Ideon’s API powers rapid, accurate data exchange between Sun Life and benefits administration platforms
NEW YORK, July 27, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ideon, the API platform powering digital experiences in health insurance and benefits, today announced that it has partnered with Sun Life to enable a seamless digital enrollment and administration experience for the group benefit provider’s ancillary offerings.
Sun Life, a leading provider of life, disability, absence management, supplemental health, and dental insurance, will use Ideon’s APIs to connect and exchange data with the growing ecosystem of HR and benefits platforms. This creates a more accurate, engaging, and automated benefits enrollment and administration experience for brokers, employers, and Sun Life members across the country.
"This partnership will enhance Sun Life’s data exchange capabilities with benefits administration platforms, making it easier for employees to enroll in and for employers to manage their Sun Life portfolio of benefits – while also improving the broker experience," said David Healy, Senior Vice President of Group Benefits at Sun Life. "We are thrilled to work with Ideon to enhance our digital connectivity as we continue to innovate new solutions for employers."
Amid a competitive job market, employers are expanding the scope and variety of their benefit offerings to attract and retain talent. Research by LIMRA shows that 66 percent of employers believe their employees will expect more ancillary and non-medical benefits options in the future. As the number of benefits employers offer increases, so does the administrative workload on HR teams.
Thanks to the connectivity powered by Ideon, previously manual benefits administration tasks for Sun Life’s employer clients and members are now automated. By spending less time and effort administering the growing number of benefits they offer employees, HR teams have more time to focus on other initiatives for their organizations.
"By selecting Ideon’s APIs, Sun Life is signaling its commitment to continued digital innovation that greatly benefits members, employers and brokers," said Michael W. Levin, co-founder and CEO of Ideon. "As the adoption of voluntary benefits grows, Ideon is a valuable partner to Sun Life and other carriers, making it easier for them to capitalize on this opportunity and empowering them to deliver the best benefit experiences to their clients."
Ideon is the way health insurance carriers and employee benefits providers connect with technology partners to deliver seamless consumer experiences at every stage of the member journey. Ideon is not the websites or apps one uses to choose a plan or find a doctor. It is the infrastructure, the ‘pipes,’ that simplify the complex exchange of quoting, enrollment, and eligibility data between carriers and the technology partners so that they can, in turn, deliver health and employee benefits to hundreds of millions of Americans everyday. Ideon’s APIs transmit billions of data points between InsurTechs and insurance carriers, powering an amazing benefits experience for all. Faster. Better. Awesomely. To learn more, please visit: www.ideonapi.com.
About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing asset management, wealth, insurance and health solutions to individual and institutional clients. Sun Life 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 March 31, 2022, Sun Life had total assets under management of C$1.35 trillion. 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.
In the United States, Sun Life is one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 55,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life’s broad portfolio of insurance products and services in the U.S. includes disability, absence management, life, dental, vision, voluntary and medical stop-loss. Sun Life and its affiliates in asset management businesses in the U.S. employ approximately 8,000 people. Group insurance policies are issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, Mass.), except in New York, where policies are issued by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, Mich.). For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220727005367/en/
Director, Content and Communications
My great-grandmother was a big proponent of wearing dark-colored, long-sleeved shirts in the middle of North Carolina’s scalding summers. Her reply whenever I’d ask her why she’d chosen that gardening outfit on a 95-degree day was always the same: “What keeps out the cold will keep out the sun.”
Her ancestral wisdom was spot on. Ultraviolet radiation, of which the sun is a primary source, is thought to be a leading cause of skin problems in people—including wrinkles, sunburn, decreased immune function, irritation, and certain forms of cancer. Historically, humans have found ways to protect themselves from the sun. Indigenous populations in Alaska constructed snow goggles out of bone or wood to protect their eyes from UV rays reflecting off the snow. In Myanmar, thanaka, a paste of crushed tree bark, is still used.
