Lifetime Guarantee: Benedict Sison
The value of life insurance took on a new importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having weathered the storm, Sun Life Philippines CEO Benedict Sison says the industry leader is standing strong to help its clients live healthy and secure lives.
When your company’s purpose is to improve the lives of others, motivation is easy to muster. Just ask Benedict Sison, who has spent 13 years with leading financial services firm Sun Life Philippines doing just that.
"The sense of purpose really attracted me to the company in the first place," Sison says. "We work to help Filipinos achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives, so it’s really quite easy to stay committed even when the going gets tough."
I’m very proud that we have such a strong culture and highly engaged community of employees that fulfill our promises to our clients.
It’s a purpose that’s deeply embedded in Sun Life staff throughout the company. "Everything we do, every plan, every action, every decision, revolves around this purpose," he explains.
"I’m very proud that we have such a strong culture and highly engaged community of employees that fulfill our promises to our clients."
At Sun Life Philippines, those promises include financial planning, a life’s spectrum of insurance options, investment solutions for all walks of life and a suite of wellness products aimed at improving personal health.
"These are exciting times for the insurance industry," Sison says. "We’re equipped with lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and ready to make sure clients receive the help they need. With a broad range of offerings, Sun Life is ready to take that journey with them."
And Sison should know, having begun his ascent at Sun Life as CFO in 2010. This year marks his fifth anniversary as CEO and Country Head of Sun Life Philippines, a term that’s seen more than its share of challenges.
What helped me stay the course was meditation and prayer, which gave me the courage to cope and adapt to changing times, and to welcome new opportunities rather than fearing change.
"Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic was the most significant struggle," he says. "Yes, we have a robust business continuity plan that allowed us to weather the difficulties. Yes, we entered the pandemic in a strong position, which allowed us to withstand the disruptions. But there was still much uncertainty in our industry and around the world."
Faced with staring down an unfamiliar virus, Sison admits he experienced a few sleepless nights. "I tried to think through how we could minimize the pandemic’s impact and also how we could help the greater community," he says.
"What helped me stay the course was meditation and prayer, which gave me the courage to cope and adapt to changing times, and to welcome new opportunities rather than fearing change."
And help it did; Sun Life Philippines has come out the other side stronger than ever. "We were able to accelerate our digitalization efforts, upskill our people and fulfill our obligations to clients, all without compromising our standards," he says.
Sure enough, 2022 was one of Sun Life’s biggest years in its 128-year history, with over US$109 million in claims and maturities paid out. "I think the value of life insurance really became apparent to many Filipinos during the pandemic," Sison says.
Longevity is a treasured badge of honor in the life insurance industry, so being able to keep long-term clients, as we have, and maintain trust and high standards for so long really matters.
This sudden demand became an opportunity for Sun Life to demonstrate what industry leadership is all about. "We’ve never faltered in serving our clients, especially in the most crucial moments of their lives, and this was no exception," he says proudly.
It’s no wonder, then, that Sun Life is the most trusted insurance and investments brand in the Philippines. "I believe that’s for the 12th consecutive year," Sison says. "Achievements such as this inspire us to keep championing our purpose and take it to the next level of success."
That’s a journey Sison’s charted in three phases. "We have plans for our clients, for our digital leadership vision and our talent," he says. "Longevity is a treasured badge of honor in the life insurance industry, so being able to keep long-term clients, as we have, and maintain trust and high standards for so long really matters."
The digital leadership aspect of this three-tier plan is particularly significant, he adds. "We’d like to enable our clients to engage with us 24/7 for all their insurance and service requirements through best-in-class digital tools, so really, it’s all about the client as well," he says.
"We’re using data analytics to deliver predictive, proactive and personalized service so that our clients will stay connected with us as we offer them lifetime financial security and healthier lives."
We’re using data analytics to deliver predictive, proactive and personalized service so that our clients will stay connected with us as we offer them lifetime financial security and healthier lives.
Internally, it’s Sun Life’s people that are prized above all else. "They’re our most important resource," Sison says. "We’re committed to developing our people, especially potential leaders of the next generation."
With history on its side and an unrelenting commitment to quality service, Sun Life Philippines is set to be around for quite some time to come. "We’ve demonstrated our longevity," Sison says.
"We’ve pioneered life insurance in the Philippines since 1895, we’ve stood by the side of Filipinos during war, economic challenges and now a pandemic. We remain financially strong, we continue to evolve with the times, and we’re ready for more."