Products & Services for Financial Confidence

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CHAPTER 1

Products and Services for Financial Confidence

12 min read June 17, 2020

Global products and services

In 2019, we expanded our products and services, based on local customer needs and expectations, as well as continuing to partner with nonprofits on helping communities with financial planning. Here are some highlights:

PlanSmart® Financial Wellness elevates financial engagement

Only 29% of Americans are considered “financially healthy,” while many would have trouble meeting a large emergency expense, according to a survey conducted by the Financial Health Network. That’s why MetLife’s U.S. financial wellness programs are helping employees make smarter and more confident choices that improve their financial health today and tomorrow.

With growing employee stress around personal finance and preparedness, improving employees’ financial health has become a business imperative for employers. To help more employers close this gap, in 2018 MetLife launched PlanSmart Financial Wellness, which continued to gain traction among employers and employees in 2019. The program is offered through the employer and provides financial tools to empower employees to take control of their short- and long-term financial goals as well as managing unexpected expenses.

The solution features onsite workshops in the workplace, as well as online goal-orientated experience with self-service financial education, personalized planning tools and resources, and access to credentialed financial planners by telephone or online chat. We began offering PlanSmart Financial Wellness to our employees in 2020 as well, because MetLife sees financial wellness as a game-changing benefit that every employer should consider providing to their employees.

Additionally, in 2019, we created a new U.S. unit called Financial Wellness and Engagement, responsible for powering solutions over the long-term that bring financial wellness and education to individuals. This new unit will ensure that we continue to address and design solutions for real marketplace needs around financial health and wellness.

Our Purpose

New acquisitions and expanded benefits

In 2019, we acquired PetFirst Healthcare, a fast-growing pet health insurance administrator. Founded in 2004, PetFirst covers more than 40,000 pets and has a built-in focus on community support of local humane societies and shelters. With PetFirst’s acquisition, MetLife now offers a new benefit that continues to grow in popularity. We also acquired Bequest, Inc. (“Willing”), a digital estate planning service, which reinforces our commitment to providing simple and easy-to-use benefits that respond to consumer needs. The majority of Americans (70%) do not have a will, resulting in confusion for families and loved ones during an already stressful and emotional time.1 Willing makes it easy to create a quality estate plan in as little as 15 minutes from anywhere. Since its inception in 2015, Willing has helped more than half a million families create important legal documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.

We also expanded our benefits offerings in the U.S. to include Health Savings & Spending Accounts. These products provide employees tax-advantaged benefit account solutions that will help to maximize existing healthcare and voluntary benefits offerings. By offering employers an integrated experience and consolidated account management across all of MetLife’s benefits, we can better help them save time, reduce complexity, and provide their employees with important tools to help them realize their financial goals.

MetLife Japan simplifies product strategy and continues to add value-added services

In Japan, rising life expectancy is driving up healthcare costs, and a passive approach to financial planning has cut into retirement savings. In keeping with the market demand for solutions that address the rising concerns related to health and wealth in an aging society, MetLife Japan expanded its value-added services in 2019 to provide comprehensive health support for prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare needs, while simplifying the way customers access these services. Additionally, the company reorganized itself to better address customer needs with a simplified strategy and structure.

Our Purpose

360Health: Improving healthspans in China and Korea

360Health is a combination of insurance and health services designed to directly address customer concerns about serious illnesses and offers medically endorsed, end- to-end solutions to help people increase their healthspan, or the number of healthy years in their overall lifespan.

Customers receive health education; access to the latest prevention and diagnostic tools and local specialists; and the support they need throughout their health journey. In 2019, we continued rolling out 360Health to customers in China and Korea. Through the 360Health Care Pathway, MetLife offers various value-added services free of charge to our customers, including 37 different health-focused services in Korea and 17 in China.

In Korea, some of our most popular services include fast tracks medical appointments, a healthcare service inquiry program, and medical consultation with experts via phone. In China, the most popular services include a tele-doctor service and online health assessment.

Common Cents Lab workshop at Duke University.