Consumer-wise, today there are two primary sun protectants on the market: sunscreens and UPF materials. The second is designed using “various weaving methods, dyes, and photo-protecting chemicals to impede ultraviolet light from penetrating through the fabric and damaging the skin,” says Travis W. Blalock, an associate professor of dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine.
[Related: Your summer guide to sunscreen, from SPF to not-so-magic pills]
Basically, UPF is a grade given to clothing and other textiles specially designed to block UV rays from reaching the skin. According to outdoor retailer REI, even a plain white t-shirt provides a UPF rating of around 5, which isn’t much, but is better than your birthday suit.
While SPF and UPF products will defend your body from the sun, their levels of protection are not determined in the same way, explains Shadi Kourosh, the director of community health for the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital. A product’s SPF rating is based on how long someone can be in the sun with sunscreen on before their skin starts to redden, relative to how long they can be in the sun without it. For instance, if someone can be in the sun for 30 minutes before they start to burn, properly applied SPF 30 would allow them to stay outside for 30 times longer.
In comparison, UPF ratings are established by the percentage of UV rays that penetrate the material. If a shirt has a rating of UPF 50, it is thought to block 98 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from reaching someone’s skin. (SPF only measures protection against UVB rays.) Officially rated UPF products range from 15 up to 50+.
I asked both Kourosh and Blalock about the benefits of UPF, how to tell if a product will offer good sun defense, and if SPF ratings serve as an effective guide for choosing the proper level of protection. Both interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Blalock: UPF is just one component of protecting the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. It does an amazing job of protecting the skin that it covers—however, I recommend using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF greater than 30 to apply to areas not covered by UPF clothing. As a parent and a doctor, I am acutely aware of the benefit of UPF clothing, which does not have to be reapplied and doesn’t wash off during swimming. Sunscreen does have to be reapplied after a designated period, and spots could be missed if it is not applied uniformly.
Kourosh: Even if you’re wearing a UPF fabric that blocks 99 percent of the sun’s rays, if you’re out for long enough, some of those rays still might get through. One concept discussed in the medical community, especially among dermatologists, is the percentage of body surface area covered by a garment and the weight of the garment itself. So it’s about how good the fabric is at blocking the sun, and how much of the body it covers. And there are other factors that affect its effectiveness—like the clothing should be loose rather than tight, and it should not be wet.
Blalock: I don’t typically think of SPF as being superior given that UPF and SPF focus on different aspects of photoprotection. I think of these concepts and measurements as complementary instead of comparative. However, as a practical matter, it is generally believed that UPF clothing may block out UVA more effectively than some sunscreens.
Kourosh: While national and international health agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organizations recommend UPF as one of the pillars of sun prediction, there is no global standardization. Australia and New Zealand have done the best job of establishing guidelines and standards and having agencies for enforcement. But in the US, it’s not enforced, so that’s another reason why it’s a good idea to go for the maximum protection, because that gives you the best chance of getting the protection you’re hoping for. Australia and New Zealand also have a protection rating system corresponding to the percentage of rays that make it through the fabric.
Kourosh: Usually, the protection we’re getting from either rating is less than we think. The estimate of SPF or UPF protection is based on the perfect world of lab settings. We’re probably outside for longer periods or in situations where the sun exposure is very intense, like at the beach. So we cannot assume that the conditions in which the testing was done are the same as what we are encountering in the real world. This is why I recommend that people get the maximum levels they can find on a product.
Blalock: My general advice to patients starts with an understanding that we know the negative impacts of the sun on your skin. Ultraviolet light can increase your risk of skin cancer, cause sunburns, and accelerate signs of aging, like wrinkles and spots. Thus, the more informed you are, the more likely you can make educated choices about protecting your skin. I recommend selecting sun protection that you are willing to use consistently. The skin is not protected by sunscreens or UPF clothing that aren’t used.
Blalock: The easiest way for consumers to know is to purchase from a manufacturer that clearly indicates a UPF designation on the label. While certain types of fabrics are better at preventing ultraviolet light from getting to the skin—dark or bright colored clothing, densely woven fabrics, and loose-fitting clothing—there are no reliable ways for the consumer to know this unless they’re labeled as having a confirmed UPF. Companies that place this label on their clothing commonly do laboratory testing to evaluate sun- protective capabilities. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation for consumers.
