Dear Symetra Partner:
As another year comes to a close, I want to thank you for your ongoing partnership and business with us. The continued uncertainty surrounding health care reform has challenged all of us this year, and your support is a testament to your trust in Symetra.
This was a significant year for our stop loss line, which broke a company sales record. Managing this business is not without its challenges, though. Medical breakthroughs and technological advances have created unprecedented opportunities for patients, but at increased costs for employers and carriers. As a result, loss ratios have gone up and we’ve had to adjust our prices to stay competitive. But this isn’t new territory for us. We’ve seen similar trends throughout our 40+ years in stop loss, and we will continue to adapt and influence the market as an industry leader.
Rising costs have also affected employees, who are being asked to foot a bigger share of their health care bill. Our supplemental medical products are designed to help cover out-of-pocket costs associated with high-deductible health plans. These products include group critical illness and accident insurance, which can be offered as standalone products or as part of GapAssist (a package with hospital indemnity benefits). High-deductible health plans and HSAs are the new norm in the group benefits space, so having products that complement these coverages will be a continued focus for us in 2018.
2017 was also a record year for group life and disability sales. We are proud of the strong reputation we’ve built in this business and the level of service we provide. Recently we asked our customers how we’re doing and the results were great—we received an overall satisfaction rating of 4.6 out of 5 on our implementation process.
Our high-touch approach to implementation and account management served us well as we finished transitioning the large group cases from AIG. That agreement not only helped grow our group life, disability and absence management block, it also gave us an opportunity to develop partnerships with many of you as new Symetra producers.
A commitment to delivering exceptional service and products extends to all of our group business as it’s also a hallmark of our stop loss and Select Benefits suite. Having this consistent level of service across our entire division is critical, especially as more and more policyholders place multiple lines of business with us.
And while we’re thankful for the positive response from our customers, we won’t rest on our laurels. We will continue to reach for excellence in every area of our business in 2018 and beyond.
In 2017 we marked our second year of ownership by Sumitomo Life Insurance Company. We have fostered strong working relationships with our new owners, and they remain committed to Symetra and the U.S. marketplace.
As you may have heard, Symetra CFO Margaret Meister will succeed Tom Marra as CEO on Feb. 1, 2018. Tom will remain with the company as executive chairman. Margaret has worked at Symetra for nearly 30 years, and she brings a depth of knowledge of the company and its operations that will serve us well. I know she will challenge us to rise to even greater levels of performance as a company, and I am excited about Symetra’s next chapter under her leadership.
Finally, I want to thank our employees. It takes hard work and dedication to deliver outstanding service and that is something they are committed to providing each and every day. Our success would not be possible without their talents and the steps they take to ensure every interaction you and your clients have with us is a great one.
On behalf of all of us at Symetra, I wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year. We look forward to continuing to meet your group insurance needs in 2018.
Executive Vice President, Benefits Division
Symetra Life Insurance Company