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3. May07


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3. May07

  1. 1. The StandardMay 2007A magazine for employees Moving Up In The Company Five long-time employees discuss how to do it
  2. 2. They’re picture-perfect examples of how to move up in the company. Clockwise from left, Mickey Meyer, Keith Feist, Dawn McMaster, Gregg Harrod and Jody Pfeifer pose with their employee photos from yesteryear. The Standard May 2007 Contents The Standard will lead the financial services industry in integrity, expertise and customer service. Our Vision Editor Mark Goldstein Senior Designer Steve Ferrero Writers Amy Bennett Kathy Born Teri Cettina Jennifer Floyd Tami Matthews Michael Tevlin Photographers Eric Coleman Corin Dupree Director of Creative Services Will Carter The Standard is produced by Standard Insurance Company’s Corporate Communications Department, 1100 SW Sixth Ave., P7A, Portland, OR 97204. Please send story ideas, comments or suggestions to or call 971.321.6039. Recycle! When you’ve finished reading this magazine, please place it in a newspaper recycling container. The Standard is printed on recycled paper with soy ink. To help people achieve financial security so they can confidently pursue their dreams. Our Purpose Our nurse case managers translate medical information, enabling claim analysts to make more informed decisions. Jim Titus discusses StanCorp Investment Advisers’ new educational seminars. 9 Guest Column 10 In-House Experts May 2007 An eight-person team strives to combine our companies into one that’s stronger than either would be on its own. 6 Invesmart Integration What’s happening with the California Teachers Association preparations? CTA Update8 Employees who’ve advanced at The Standard offer tips on how you too can succeed. Promoting from Within4 Brand in Action16 Planning for the unexpected protects our customers if a crisis hits. 12 Business Continuity Despite the challenges of doing business in the Empire State, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York posted its best year ever in 2006. New York14 On the cover
  3. 3. The Standard May 2007 E arning customer loyalty: These three words sound simple, but they evoke special power that each of us possesses. Earning customer loyalty requires actions. These actions may seem inconsequential to the person who is doing them, but the person on the receiving end would probably make a very different assessment. The receiver could have high expectations, could be in dire need of specific actions on our part, could have any reason to make a request of us. Each time we take the actions needed to exceed the needs of our customers, we deepen their loyalty. I’d like to share a story about a recent experience. I was visiting one of our very large and prestigious customers in New York. As I was introducing myself to the meeting participants, I commented that I work with Lianne Brankner, a senior disability benefits analyst in our White Plains, N.Y., office. One of the customer’s senior members commented, “Lianne is the reason we stay with The Standard.” Lianne had earned this customer’s loyalty through her professional, friendly and customer-focused actions. It’s no secret that The Standard has many competitors. Some have great name recognition, some advertise on TV, some have fancy marketing materials, but few can boast that they have a customer retention rate of approximately 90 percent like The Standard does. In fact, I doubt that many insurance companies can claim to have their first group insurance customer still on the books like we do. Our organization is fortunate to have many “Liannes,” but we can’t rest on our reputation. The marketplace is so dynamic and so competitive that any deterioration we cause to our brand by inaction will have painful consequences. You might be thinking that your job doesn’t require interaction with customers, but all of us have customers; some just happen to be internal customers. Customer loyalty extends to our co-workers and hinges on the speed, efficiency, attitude and comprehensiveness with which we deliver on the things that matter to them. Think about your responses to these questions: • How quickly do I respond to phone calls and e-mails? • Do I exhibit a ‘can-do’ attitude? Am I sincere? • How frequently do I deliver my tasks/projects ahead of schedule? • Do I offer innovative ideas (and keep on offering more ideas even if they are not all approved or acted upon immediately)? • Do I anticipate my customers’ needs and act upon them? • Are my customers (pleasantly) surprised with my actions? Every work activity in which we engage helps build customer loyalty. To deliver on our corporate breakaway goals, we must be able to provide our prospective external customers with reasons to select us over our competitors. Earning customer loyalty also means taking the actions necessary to exceed the expectations of our internal customers. That kind of internal service and cooperation can’t help but affect the external customer at some point, and it seems like one ideal way we can all help The Standard rise to the top. S President’s View For this month’s President’s View, Eric Parsons invited Stan Kulesa, assistant vice president of benefits for The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York, to share his perspective on customer service Stan Kulesa, assistant vice president of benefits The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York