Blalock: Minimizing UV damage to your skin is advised when sun exposure is likely to be high. You can monitor the UV index through your local weather report, or just be aware that the time with the most exposure is typically from mid-morning around 9 am to late afternoon around 4 pm. And there’s little downside to wearing or using sun protection outside of these times. Thankfully, as UPF clothing has become more mainstream and fashionable, I’m hoping we’ll see more of them worn at all times.
Blalock: The big concern I hear most commonly regarding sunscreen is the need for reapplication. That might be common as people focus on their specific activities, like swimming in the ocean, engaging in athletics, or even going on a long hike. UPF clothing that is comfortable and not too uncomfortable provides the ability to engage in meaningful life activities without worrying about the reapplication requirements of sunscreen.
Kourosh: Another issue that’s becoming increasingly important in the medical community is occupational exposure—so people who work in certain professions where they’re chronically exposed to heat and sunlight. Sunlight and heat are capable of causing certain skin problems, and that puts workers at risk. Some countries, like Germany, now have regulations around what we could call personal protective equipment against UV exposure, which employers must provide.
There are also people who work in environments with snow, open water, white sand, asphalt concrete, or polished metal. These are reflective surfaces that intensify a person’s exposure to UV rays. They should opt for maximum-protection clothing and sunscreen, and seek shade as often as possible.
By Julie Cart, CalMatters
Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves guided his pickup to a stop next to a long line of chain-link fencing. On one side of a gravel road stood row after row of glinting solar panels. The automated mirrors pivot and turn, following the sun in its daily path across the Central Valley sky.
Neves, a big man with a wispy Santa Claus beard, was showing off the county’s latest mega solar power project, still under construction on 1,600 acres. A state-of-the-art facility, it includes powerful batteries to store and deliver power after the sun sets.
This solar plant in King County is one of the scores of new renewable energy puzzle pieces across the state considered vital to California’s transition to cleaner electricity and its pursuit of climate change solutions.
Rural California counties like Kings — with lots of land, sunshine and wind — are the focal point for many of these projects. Now they are at the epicenter of a statewide controversy, too.
Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom pressured lawmakers to approve an energy plan that aimed to expedite and streamline construction of new clean energy facilities. Included is a controversial clause that lets developers bypass local permitting and instead turn to the California Energy Commission for fast-track approval.
The new strategy is an end run around local authorities who sometimes balk at allowing wind and solar facilities in their own backyards.
But if Newsom sees small, rural counties as impediments, Kings County begs to differ. Neves and other local officials have been busily opening up their county to solar projects for more than a dozen years.
Far from scoffing at the idea of renewable energy, some Kings County farmers have embraced solar generation as a profitable problem solver – they get paid for the use of their barren land and can transfer the water to higher-value crops.
Whatever the intent of the new law, Kings County doesn’t think it’s the problem: Most projects in the county’s 40,000-acre solar zone receive approval in less than six months — in some cases in six weeks, county officials say.
“We are not unsophisticated, we know what we are doing,” Neves said. “We planned for this. We can see the future.”
Across the state, local officials were miffed at state officials for being excluded from the discussion as the law was being crafted behind closed doors in late June, then piqued again after it passed the Legislature and was signed by Newsom, meaning they no longer had the final say-so for projects in their counties.
“Local governments are viewed as an impediment, another layer you have to go through to get your project across the finish line. But we permit these facilities all the time. It’s one of the core functions we perform as local government,” said John Kennedy, a lobbyist for Rural County Representatives of California, which advocates for 39 small counties.
“To have that authority taken out of our hands and given to the Energy Commission — that much farther from the people, that much removed from local sensitivity — to have that authority clawed back is really painful,” he said. “We’re in the crosshairs, but we don’t think we are the right target here.”
