Responding to COVID-19 with New & Expanded Services




2 min read Jun 22, 2021

In 2020, we focused our efforts on how to best evolve our existing products and services and develop new ones to address the impact of COVID-19 on customers worldwide. Here are some of the highlights:

U.S.: New Resources Address Mounting Anxieties

In our 2020 open enrollment survey, we saw a significant shift in employee perspectives on the importance of annual benefits. Primarily, we found that more than half of those we surveyed were changing their approach to benefits due to the pandemic.

Given the critical role of benefits, and how employers can help people make better-informed decisions, especially heightened by the pandemic, we launched two websites. The first one included access to guidance on COVID-19-related financial issues, including cash flow issues, IRS taxpayer relief, government legislation, market volatility, and asset allocation. The second website included financial wellness information with lots of tips and advice for people struggling in their financial lives, especially during the pandemic. For customers with fewer than 500 employees, we launched a dedicated COVID-19 hotline operated by LifeWorks. Through the hotline, small business owners and their employees had free access to services such as immediate COVID-19-related emotional support, research, and referrals, along with guidance and resources to cope with COVID-19. MetLife Legal Plans also expanded access to its network of attorneys for small business customers, offering services such as free document review and consultation through July 2020 to all employees of employers who offered MetLife Legal Plans, regardless of whether the employee had previously enrolled in the benefit. Small business owners and their employees also had access to credentialed financial planners at no cost to them for 90 days.

SaverLife, a non-profit fintech organization that helps low-income working families achieve prosperity through savings, distributed $425,000 in cash grants from MetLife Foundation to their members, who used the funds to pay rent, bills, and save.

Clients of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a MetLife Foundation partner.

U.S.: Medically Trained MetLife Employees Respond to COVID-19

All licensed healthcare workers employed by MetLife were provided with the opportunity to volunteer at hospitals and other healthcare facilities to join the fight against COVID-19 with full pay, in two-week rotations. While clinical volunteers were placed in hospitals, COVID-19 testing centers, blood banks, assisted living facilities, and urgent care facilities, mental health professionals were matched with local community mental health and support groups. In total, 17 professionals volunteered in 2020, contributing a total of 1,360 hours in Q2 2020. This program will continue throughout 2021.

Asia Pacific: Adapting to Digital

Markets like Bangladesh also expanded digital servicing by teaming up with payments applications like bKash and Nagad to enable customers to make mobile payments. In addition, MetLife Nepal launched a customer service application and MetLife India utilizes an artificial intelligence customer service tool. Our businesses in Japan, Korea, and China also offer innovative digital solutions for customers.

Latin America: Transition to Digital

In Mexico, we implemented a new process that allowed customers to submit documents by email and receive funds through wire transfer without leaving their home or needing to print documents, where possible. The shift to digital included reviewing customer contracts to incorporate the pandemic into existing policies and looking at other ways to protect our customers in the event of sickness, job loss, etc. In Chile and Mexico, we also incorporated new regulations into our policies that allowed people to withdraw funds to pay for COVID-19-related hospital and medical expenses. This shift to digital services represents a critical pivot in how MetLife is working to improve customer experiences now and in the future. With digital access, filing claims becomes faster and more efficient, reducing the need for many to travel long distances and risk infection of COVID-19 to get to a service center.

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