Original article appeared in Insurance Innovation Reporter January 2021
Anthony R. O’Donnell shares how Sun Life U.S. creates new absence management solution, using employer and employee feedback to make absence easier.
Sun Life U.S. (Wellesley, Mass.) has leveraged FINEOS (Dublin) IDAM system to launch a new in-house absence management solution designed to simplify the complexities of managing paid and unpaid leaves of absence and serve as a single system to manage all applicable absences under one claim number, one contact to answer all absence-related questions, and one end-to-end intuitive digital experience.
With support for ADA/ADAAA accommodations, Sun Life absence management fully integrates federal/FMLA, state, local and company-specific plans with short-term disability, statutory disability, and paid family and medical leave (PFML). The solution is powered by the FINEOS IDAM (Integrated Disability and Absence Management) platform—a component of the FINEOS Platform. The solution alleviates the administrative burdens of absence claims, allowing HR to focus more on employees and employees to focus on recovery or caring for family, according to a Sun Life U.S. statement.
“The FINEOS IDAM market solution simplifies the complex process of leave customer care, improving engagement and user experience while meeting the rigors of compliance,” comments Michael Kelly, CEO of FINEOS. “The fact that Sun Life chose the FINEOS Platform to support their strategic Integrated Disability and Absence program is very exciting and solidifies FINEOS as a market leader in absence management. We are proud that the Sun Life program is live, which continues to add to the elevated level of care Sun Life provides their customers.”
In advance of creating the system, Sun Life interviewed employees around the country who had gone on leave for various reasons and found their greatest sources of frustration were independently navigating the process and connecting with the appropriate people.
“When an employee goes on a leave of absence it’s often a challenging time in their lives, and we want to put them at ease so they can focus on their reason for leave, and on successfully returning to work,” comments David Healy, SVP, Group Benefits, Sun Life U.S. “An absence event can bring the added stress of managing an illness, injury, or important family moment, so navigating the claims process needs to be easy. We have created an intuitive, easy-to-navigate digital experience where employees can view all the absence benefits they are filing for under one claim number, and work with one case manager to address all of their questions and concerns.”
Legislative landscape that continues to evolve, making absence management increasingly complicated for employers, particularly those who operate in multiple states and must contend with various PFML programs. “As a leader in disability, paid leave and absence management, with decades of experience, Sun Life brings clinical, vocational and compliance expertise together with digital tools that make HR’s job easier,” a company statement says.
Built on Insights from Employers/Employees
“We are committed to providing the best possible experience to employer clients and employee members, and that starts with listening to their feedback and delivering solutions that address their needs,” comments Kevin Kreminski, SVP, National Accounts, Sun Life U.S. “Our absence management offering was uniquely developed by gaining an understanding from employers and their employees on how we could improve their absence management experience. Combining our commitment to the client experience with the newest technologies and our in-depth expertise enables us to make managing absence easier for everyone involved.”
Sun Life describes the new solution as a client-centric absence management solution that provides a streamlined process to manage all absence benefits the employee is using, regardless of the type—for example, an employee might take short-term disability, FMLA, and the company’s own maternity leave concurrently. The intuitive digital experience includes educational tools, real-time claim status updates available to both HR and the employee, and on-demand, fully customizable reporting and dashboards, also with real-time claim information, according to Sun Life. “Employers don’t have to ‘be the expert’ when it comes to absence, and can get time back to focus on the things that matter most—running their business and supporting employees,” the company statement adds.
Michael Kelly, CEO, FINEOS
David Healy, SVP, Group Benefits, Sun Life U.S