While a few projects have been stalled by local officials, some energy developers said Newsom’s initiative is a solution in search of a problem.
“What is this proposal solving for?” said Alex Jackson, director of California state affairs for American Clean Power, an association of renewable energy companies.
“In general we work really well with local government. We have invested a lot in those relationships. We prefer to work with them rather than strong-arm them. Overall we don’t see this as unlocking the path to accelerating clean energy.”
In his signing statement attached to the new bill, Newsom said the unprecedented pace of climate change means California must move faster to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The state must begin producing 50% more clean power in the next decade in order to meet its goals.
The new law, Newsom wrote, will “support and expedite the State’s transition to clean energy projects and help maintain energy reliability in the face of climate change.” The fast-track option through the Energy Commission promises developers a decision within 270 days and bypasses local approval.
The new strategy, Newsom wrote, will help keep the lights on when demand peaks from extreme heat and drought, which are putting “unprecedented stress” on the state’s power grid. “Action is needed now,” he said.
Kings County, population 152,486 and home to Hanford and Kettleman City, is well-situated to host renewable energy projects: It’s at the nexus of major north-south and east-west transmission lines and its power plants can readily dispatch electricity to the grid.
Solar projects already built on Kings County’s fallowed farmland are helping power Disneyland, and the latest development, called Slate Solar and Storage, will supply about 900 megawatts of electricity when it’s finished. Some will go to two Bay Area powerhouses: The BART transportation network and Stanford University.
Occupying former watermelon, cotton and corn fields fallowed by drought, developers are building solar farms in Kings County as fast as the world’s crippled supply chain will allow. To expedite the process, local planning officials created solar energy zones that have already been fully vetted and undergone comprehensive environmental analysis.
The county has more than 21,000 acres of solar development, and the land, mostly private property, is leased or sold outright to companies.
Faced with rapidly rising energy costs, school districts and towns are investing in their own small-scale solar projects, Neves said, as have farmers looking for cheap ways to pump water and run equipment.
Whether funneled through the Energy Commission’s new process or approved by local authorities, new renewable energy development will have to come fast.
Although California is well ahead of its interim goals for clean power – about 34% of its generation last year – getting to carbon-free by 2045 will be a challenge of the highest order.
With worsening climate models, electrification of transportation and buildings, the drought-driven crash in hydroelectric power, and the scheduled closure of fossil-fuel power plants, the sobering reality in California is this: At current rates the state will produce 40 gigawatts of clean power annually over the next decade, while preliminary projections show it needs 60 gigawatts a year — at a minimum.
The need, given how rapidly demand is growing, is likely to increase.
“It’s a humongous task,” said Siva Gunda, vice chair of the California Energy Commission. “We’ve had 100 years to build the grid the way it is today and we’re redoing it in the next 20 years. At least we have a plan. We are digging ourselves out of a hole.”
The scope of what’s required means California will need to greatly expand its renewable footprint. With the most obvious and cheapest sites already developed, the way forward will be achieved one sunny, windy acre at a time.
Experts say residents can expect to see energy development in parts of California where solar panels and wind turbines have not yet sprouted. That expansion is likely to challenge the hospitality of rural communities and their elected leaders, especially when they feel excluded from the process.
Such pushback is not unexpected. Research published in June found that when local groups believe they are not consulted on renewable energy projects in their communities, they push back hard. The researchers concluded that the best way to get local buy-in is to listen to local voices.
Although the state law is new and its implications not yet fully understood, Jackson said the early message is “loud and clear from my developers: They want to continue with the local process. The (Energy Commission) route is not that attractive. When you unpack the proposal, it seems to fall short.”
Some local representatives predicted a cascade of lawsuits from local authorities will follow. The law “created an enemy of local government and may unhelpfully exacerbate existing (anti-Sacramento) sentiment,” Jackson said.
A few California counties are firmly against some renewable projects: In 2015 Los Angeles County banned wind turbines in unincorporated areas such as the Antelope Valley and Santa Monica Mountains.