  4. 4. The Standard May 2007 H ow do you get promoted at The Standard? We asked five employees this question, and their answers fell into three broad categories: job performance, job expansion and personal development. Keith Feist, second vice president, Retirement Plans Administration Learning the nuts and bolts of the business is important, but Keith Feist finds it’s developing the “intangibles” — motivation, solutions-orientation, positive attitude — that makes one more valuable to the company and therefore helps build a career. “Lifetime learning is both personally gratifying and a career enabler,” says the veteran of five different positions at The Standard in a decade. Surveying his opportunities, he discovered three promotion tracks: sales, technical and management. While he felt it was important to achieve some technical expertise, he was more attracted to management. Keith’s rapid move upward included stints as a team leader, manager and director. In January of this year, he was promoted to his current position with Standard Retirement Services. Gregg Harrod, assistant vice president of operations, StanCorp Mortgage Investors Ask Gregg Harrod what he does for a living and a job title won’t be the first thing he’ll name — not even the second. “Titles don’t matter,” he says. “What matters is whether you’re doing anything that makes a difference.” For Gregg, it’s important to work for a company where he can grow professionally and contribute. The seven positions he’s held since he started in 1985 have been a by-product of this quest. Starting as a corporate accounting manager, Gregg spent seven years in Corporate Financial Services, continually expanding his responsibilities until he was promoted to second vice president. He went on to positions as corporate treasurer and later, assistant vice president of investment administration. In 2002, he started IT’s Project Management Office before taking an opportunity as a consultant with the Operational Excellence group. In September 2006, he returned to StanCorp Mortgage Investors as assistant vice president of operations. Dawn McMaster, director of Individual Disability Insurance Operations Dawn McMaster’s career has been defined more by a well-developed eye Moving Upin the Company Employees who’ve advanced at The Standard offer tips on how you too can succeed for opportunity than by a carefully executed plan. “I’ve just seized opportunities that looked like fun,” she says. That eye led her from a starting position as a sales and marketing support specialist through a series of sales and marketing positions with expanding responsibilities. She moved into management and then, in January, she took on her current position. Over time, she’s come to realize her career passion lies in helping people grow. “I see Operations as an opportunity to grow people. It has a lot to do with processes, of course. But for me it’s more about creating an environment that people want to work in,” Dawn says. Mickey Meyer, National Accounts risk management team leader, Employee Benefits Operations Back in 1973, Mickey Meyer landed her first full- time job — typing renewal letters at Standard Insurance Company. “The thing I’ll never forget is that my boss said I had guts to just walk in off the street. And I said, ‘Doesn’t everybody?’ He asked me right then and there if I wanted the job, and I said, ‘You bet!’” Thirty-four years and seven positions later, Mickey leads the risk management team, supervising 11 people, including contract analysts, underwriters and underwriting analysts.
  5. 5. The Standard May 2007 Jody Pfeifer, director of business applications, IT Business Solutions Two principles have served Jody Pfeifer well in her 12 years at The Standard: Don’t be afraid to take a job that challenges you and don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer. The key is following through to get the answer. Jody joined The Standard in 1995 as a group project leader in Employee Benefits. She wanted to work in Information Technology, but she took the job because she liked the company and felt an opportunity in IT would open for her. She was right. Her strengths — the assertiveness to let people know she’s interested in a job and the confidence to ask questions and seek guidance in order to educate herself — have enabled Jody to move through several positions in IT. From systems analyst, Jody progressed through the senior and lead positions before becoming manager of business applications. Now, as director, she’s responsible for leading four managers, each of whom manages a separate development group. Job Performance: Bloom Where You’re Planted Dawn McMaster uses a gardening metaphor to explain that you can’t get that next job if you don’t do your current job well: “Bloom where you’re planted.” Dawn was eager to advance, but she always made sure she mastered her current job first. “Even if you’re not in a job you consider ideal, do the best that you possibly can and put all of your energy into it because it’s the next step to whatever the next bigger and better job is,” she says. “First, you must be willing to take on whatever gets thrown your way,” Keith says. “When you sit down for a job interview, performance over the long haul speaks loudest. Your track record is the first thing that gets noticed.” Job Expansion: Open Yourself to New Ideas and People “Take on your job with vigor, but if you see other opportunities, jump in and do things, get exposure, start networking. Do things that allow you to shine, and let other people see it,” Dawn says. If you want to strengthen your advancement potential, put yourself out there and take some risks, Jody says. That might involve taking on projects that seem a bit over your head. Jody did that but never shied from asking for help — a sign of strength, she says, not weakness. “A world of opportunities can open themselves up to you if