Improving financial decision-making with Common Cents Lab

Research has shown that human behavior — even that which seems irrational — is often quite predictable. Understanding human behavior can inform better product development to help people plan for the future, manage their daily financial lives, and improve their financial health.

In 2017, MetLife Foundation supported the creation of Common Cents Lab (CCL), a financial decision-making lab at Duke University to more deeply understand and leverage behavioral science to design better financial products and services for low- and moderate-income people that will support healthy financial choices.

Common Cents Lab uses behavioral science to help people improve their financial decision-making by focusing on what motivates their decisions and by designing and tweaking financial products/services to meet those needs.

In the first three years, Common Cents Lab partnered with 67 organizations and worked on 108 product experiments that reached more than 1.4 million clients.

Targeted products for those who need them most

Eliminating barriers to access

In many of our markets, we distribute insurance through partnerships with banks, retailers, mobile phone operators, and affinity groups to overcome barriers to access. We also develop partnerships with microfinance institutions, which provide affordable financial products and services to low-income people in rural areas. The simplified administration, issuance, and claim-settlement processes that we have developed for these partnerships help streamline the process in developing markets and support our efforts to expand financial inclusion. For example:

In Mexico, we offer a flexible life insurance product called Met99 designed to make financial planning more accessible in new markets. Customers can choose the protection they need from more than 20 product features, including a savings component based on their needs and what they can afford in order to receive customized support from local Promotorías.

In Colombia, MetLife, in partnership with local financial institution Serfinaza and specialized agents, provides Life Insurance and Accident & Health Insurance products to customers who would otherwise have no access to insurance products.

In Chile, our pension fund administrator company ProVida provides our pension platform and advice on how to plan a financially healthy retirement to many low- and moderate-income segments of the Chilean population. Additionally, it provides financial inclusion programs especially aimed at women, providing them with tools to contribute to their pensions and grow at work.

In Brazil, through an arrangement with the Itaú Unibanco bank, we offer dental coverage to millions of low- and moderate-income consumers.

In Italy, we sell products with low fees and zero additional cost for those who want to pay for insurance premiums in monthly installments. Our entry fee allows low- and moderate-income consumers to access protection insurance.

In Nepal, we help economically disadvantaged customers who may have limited access to financial products with our Rural Credit Life product, which provides insurance on microloans through microfinance institutions.

In EMEA, many of our products cater to low- and moderate-income families. These products ensure our customers are protected against death, sickness, or disability. For example, Women’s Protect is a product specifically designed for women and covers cancer treatments along with offering discounts on a variety of health and wellness benefits.

Targeted Projects Targeted Projects letter interactive map Targeted Projects interactive map

Our Purpose

Creating access and opportunities for women

Broadening access to affordable products and services and offering insurance and services to low- and moderate- income and disadvantaged populations is a key priority for us as we work to build a better, more confident future for everyone. We are also committed to understanding and meeting the needs of women customers, who are fast becoming key household earners in markets where, traditionally, men have held these roles. As women continue to make inroads professionally, we identified a gap in the market for products designed specifically for their financial safety and health.

LifeCare Beautiful is offered in Nepal and has been specially designed for women, providing coverage for loss of life and female-centric diseases, namely breast and cervical cancer, the two most common cancers affecting women in Nepal.

Eve Female Care Health is a critical-care product offered in Lebanon designed for women diagnosed with cancer and pays them a lump sum upon diagnosis to help cover medical costs and other expenses.

Lady Care, offered in Greece, is a preventive healthcare program focused on gynecological cancer. It provides annual preventive control, monthly support, a one-time payment for diagnosis, and an aesthetic surgery rehabilitation benefit.

Women’s Protect is a product specifically designed for women in EMEA and covers female cancers. It also helps women stay happy and healthy by offering exclusive discounts on a variety of health and wellness benefits. Women who buy this product will receive 15% to 50% off dental, optical, and nutritional services, as well as discounts on gyms and spa facilities. Many of our products in EMEA cater to low- and moderate-income families. These products ensure our customers are protected against death, sickness, or disability in Cyprus, Greece, our Gulf markets, Lebanon, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Life for Lucy is a critical illness product offered in Russia and Ukraine, exclusively for women.