And three years ago, San Bernardino, the state’s largest county, outlawed solar and wind farms on more than a million acres in unincorporated communities where industrialization is deemed incompatible.
Residents feared construction disturbance and dust, and expressed more aesthetic concerns, said David Wert, spokesman for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
“Folks that live in these small communities don’t want to wake up and look at a large solar farm out their window,” he said.
Not-in-my-backyard sentiment led to the rejection of two projects in Humboldt and Lake counties.
With wind turbines, “there’s a visibility issue. ‘If I can see it, I don’t want it.’ It’s not unique to California or any of these rural counties,” said Mark Lawlor, vice president for development at ConnectGEN, a Texas-based renewable energy developer,
The issue also drove the accurate denial of ConnectGEN’s Fountain Wind project in Shasta County, which was proposed to go in on a high ridge adjacent to an existing wind project. Local opposition ran the gamut, from concerns about the views to fears that tall turbines would make it impossible for air tankers to fight fires on surrounding mountains.
Lawlor said project managers made 76 changes to the plan, including reducing the turbines’ height and moving them from the most visible locations. He said the project would enhance fire safety by clearing vegetation around roads and the turbines. It had the potential to power more than 86,000 homes, according to the company.
“The benefits to the county would be overwhelming, millions of dollars infused to the economy, police, jobs and property tax,” Lawlor said. The company donated $3 million to local organizations, a common strategy among renewable developers to gain favor in communities.
“We would hire local labor, we did everything I could come up with. We are literally building Phase 2 of an existing wind project that’s been there operating safely for 10 years,” he said.
Still, the development ran into fierce opposition, including from environmental groups. The wind farm would have been in the district of Shasta County Supervisor Mary Rickert, who called it “unsightly” and said it was foolish for the developer to try to site its turbines on the ridge. “I don’t know what they were thinking,” she said.
After denying the permit, the supervisors considered imposing a moratorium on wind energy systems in some parts of the county. The board sent the proposal back to the planning commission “to put more meat on its bones,” Rickert said. She said if the moratorium proposal returns to the board, it will be passed.
Rickert said the pushback in the region has nothing to do with opposition to renewable energy. And as for doing its part to help the state achieve its clean-energy goals, she noted the county’s contribution to hydroelectric power: “We’ve got Shasta Dam.”
Nancy Rader, executive director of the California Wind Energy Association, said she understands the concerns of local groups but said they need to be balanced against the imperative to build clean-energy projects.
“There’s a mismatch between statewide goals and leaving those decisions to local communities,” she said. “Some people are being left behind. Disadvantaged communities are suffering greatly from fossil fuel impacts, and then we have other people who can’t handle a wind turbine in their viewshed. We have to keep the relative impacts in mind.”
The idea that opposition to renewables follows a political, red-blue divide doesn’t play out across the state. Conservative Kern and Riverside counties are “built-out” Rader said. Kern, for a century the state’s provider of fossil fuels, has extensive renewable energy projects.
What Kern County officials and others balk at, though, is a statewide law that exempts solar projects from property taxes, denying local governments operational cash. Neves, from Kings County, estimates the solar tax break costs his region some $3 million a year. The law is set to sunset in 2025 but a similar measure is making its way through the Legislature. (Wind projects are not offered similar tax breaks.)
But rather than providing an advantage for solar projects, the tax exemption establishes a disincentive for local jurisdictions to approve the projects, said
Catherine Freeman, legislative staffer for the California State Association of Counties. “Those property taxes pay for basic county government,” she said.
Gunda of the Energy Commission said the state established a task force last year to better understand the broad obstacles to ramping up renewable projects. Its work is still underway but Gunda said there have been significant construction delays from COVID-19 and supply chain breakdowns.
However the new law plays out, the urgency is obvious, said Shannon Eddy, executive director of the Large Scale Solar Association. She said county and state officials and energy developers should build a statewide model to help smooth the process of siting new energy plants.
“It’s neither fair nor correct to point to the counties and say therein lies the problem,” she said. “Everyone needs to help. Everyone needs to come together to make this happen. We’re building the airplane as it’s running down the runway.”
