Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.


Industry Champions of the Year

Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.

Industry Champions of the Year


about Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.

“Financial Literacy is Life”

Sun Life educates Filipinos on its products and proves it is a trustworthy brand.

Sun Life Philippines (“Sun Life”) was established in the Philippines in 1895, making it the first ever life insurance company in the Philippines. It is the leading international financial services organization providing asset management and wealth, insurance, and health solutions to individual and institutional clients. 

Having been in operations since 1895, Sun Life’s current stability and leading market position are a testament to its financial stability, operational resilience, and business sustainability, where it has withstood World Wars, financial crises, and recently, a pandemic. Through it all, the company has served as a formidable organization in service of its clients.    

Over the years, Sun Life has been consistent in paying claims and maturities to clients, staying true to its promises. This commitment stems all the way back to its early years, where Sun Life was the only life insurance company in the Philippines who paid post-war death claims amounting to USD1.3 million even without documents attesting to the validity of the claims. In the end, all claims were found to be legitimate. Likewise, this commitment is evident in the company’s efforts to pursue its digital transformation and improve the client experience, to launch new products and services that meet their evolving needs, and to continuously grow its business to reach more Filipinos nationwide. 

Being in the service industry, Sun Life realizes the importance of its insurance agents who are the frontliners representing their company. Traditionally, insurance agents have negative images in the Philippines. Sun Life transformed its agents into financial advisors, presenting them as a partner and a professional.  Sun Life has over 22,000 advisors and they are recognized to be among the best in the field, with over 500 of them belonging to the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table, a trade association for insurance brokers and financial advisors. 

Sun Life’s continued success is also attributed to its highly engaged workforce. A testament to this is the company being certified as a Great Place to Work, which is the global authority on workplace culture. Confidence in the management was expressed and 92% of respondents said they are proud to tell others that they work in Sun Life. This leads them to fulfill their roles in the company and enable Sun Life to serve its clients well. 

Insurance was not always a widely known industry in the Philippines, but through Sun Life’s efforts to bring its cause closer to the Filipinos, it successfully changed this. In return, Filipinos embraced the brand and its purpose, even becoming its advocates. This led to Sun Life being the most trusted brand in the industry, as affirmed by various studies and award-giving bodies, such as the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands Awards, Campaign Asia’s Top 100 Brands, and the Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards.

Choosing Sun Life means supporting its advocacies as well, as the company makes sure to bring its purpose to the greater community through its philanthropy arm, Sun Life Foundation. Flagship programs revolve around promoting financial security and health and wellness. The Foundation also aspires to bring hope and joy to its beneficiaries by initiating and supporting sustainable programs in line with its pillars of financial literacy, health, and education, not just for the present but also future generations.

Sun Life Foundation’s flagship programs include Sun Pera-Aralan, a financial management program for public school teachers that aims to instill positive, practical, and better daily money behaviors to 125,000 teachers in the Philippines through an innovative yet simple budgeting system. Apart from its proven effectivity in improving their money management skills, the program has also helped uplift the teachers’ mental health and wellbeing through financial stress management. 

Another flagship program is the Sun Life Barangay Health Stations, which reflect Sun Life Foundation’s effort in bringing healthcare closer to remote areas. The Barangay Health Stations provide preventive health services such as immunization programs, health & nutrition programs, and promotion of sanitation & hygiene. In addition, the health stations are also expected to provide family planning services, pre- and post-natal case as well as treatment for minor illnesses and accidents. 

Apart from its flagship programs, Sun Life Foundation also supports other programs aligned with its pillars. These include Tulong Eskwela (Help for Schools): Teaching at the Right Level, an evidence-based education approach that helps children develop basic reading and mathematics skills in only 60 days; Ayla Saves for a Bright Day, Sun Life Foundation’s first financial literacy story and activity book, for children, which was co-developed with Adarna House; comprehensive educational sponsorship of 125 elementary and high school students in Minglanilla, Alegria, and Daanbantayan Municipalities; improving household resilience for near-shore fishers through the formation and advancement of savings and loans clubs, financial literacy workshops and market development programs in the towns of Bais, Amlan and Manjuyod in Negros Oriental; scholarship grants for 55 students in partner universities, and supporting scholars of Hebreo Foundation and Bantay Edukasyon; and Sagip Kapamilya, the Humanitarian Action arm of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. for its disaster relief initiatives. 

Among the challenges Sun Life faces in the Philippines is the low financial literacy among Filipinos. While this has significantly improved over the years, it remains a challenge. To address this, Sun Life continues to advocate financial literacy so people may know the legitimate ways to save and invest, red flags to look out for, and what they can expect when working with a financial services company. Another challenge is contending with the rapid digital revolution, which is increasingly transforming people’s lifestyles as well as ways of doing business. Sun Life actively upskills its employees and advisors, ensuring that they are ready to take their place within the digital enterprise. Competition and disruptions are likewise something to look out for. Sun Life strives to be more creative in the way it engages clients, bringing the conversation about insurance in areas that are unexpected but effective. Sun Life also establishes strategic partnerships with organizations whose visions align with theirs and can complement its offerings to bring insurance closer to more Filipinos.

Eastern Communications’ talent development and career advancement programmes are put in place to determine talents who are ready for next level, leadership roles or critical roles. The organization conducts a Talent Assessment, which determines readiness; and identifies development programs that the incumbent will need to achieve and be successful in the target position.

Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group

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