Our “A Rewarding New York Life” series shines a light on the breadth of opportunity available at New York Life and explores how a role here could tick a lot of boxes when it comes to finding a rewarding career and nailing that work-life balance.
With a history spanning more than 176 years, New York Life is an insurance company that thrives on its people. And when it comes to group life insurance, New York Life has been protecting employees and their families for several decades.
In 2020, with the acquisition of Cigna’s group insurance business, New York Life took an exciting step. This was the largest acquisition in the company’s history and resulted in what is now known as New York Life Group Benefit Solutions (GBS).
We spoke to a group of our dynamic GBS employees about who they are, what they do, and how New York Life supports their personal and professional goals.
Chief Financial Officer, GBS – Justin Somers
At the start of the year, Justin Somers transitioned into his new role as Chief Financial Officer for New York Life’s Group Benefit Solutions business. He previously served as the business’ Chief Underwriter. He is enjoying the challenge of a new role and new responsibilities with a company he respects.
In this conversation, Justin discusses his role and how he feels supported by New York Life in both his personal and professional development.
The Person / “Being a dad and a CFO”
Being a parent and a CFO can be intense. For Justin, downtime is vital, and he strives to ensure that those he leads also subscribe to the healthy work-life balance encouraged at New York Life.
“I love to spend time with my family and have days out on the beach in the summer. We have two boys—both under four years old—so those guys keep us very busy! They require a lot of parenting time, and there is often a lack of sleep! So, as you can imagine, work-life balance is extremely important to me.”
“We absolutely strive to ensure that our employees know we value them as individuals, and we know they're multi-dimensional.”
“I feel that the organization really does try to ensure that their leaders are putting their arms around their teams and ensuring that they're getting the work-life balance they need.”
Justin graduated with an Actuarial Science degree from Temple University and then went on to work in a variety of actuarial and risk management-oriented roles for Cigna. This gave him a holistic understanding of the business, setting wheels in motion for a successful senior management career in the world of insurance.
The Role / “Finance is at the heart”
“In my current role, I am responsible for our actuarial and controllership functions—so actuarial pricing, actuarial reserving, strategic investment funding and prioritization, and financial planning and analysis. A lot of my job is communicating to New York Life senior executives, explaining how we did financially relative to our expectations and discussing our future financial prospects. That's a really interesting aspect of the role—the financial planning and analysis portion.”
“The other part of my job is more about accounting. While some people might not think accounting work is as interesting as some of those strategy elements, it's vital to a successful financial organization. We’ve got to have integrity in our finances.”
Apart from being a crucial part of the financial backbone of GBS, what else does Justin find especially rewarding about his role? The chance to take his segment of the business to the top.
“Something I was most excited about in terms of the opportunity is having the chance to represent GBS to senior leaders throughout the organization and give them insights and understanding of our business and where we're looking to go.”
The Culture / “How do we help you?”
Embracing new opportunities, such as a promotion, is an exciting professional turning point. But it can also bring challenges, particularly during a time of global flux. Justin has found the supportive culture at New York Life to be especially notable as he has navigated this change.
“Every New York Life leader I've spoken to has asked: ‘What can we do to help? How do we help you? How are you? What additional information can we provide? How can we help you engage the right people across the organization?’ I am excited to be at a company like New York Life.”
And finally, as Justin explains, “at a senior leadership level, very little of what I do is done individually without significant team input.” Working as a team, remotely or through a hybrid working model, presents its own challenges. But Justin feels the culture at New York Life has made things easier.
Feel inspired? Why not apply to one of our many open roles today.
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