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Sun Life also establishes long-term strategic partnership with UK's largest long-term savings and retirement business
TORONTO and LONDON, Aug. 4, 2022 /CNW/ - Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) announced today it has entered into an agreement to sell SLF of Canada UK Limited ("Sun Life UK") to Phoenix Group Holdings plc ("Phoenix Group") (LSE: PHNX). Headquartered in London, Phoenix Group is the UK's largest long-term savings and retirement business with more than 13 million customers and £310 billion of assets under administration.
Sun Life UK manages life and pension policies and annuity blocks for UK Clients. The company is closed to new sales and has been operating as a run-off business in the life and pension policies segment since 2001.
Sun Life will sell Sun Life UK to Phoenix Group for a closing price of £248 million (approximately C$385 million) and will retain its economic interest in UK's payout annuities business. This transaction will also provide further growth opportunities for Sun Life's asset management businesses.
As part of the sale, Sun Life will form a long-term partnership to become a strategic asset management partner to Phoenix Group. Sun Life's asset management companies, MFS and SLC Management, will continue to manage approximately C$9 billion of Sun Life UK's general account upon the close of the sale.
Phoenix Group has set a goal to invest approximately US$25 billion in North American public and private fixed income and alternative investments over the next five years. MFS and SLC Management will be material partners to Phoenix Group in achieving this goal.
"We're excited to partner with Phoenix Group. A great deal of consideration was taken to find the right buyer and partner for our UK business. Phoenix Group is a purpose-led company with similar values to Sun Life and a strong focus on delivering outcomes for their customers. We're also pleased about our asset management partnership, which will bring the strength of MFS and SLC Management to Phoenix Group customers," said Kevin Strain, President and CEO of Sun Life. "Thank you to our UK team for all of their efforts in delivering solid results year-after-year in our life, pension and annuities businesses. We believe Phoenix Group will be a great organization for our UK employees and Clients."
"This acquisition is highly attractive for Phoenix Group. As the UK's largest long-term savings and retirement business with a strong track record of UK closed book integrations, we look forward to offering a safe home for Sun Life UK Clients over the long term and enabling them to benefit from our broad range of Standard Life products in our Open division," said Andy Briggs, Phoenix Group, CEO. "I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the colleagues who will join us from Sun Life UK. We are also pleased to enter into a new, long-term strategic asset management partnership with MFS and SLC Management, Sun Life's Asset Management businesses. This partnership will complement our existing relationships and further enhance our liquid and illiquid credit capabilities in North America by building on their strong presence in the region."
Since 2016, Phoenix Group has successfully completed four acquisitions totaling approximately £7.5 billion. This has supported increasing their assets under administration by more than 300% over the past five years through organic and inorganic growth.
Strain added, "The sale of the Sun Life UK business is consistent with our strategy to grow fee-based and capital light businesses. It also frees up capital to continue on our journey of creating long-term value for our shareholders. This transaction also aligns with our objective to continue building our Sun Life asset management pillar by creating an attractive long-term partnership with the UK's leading long-term savings and retirement business."
This transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2023, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
Fenchurch Advisory Partners acted as a financial advisor to Sun Life for this transaction and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP served as legal counsel.
Slides related to this announcement are available at www.sunlife.com.
About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing asset management, wealth, insurance and health solutions to individual and institutional Clients. Sun Life 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, 2022, Sun Life had total assets under management of C$1.26 trillion. 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.
About Phoenix Group
Phoenix Group is the UK's largest long-term savings and retirement business. With £0.3 trillion of assets under administration, we offer our c.13 million customers a broad range of products across our market-leading pensions, savings and life insurance brands which include Standard Life and Sun Life. We support people throughout their savings cycle, and our vision is to help even more people on their journey to and through retirement, providing the right support at the right time.
A member of the FTSE 100, we're a sustainably growing business united by a common purpose – to help people secure a life of possibilities. This drives everything we do and means taking responsible and sustainable investment decisions and using our presence and voice to drive forward change for the better for our customers, our colleagues, and our wider community.
