September 12, 2017

Sun Life introduces 'Ella', an interactive digital coach to help Clients navigate and maximize their benefits and pension plans

First Canadian insurer to launch online coach

TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2017 /CNW/ - Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada ("Sun Life")  is launching another Canadian life insurance industry first with the introduction of 'Ella', an interactive digital coach who will help Clients fully utilize their benefits and pension plans. This new technology, which will be available first online and through Sun Life's mobile app soon after, will help Clients appreciate the plans provided by their employers like never before, helping them to achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. 

"Say you have money in your healthcare spending or wellness account that you didn't know was about to expire and Ella prompts you to use it. Or perhaps your daughter is turning 21 and you don't realize she will soon need her own healthcare coverage to replace your benefits coverage – Ella can help with that too. Maybe you didn't know your employer will match your retirement savings – she can help ensure you take advantage of these benefits," said Isabelle Hudon, Executive Chair, Sun Life Financial Quebec and Senior Vice-President, Client Solutions, Sun Life Financial Canada. "In today's busy and complicated world it can be difficult to keep track of everything, and benefits and pension plan details are no different. With Ella, you will have a coach there to keep an eye on your plans, surfacing important information you might have otherwise missed, all while guiding you in how to take action."

Ella was built on Sun Life's Digital Benefits Assistant, a client engagement platform that was launched in 2016 and uses advanced analytics and big data technology to present an array of helpful and important ideas to Clients at key life moments. "Ella personifies the experience that we are aspiring to provide for our Clients. She is caring, knowledgeable, and optimistic, empowering Clients to understand their needs and options, and to take action. We developed Ella out of the fundamental belief in the power of insight and advice – not just someone to react to a question – but someone who is looking out for your health and financial well-being," said Hudon.      

Available to Clients beginning this Fall, Ella will first appear in the benefits and pension area, providing outbound information, insight, and advice through highly sophisticated data analytics. Over time, Ella will evolve to be increasingly interactive through artificial intelligence and offer a broader scope on healthcare, empowering Canadians by connecting them to the best healthcare resources, information, and value. "We also see opportunities for Ella to help our advisors serve our retail Clients, and have exciting plans to make this happen next year," said Hudon. "Ella will complement the support we already provide through our call centres and the holistic advice our nearly 3,300 advisors offer every day."

"Whether it's the way we exercise, shop, or consume entertainment, Canadians are connected more than ever and have come to expect a lot from digital tools," said Dave Jones, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial Canada. "Clients – all of us – want only the information we need, when we need it and through the channel of our choice. Ella was developed to respond to that need. She will help you get the most value possible from your plan, so you don't leave money on the table, make the smartest decision with your health benefits dollars, and get the coverage that's right for you."

Thomas Reid, Senior Vice-President, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Financial Canada adds, "This new digital coach will revolutionize how plan members use and participate in their pension plans, maximizing the tools and services available from their employer. We understand that personal finance can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate, but we're confident that this interactive tool complemented by our face-to-face support will help Clients on their journey to achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives."

Sun Life has a long history of innovation and is committed to investing in digital technology to find innovative and creative ways to enhance the experience of our Clients. Sun Life is the leading group benefits provider and private health payor in Canada, with 50 million health touchpoints with Canadians and is the largest provider of Defined Contribution Pension Plans in the country. The Sun Life mobile app quickly rose to a 5-star status in the App Store online store because of its wide array of features, allowing plan members to submit and pay their health claims online; direct claims payments into their bank account or Group RRSP; search for paramedical providers rated by other Sun Life plan members; check balances in their workplace savings plans; make lump sum contributions; and much more.

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of June 30, 2017, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of $944 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars except as otherwise noted. 

App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Media relations contact:
Derek Kirk
Sun Life Financial
T. 416-432-2996
derek.kirk@sunlife.com

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada