Driving innovation

Doing business on the leading edge

Sun Life has a long, proud history built on many industry firsts. Among them: We introduced the world’s first unconditional life insurance policy. We were the first to offer group life insurance in Canada. And our subsidiary MFS Investment Management “invented” the mutual fund.

But our continued success depends on looking ahead – on remaining at the forefront of product development, embracing digital technology and responding to new realities. Today’s environment is evolving at lightning speed – yesterday’s best practice is today’s norm and tomorrow’s museum piece.

That’s why Sun Life is continuously surveying the landscape for ways to keep our competitive edge. We’re investing in the key building blocks that will ramp up our digital focus. We’re reinventing processes, investing in ground-breaking tools and relentlessly searching for strategies and tactics to enhance our leadership position and support our reason for being in business: to help our Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives.

These are just a few recent examples of Sun Life’s forward thinking:


Discovering MaRS – technology that’s transforming our world

Innovation loves company. That’s why Sun Life is partnering with North America’s largest innovation hub, the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. MaRS is a leader in the trend towards urban innovation districts, which give entrepreneurs access to corporations, investors, mentors, universities and labs so they can catalyze, accelerate, scale and diffuse innovation. Through MaRS, we are connected to financial technology start-ups with cutting-edge solutions that will enable us to expand our digital innovation agenda and continue to lead the way in transforming our industry and responding to our Clients’ changing needs and expectations.


Leading the charge against diabetes – celebrity athletes, actors, chefs and musicians join our journey

Sun Life’s unprecedented, international campaign to raise awareness of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes is aimed at stemming the rising tide of people around the world who are becoming diabetic, and reducing the risk of debilitating complications. We’re partnering with professional athletes, actors, celebrity chefs and musicians in North America, Asia and the United Kingdom, as well as with leading experts at hospitals, clinics and universities to shine a spotlight on the cause.

Sun Life is leading the charge against diabetes on several fronts. We donate money for research and prevention programs. We support fundraising efforts by our Employees and the general public. And at the intersection of our corporate citizenship and the way we do business, we have created something really new: In a pilot program in Hong Kong, we’re offering standard life insurance rates to Clients with diabetes (who would typically otherwise pay higher premiums) who attend diabetes clinics regularly and manage their condition successfully for 2 years.


Making it easier to do business with us

One of the ways we help to maintain an unwavering focus on our Clients is through our Brighter Way approach. The Brighter Way is grounded in Lean principles and practices, which focus on reducing process waste, making incremental improvements, and creating a sustainable environment. It’s all about making it easier to do business with us while improving productivity – with the end goal of a better employee and Client experience with Sun Life.


Thinking “outside the cubicle” – the latest in office design at One York Street

Today, thanks to technology, people can be accessible from anywhere, anytime – and that’s changing the way we work together, communicate with one another and do business with our Clients. There is a global shift away from traditional office design, where up to 90% of floor space was dedicated to offices and cubicles, leaving only 10% for meeting rooms and virtually nowhere for impromptu team huddles.

Opening in 2017, Sun Life’s new corporate headquarters at One York Street in Toronto’s dynamic south core financial district reflects the latest thinking in office design. It features spaces that can serve a variety of purposes at different times, offering more balance, more flexibility and more choice in working styles, and giving us a competitive edge in attracting, developing and retaining top talent.

One York is also designed to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. That means meeting internationally recognized standards for air quality, access to natural light and effective energy and water conservation programs. Among its energy-saving features are a “light harvesting system,” which will monitor daylight and adjust artificial light accordingly, and “deep lake water cooling,” which will draw cold water from nearby Lake Ontario to cool the building, using far less electricity than traditional air conditioning. 


We’re game – SunHealth Quest app lets players navigate health hazards on their life journey

How do you make health insurance fun? Take the popularity of handheld games and mobile apps, add the need for protection against unexpected sickness and accidents and you get the SunHealth Quest app. Sun Life has developed an innovative, award-winning application/game for phones and tablets that lets players in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia choose an avatar to navigate various health hazards that pop up through 4 life stages. Along with the game, there are interactive calculators, facts and statistics.