Meet the Team – Product Development

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and who better to feature than Product Development Specialist (and life insurance product guru) Elizabeth Cherian. Below, Elizabeth gives us insights into her department, a project she’s focused on, and how she starts each day (hint: it involves a lot of coffee!).

Q: How do you prefer to start your day?

A: I drink a lot of boiling hot, strong coffee (real coffee, not decaf) and then go over my “must complete items” for the day.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.

A: I am working on the Special Open Enrollment (SOE) for Group Universal Life insurance. During SOE, applicants are not required to undergo Medical Underwriting to get coverage if they meet eligibility criteria/requirements. I planned to have the SOE take place in September to coincide with Life Insurance Awareness Month.

One of my goals is to automate the SOE process and make it more efficient for everyone. This is the first implementation of an online-only SOE for GUL. I received feedback from participants stating they have experienced a one-week turnaround time compared to the 45 days with the paper applications.

There are also a record number of Plans participating in the SOE compared to previous years. I worked with Blue Plans, Mercer, our Underwriting and Marketing departments to plan all the processes needed for the SOE (programming of SOE rules in the Mercer system, working with the reinsurer to confirm criteria, creating and distributing training & communication plans).

My main goal is to increase participation in the GUL program and establish a strong relationship with the Human Resources & Benefits areas of Blue Plans. I would like to see this program pave the way for all our supplement products to be promoted to Plan employees.

Q: Describe your department in three words.

A: Engaging, solution-focused.

Q: What was your first job?

A: During summer vacations in High School, I worked as a Data Entry Representative at a local company.

Q: What does Life Insurance Awareness Month represent for you?

A: It is a time to focus attention on determining if one’s financial affairs are in order should the unthinkable happen. Most people take tomorrow for granted. In today’s uncertain environment, one of best things a person can do is to ensure the financial wellbeing of loved ones by purchasing enough life insurance to take care of present and future expenses. Some people put off buying life insurance because they don’t want to think about their mortality. Life Insurance Awareness Month highlights the importance of life insurance by promoting education and an open discussion.