We have been recognised as a leading employer for many years. We are accredited as a Living Wage Employer and as a Carer Positive Exemplary Employer for offering the best support to colleagues who are carers.
Linkedin: PhoenixGroup-UK Twitter: @PhoenixGroupUK
From time to time, Sun Life makes written or oral forward-looking statements within the meaning of certain securities laws, including the "safe harbour" provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements contained in this release include, without limitation, statements (i) relating to our strategies, (ii) relating to our anticipated divestiture of Sun Life UK, (iii) relating to our growth initiatives and other business objectives, (iv) relating to the expected timing of the closing of the transaction, (v) relating to the expected impact of the transaction on our business and financial results, (vi) that are predictive in nature or that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, and (vii) that include words such as "intends", "expect", "will", and similar expressions.
These statements represent our current expectations, estimates, and projections regarding future events and are not historical facts, and remain subject to change, particularly in light of the ongoing and developing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy and its uncertain impact on our business. Forward-looking statements are not a ensure of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. The forward-looking statements in this news release do not reflect the potential impact of any non-recurring or other special items or of any dispositions, mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations or other transactions that may be announced or that may occur after the date of this news release. If any non-recurring or other special item or any transaction should occur, the financial impact could be complex and the effect on our operations or results would depend on the facts particular to such item and we cannot describe the expected impact in a meaningful way or in the same way we could present known risks affecting our business.
Forward-looking statements are presented for the purpose of assisting investors and others in understanding our expected financial position and results of operations as at the date of this news release, as well as our objectives for the transaction, strategic priorities and business outlook following the transaction, and in obtaining a better understanding of our anticipated operating environment following the transaction. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements may not be appropriate for other purposes and undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements.
The following risk factors are related to our intention to divest Sun Life UK that could have a material adverse effect on our forward-looking statements: (i) the ability of the parties to complete the transaction; (ii) failure of the parties to obtain necessary consents and approvals or to otherwise satisfy the conditions to the completion of the transaction in a timely manner, or at all; (iii) our ability to realize the financial and strategic benefits of the transaction; and (iv) the impact of the announcement of the transaction and the dedication of our resources to completing the transaction. These risks all could have an impact on our business relationships (including with future and prospective employees, Clients, distributors and partners) and could have a material adverse effect on our current and future operations, financial conditions and prospects. Other important risk factors that could cause our genuine results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements in this presentation are set out in our MD&A for the period ended June 30, 2022 and in SLF Inc.'s other annual and interim regulatory filings filed with Canadian securities regulators or furnished to U.S. securities regulators, which are available for review at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov, respectively.
The Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.
Sun Life Media Relations Contact:
Sun Life Investor Relations Contact:
Vice-President, Head of Investor
Relations & Capital Markets
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SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.
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LaPLACE, La. (AP) — Enthusiastic church volunteer Sonia St. Cyr lost something she treasures during the blackout caused by Hurricane Ida — her independence, afforded her by the electric wheelchair she expertly maneuvers over bumpy city sidewalks.
“After Ida I was housebound,” said St. Cyr, who has multiple sclerosis. She did her best to conserve power on her wheelchair, going only to the end of her block or sitting on her porch after the storm made landfall last August 29.
It took 10 more days before all of the habitable homes in New Orleans had electricity again. With the lights out and nothing open in her Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans, “It was not fun.”
A project launching in southeast Louisiana aims to help people like St. Cyr who are especially vulnerable during extended power outages as the warming climate produces more extreme weather including bigger and wetter hurricanes.
“Community Lighthouses,” outfitted with roof solar panels and a battery pack to store energy, can serve as electricity hubs after a disaster, enabling neighbors to recharge batteries, power up phones or store temperature-sensitive medications.
They’re being sponsored by Together New Orleans, a non-partisan network of churches and groups that tries to fix community problems.
