services that will provide them with options to its current suite of products. New solutions are also expected to be introduced for asset management.

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