April 07, 2015

Sun Life Wake Up Summit provides insights to help employers take control of their health care benefits

SLPC 26478 04/15 (Exp. 04/20)

Wellesley, MA – (April 07, 2015) — The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial hosted its third Sun Life Wake Up Summit to shed light on important and complex issues surrounding health care reform. The Summit gave perspectives on how employers are taking control of their health care benefits and analyzing solutions like self-insurance.

Keynote speakers—Dr. Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and Affordable Care Act expert, and Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute—shared opposing viewpoints on the current state of reform and tackled questions about the implications of the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case and the impending Cadillac tax. Following their session, two panels explored the pros and cons of self-insurance and shared experiences and pragmatic advice for those considering self-insurance.

Paul Fronstin, Director of the Health Research and Education Program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, pointed to a number of advantages companies have when they self-insure, including uniformity of benefits across states and access to health plan data that can help tailor wellness programs to the needs of employees, which can directly lead to the bottom line. He explained, “The growing interest in self-insurance among large-size firms pre-dates the Affordable Care Act. Yet as a result of health care reform, we may see smaller employers evaluating, for the first time, if self-insurance is right for them.”

Adding to those points, Booker Moore, President and CEO of L.R. Webber Associates, an employee benefits advisory firm, said, "We're seeing a trend with employers of converting fully insured plans into a self-funded program as they seek to gain access to more detailed claims data to address long-term cost-control issues."

Members of the panel also emphasized that not all self-funding is the same, and with a lot of choices and ways to administer a plan, it’s critically important to have trusted, knowledgeable partners to help weigh the risks and tailor a solution. Fronstin further explained, “Smaller employers that can absorb less risk have to look at how one large medical claim could wipe them out. That’s why having the right stop-loss insurance to protect against that is critical.”

“We’re living through a time of unprecedented change in how Americans receive benefits, with new laws, new taxes, new delivery systems, and a lot of uncertainty,” said Dan Fishbein, President of Sun Life Financial U.S. “Our Summits are designed to provide a cross-section of viewpoints and information to help employers navigate those changes and make thoughtful benefits decisions for their companies and their employees.”

More than 2,400 people watched the live webcast of the Summit, which was broadcasted on April 1 from the Bloomberg headquarters in New York, indicating that these topics are top of mind for brokers, employers and members of the employee benefits community. To hear the insights from the following keynote speakers and expert panelists, visit

  • Keynote: Health Care Reform: Working/Not Working
    • Jonathan Gruber, Professor of Economics, MIT
    • Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Roundtable: The Self-Insurance Question: Should I?
    • Paul Fronstin, Director, Health Research and Education Program, Employee Benefit Research Institute
    • Booker Moore, President & CEO, L.R. Webber Associates, Inc.
    • Jeannette Rudy Fitzwater, Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Services, First United Bank & Trust
    • Don Thompson, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.
  • Panel: Employer Decision Points
    • Adam V. Russo, Co-Founder, CEO, The Phia Group LLC
    • Brad Nieland, Vice President, Stop-Loss, Sun Life Financial U.S.
    • David B. Angerman, Northeast Regional Sales Director, UMR

The video, “Self-Insurance 101: A Practical Guide,” which provides background on self-insurance trends and medical stop-loss insurance, is also available on

About the Sun Life Wake Up Summit
The Sun Life Wake Up Summit, held on April 1, 2015, is the third in a series of Summits hosted by Sun Life Financial. Sun Life selected the topic of self-insurance based on the growing interest it has experienced as the #1 independent writer of stop-loss insurance in the U.S.1 The inaugural Sun Life Summit, which was attended by thousands of employers and benefits professionals in October 2013, focused on the changing health care landscape and the impact the Affordable Care Act has on the U.S. workplace. The Sun Life Summit in 2014 delved into the topic of private exchanges.

About Sun Life Financial
Celebrating 150 years in 2015, Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. The Sun Life Financial group of companies operates under the “Sun Life Financial” name strictly as a marketing name and no legal significance is expressed or implied. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in key 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. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies.

In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including Group and Voluntary Accident, Critical Illness, Dental, Disability, Life, and Stop-Loss insurance products. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information about Sun Life Financial U.S. please visit

Media contacts:
Devon Portney Fernald
Sun Life Financial U.S.
M: 781-800-3609

Stacy Grisinger
Elevate Communications

1. The #1 ranking is based on the 2013 year-end Sun Life Stop-Loss premium of $915.2M and our analysis of marketshare data from various third parties.