At the end of 2021, New York Life’s group insurance business was recognized with an award from J.D. Power for providing the highest level of customer satisfaction among group life insurance providers . Scott Berlin, Head of Group Benefit Solutions (GBS) and our Group Membership Association Division (GMAD) business shared with us what this award means and what else is in store for the newest of our group life businesses.
While New York Life is perhaps best known for its portfolio of life insurance products and its career agency model, the company’s group insurance business has been in place for a number of decades. Can you share more details of the business and its history?
Yes, in fact New York Life has been protecting employees and their families in their place of work since 1952 through our Business Solutions offering.
Then, in 1955 we launched the GMAD business. Our first client was the American Bar Endowment, and I’m pleased to say that 66 years later, they’re still a client of ours. And in December 2020, the company closed on its largest acquisition in its history with the purchase of Cigna’s group insurance business, now known as Group Benefit Solutions.
Today, these businesses offer a range of group life insurance solutions to more than 12,000 employer groups that reach over nine million employees, and more than 300 professional associations that cover an additional one million plus members.
New York Life’s group insurance business was recently recognized with an award from J.D. Power for customer satisfaction. What does this mean to you and what do you think underpins this?
First of all, I’m delighted that New York Life’s group insurance business was recognized for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power. Right across the company, we strive to put the customer first in everything we do, and our group insurance portfolio is no different.
Second, as someone who has spent more than 30 years at the company, I am not surprised at this important achievement and milestone in the history in our businesses. It pays testament to the hard work of each of our team members and the commitment to being there where our customers need us.
In January 2021, you began the integration of what is now your Group Benefit Solutions business into New York Life. How’s that progressing, and what’s still on the horizon?
Yes, the integration is a cross-functional journey with many teams working hard to ensure we bring a seamless and interruption-free service to our clients, producers, and brokers. We remain focused on the integration as we start the new year, making investments across the business, not least in products, technology, and our people.
You had to manage the integration at the height of the pandemic. What was that like and what did you learn about New York Life and its people?
In 2021, our teams delivered a great deal, all while helping more than 280,000 disabled customers with their financial security until they were able to return to work. This is a great achievement in any year, but not least during the COVID pandemic, where resilience, compassion and ever higher levels of empathy from our team with our customers was the order of the day.
Everyone at every level of the organization came together to not only support our clients, producers and brokers, but also navigate the many aspects of a rebrand, a significant technology change, relocations, working from home, and so much more.
You continue to invest in the business. Can you share details of any new product launches and innovations planned for Group Benefit Solutions this year?
In January, we launched our enriched Absence offering, which is a more unified, simplified, and intuitive absence experience. We connect our solutions to provide an integrated, seamless experience any time employees are unable to work or be their healthiest and most productive selves. Our offering leverages state of the art digital capabilities with the launch of our myNYLGBS.com portal for clients and customers and provides comprehensive reporting, data, and analytics. Group Benefit Solutions has plans to enhance our capabilities further throughout 2022 including but not limited to offering a fully insured Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) product, re-imagining our ADA offering, and improving our correspondence to be more customer focused.
You recently announced a partnership with Wellthy, a digital care concierge platform that partners with employers to find affordable, high-quality care for employees and their families. Can you tell us more about that?
Group Benefit Solutions is committed to broadening the solutions and services we provide our clients and customers. One way we do this is, yes, through vendor partnerships and we are consistently exploring relationships that accomplish this goal. In support of this, we are excited to be bringing the services of another conceptual partnership with Empathy to our customer base in the near future.
You have a strong relationship with FINEOS and were the first in the U.S. employee benefits industry to develop and broadly implement their policy and billing components of FINEOS AdminSuite. Does technology continue to be an important tool in Group Benefit Solutions?
In 2022, Group Benefit Solutions will further its technology investments to bring product extensions as well as to add new employee and employer digital self-service features and capabilities. As the first carrier to implement Integrated Disability and Absence Management (IDAM) on the FINEOS AdminSuite (ASO) platform, Group Benefit Solutions will be further differentiating its IDAM suite of ASO offerings, adding fully insured paid leave offerings in MA and CT, and offering integrated ADA administration. To complement these product extensions, corresponding digital self-service capabilities will be added to our myNYLGBS.com digital portal.
What, in your opinion, makes New York Life a great place to work?
There are lots of reasons why I believe that New York Life—and especially Group Benefit Solutions —is a great place to work but the overriding reason for me is that the work we do is meaningful. We help people and families when they are most vulnerable, and our products and services provide financial security and peace of mind. We are there when our policy owners need us and for more than 176 years have a history of permanence for our customers.
In fact, a great illustration of that are some stories from some of our Group Benefit Solutions employees who are as excited as I am to be here.
What have you learned in your 30+ years of working at New York Life?
New York Life has been a great place for me to call home for the last 30+ years and I’ve been afforded many opportunities at the company, for which I’m very grateful. There are three main lessons that my experience here has taught me:
Ultimately, it’s about knowing and embracing your values, understanding and living your mission, and making both part of your every day.
If someone is interested in becoming an employee on the group insurance business team, do you have any opportunities currently available?
Yes! We’re looking for people to help us deliver consultative support, personalization, administrative ease, and market-leading outcomes. For more information, check out our careers pages on newyorklife.com. New York Life is an equal opportunity employer M/F/Veteran/Disability/Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation.
New York Life Group Benefit Solutions products and services are provided by Life Insurance Company of North America and New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY, subsidiaries of New York Life Insurance Company. Life Insurance Company of North America is not authorized in NY and does not conduct business in NY. Wellthy and FINEOS are not affiliated with New York Life.
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