We offer numerous products and riders specifically for female customers in Korea and Japan, covering breast cancer, female-specific diseases, and hospitalization. We were also the first insurance company in Nepal to introduce a special insurance package for women and the only company with more women insured than men (56%), according to externally published data.

Supporting financial health around the world

MetLife Foundation supports programs focused on improving the financial health of low- and moderate- income populations. Thought leadership, research, and experimentation allow us to understand what works (and what doesn’t), and our client-focused partnerships enable us to grow and scale solutions with proven impact.

  • In Korea, more than 400 industry, nonprofit, government, and academic leaders attended the inaugural MetLife Financial Health Forum to identify solutions to improve financial health in the country. Speakers included the Foundation’s partners: the Financial Health Network and Common Cents Lab from the U.S., as well as Seoul National University and leading Korean financial technology companies.
  • In Chile and Mexico, MetLife Foundation partnered with the nonprofit Accion to bring their expertise in financial product development and human-centered design to cooperatives and fintechs focused on both personal financial health planning and small business growth. In these two countries, the Foundation also partnered with Laboratoria to train young women for technology jobs, placing about 80% of them with local companies — tripling their former salaries. To ensure that they are best able to manage and plan their finances, Laboratoria also provides coaching and just-in-time financial information as the women move along the pathway to better financial health.
  • In Mexico, MetLife Foundation partnered with BFA Global to create FinnSalud, a program developing innovations for Financial Health. The project is working with a range of actors, including cooperatives, academics, and policymakers to measure financial health and ensure that products and services are available to help people manage their day-to-day expenses, build resilience to financial shocks, and save and plan for both the short and long term.
  • In the U.S., in addition to programs reaching low- and moderate-income clients directly, MetLife Foundation also sponsors research to provide the financial services sector with insights on impactful programs. In 2019, they supported Aspen’s Financial Security Program to work with many of our nonprofit partners to better understand how people can build a savings cushion and savings habit to improve their short-term financial stability. They also supported the U.S. Financial Health Pulse 2019 Trends Report, conducted by Financial Health Network, which found more than two-thirds of Americans to be missing key elements of financial health.
MetLife Foundation partner, Trickle Up, during workshop in Mexico.

Empowering women to build confident futures: The Trickle Up effect

Equipping women with the right skills, financial assistance, and social support can have a large-scale positive impact on societies. Trickle Up, a global nonprofit, works with some of the most financially vulnerable people in the world, particularly women, to help advance their economic and social well-being. With MetLife Foundation’s support, Trickle Up delivers the Graduation Approach, a proven methodology to get people out of extreme poverty. Participants receive seed capital to start a microbusiness, learn financial and business management skills, and come together in groups to help each other access government benefits and banking services such as savings and credit.

Building financial health among garment factory workers in Bangladesh

We live in a world today where financial health is a persistent challenge for low- and moderate-income communities — a world where 1.7 billion adults don’t have a bank account and where, even in the U.S., many would have trouble meeting a large emergency expense. In Bangladesh, approximately 80% of garment workers are women, the majority of whom receive their salaries in cash, have low levels of financial literacy, and lack access to formal banking services. The combination can make it difficult for workers to protect their income and save for the future.

Since 2018, MetLife Foundation and Swisscontact have been partnering with Sarathi, a financial inclusion program that works with commercial banks and garment factories to bring workers into the formal banking system. The program enables garment factory owners to pay their workers digitally, allowing workers to receive their pay more securely while reducing their transaction costs. In collaboration with local banks, Sarathi is also developing products that help workers receive their salaries straight in their bank accounts, save securely for their short- and long-term goals, gain access to credit products, and meet other needs.

Through this initiative, several partnerships have been established including those with commercial banks who have opened banking outlets and installed ATM machines in and around garment factories so that workers can make transactions in a secure and convenient manner. With hands-on financial literacy sessions, Sarathi works to raise awareness of how banking services can help workers take control of their incomes and improve their financial health.

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1 Source: CARAVAN survey conducted by ENGINE on behalf of MetLife Legal Plans, January 2020.