Organizer Broderick Bagert said they felt “impotent and powerless” as the city struggled to deliver basics like collecting garbage in Ida’s aftermath. They realized that local governments couldn’t handle everything alone.
“You can spend a lot of time saying… ‘Why don’t they?'” said Bagert. “But you start to realize the real question is ‘Why don’t we?'”
More than just energy hardware, each lighthouse needs a team of volunteers to study their areas, learn who has health problems and who needs medication refrigerated or depends on electric wheelchairs for mobility. While people with means can evacuate ahead of a hurricane, about one in four people live in poverty in New Orleans, and not everyone can afford to flee. Hurricanes are also forming more quickly due to climate change, making it more likely that people can find themselves stuck in a disaster zone.
Each lighthouse should be able to connect with all of its neighborhood’s vulnerable people within 24 hours of an outage, Bagert said.
“This is not all about batteries and and solar panels. There are some other batteries and solar panels made by the hand of God. And that is called the human personality,” the Rev. JC Richardson, pastor of Cornerstone United Methodist Church, said during an event announcing one of the locations.
The pilot phase anticipates 24 sites — 16 in New Orleans and eight elsewhere in Louisiana. They’ve raised nearly $11 million of the anticipated $13.8 million cost with help from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the city, federal funding and other donations.
Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, said systems that can operate independent of the power grid — often referred to as microgrids — are becoming more popular as businesses and communities address climate change by trying to reduce their carbon footprint or secure backup electricity.
“We’re expecting more extreme weather. We’re expecting more stress on the grid,” he said. It’s particularly important to have such hubs in places with high levels of chronic disease, where outages can take an outsized toll, he said: Keeping them powered up could mean fewer people in ambulances.
An Associated Press analysis found that weather-related outages doubled over the last two decades. Louisiana is one of three states experiencing a 50% increase in outage duration.
Pastor Neil Bernard anticipates helping many more people at his New Wine Christian Fellowship in the New Orleans suburb of LaPlace. The church is a designated shelter of last resort in St. John the Baptist Parish, which was hard-hit during Ida.
The roar of generators is a common sound after a hurricane, and the parish government provided one to the church, but they are noisy, carbon monoxide fumes are dangerous and fuel can be scarce when storm damage impedes transportation.
Keeping New Wine’s generator fueled and maintained was a challenge after Ida. Now the church will benefit year-round: Once the lighthouse is installed, Bernard anticipates saving $3,000 a month in energy bills.
Hurricanes aren’t the only extreme weather triggering interest in microgrids. Experts say there’s growing interest in California, where utility companies sometimes preemptively de-energize power lines when conditions are ripe for wildfires so that their equipment doesn’t spark a fire.
Ice and wind storms as well as tropical weather can cause blackouts in places like Baltimore, which launched a similar project in 2015. The city has four locations fully outfitted with solar power and battery backup systems, and aims to have 30 in three years, the city’s climate and resilience planner, Aubrey Germ, said in an email.
“A number of the systems have performed well during power outages, enabling the Hubs to provide continuity of essential services such as cell phone charging, cooling, and information to residents in need of support,” Germ wrote.
CrescentCare lost $250,000 in medicines and vaccines in Ida’s aftermath. The New Orleans-based health care center had two generators when Hurricane Ida hit, but one failed and they couldn’t get enough fuel to run the other, said CEO Noel Twilbeck.
Now, the center will serve as one of the first “Lighthouses” in the area.
The solar panels are designed to withstand 160-mph winds, said Pierre Moses, the president of 127 Energy, which finances and develops renewable energy projects. He’s also a technical consultant to the Community Lighthouse effort.
Direct Relief, one of the donors financing the lighthouse project, didn’t aim to be an energy provider — it began funding microgrids after being asked repeatedly to pay for generators and fuel after hurricanes.
The humanitarian aid group’s president and CEO, Thomas Tighe, sees the value now that medical records are computerized and more people need energy-dependent devices at home such as dialysis machines and oxygen.
“You’ve set things up presuming there will always be power and that presumption is no longer valid in a lot of places,” he said.
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