you’re willing to move around,” Gregg says. He advocates joining professional associations and volunteering, either for nonprofits or for special projects, especially ones in different areas of the company. It not only broadens your perspective, it allows others to get to know you. Interested in a position outside your group? Let people in that area know. Mickey says underwriters from elsewhere in the company can ask for guidance on a case, sit in on an underwriting class or request job-shadowing or mentorship opportunities. “I tell people who want to come to National Accounts that they need exposure,” she says. “I need to see them. I need to see the kind of work they can do. I need to know that this is the way they are every day, not just at interview time.” Personal Development: Make Yourself More Valuable A college education is a minimal requirement for many jobs, and some professional positions, such as attorneys and accountants, require advanced degrees and certifications. But many people say the best education remains on-the-job. Dawn put herself through night school to earn a bachelor’s degree in human services. She also was selected to participate in the Advanced Leadership Program. Both helped her understand people by understanding their motivations. They also helped her understand her own strengths. Develop those strengths, Gregg advises, rather than focusing on your weaknesses. “When you’re good at what you do and you love it, that’s a powerful combination,” he says. He also recommends identifying people you admire and seeking them out as mentors so you can draw on their experiences. Keith encourages his staff to make personal development a priority, and he walks the talk: He’s currently working toward an M.B.A. at Portland State University. Whether it’s returning to school or volunteering, that experience can be applied directly to your job. “It gives you that extra edge, that extra drive,” Keith says. “When things get difficult, you can draw on that experience, maintain your focus and keep a positive attitude.” S “Two-thirds of promotion is motion.” Anonymous
  6. 6. The Standard May 2007 I f you’re an employee of Standard Retirement Services, Inc., or StanCorp Equities, Inc., you’ve seen this equation before. It doesn’t add up in the strict mathematical sense, but in a figurative sense, it’s what we’re striving for as our employees work together to combine the business operations of Invesmart and The Standard. The point, of course, is this: What The Standard and Invesmart will become together is much greater than what either entity could have achieved on its own. One way we are ensuring we realize this outcome is through The Standard Invesmart Business Integration Team, or SIBIT. The SIBIT is composed of eight employees drawn from both organizations who have worked full time since last fall on all aspects of the integration, from business process to systems integration. Each member acts as a liaison to one or more of the 18 “practice teams” leading the business process integration, one or more of the 29 business integration projects and one or more of the 55 systems project teams. In this way, they can serve as both a clearinghouse and a conduit of information between all the teams, helping avoid duplication of effort and ensuring that no detail slips through the cracks. Joel Mee, director of retirement services and SIBIT member, also serves on the health and welfare practice team and recently came to the SIBIT meeting with a request of his teammates. “Invesmart had Section 125 cafeteria plans and The Standard didn’t have those,” he said. ”As the Invesmart Web sites go away, we need to replace that content on and the PlanNet® sites.” So Joel spoke with Delores Hankins and Sabin Larson, who serve on the teams that are making Web site changes. “That’s a very specific example — a very tiny detail,” said Joel, “but there are 100 things like that in every single one of our weekly SIBIT meetings. Having this central place to deal with all of the details helps us make sure we’re not leaving anything behind.” “We’ve found this to be a really successful model for integration,” said Chris Raudonis, vice president of retirement plans for Standard Retirement Services. “It’s helpful that we have a team dedicated to the integration effort full time, but probably the most valuable contribution of the team is their depth of knowledge and experience with so many different aspects of the business.” Team Brings Expertise, Cooperation to Invesmart Integration Efforts The Invesmart Integration Team is at the forefront of our efforts to combine the best parts of Invesmart with the best parts of The Standard. Team members include (from left), Scott Keswick, Delores Hankins, Joel Mee, Nicholas Lenzi, Sabin Larson and Dana Feist. Not pictured: Alex Gonzales (San Jose) and Neil Moody (Harrisburg).
  7. 7. The Standard May 2007 Dana Feist, senior new business account manager: “I am most proud of our team’s ability to come together as a cohesive unit so quickly. There is certainly no “us” and “them” on our team. We have successfully made the transition to a team of Standard Retirement Services, Inc. employees and not a group of former Invesmart and former Standard Insurance Company employees.” Alex Gonzales, (San Jose), manager of recordkeeping operations: “I believe assembling individuals from both the group annuity and trust side to work on the integration has been key. All of us bring many years of experience in the retirement planning industry. We also come from many backgrounds and different areas of the business. This has allowed us to work together very closely and effectively.” Delores Hankins, senior technical training and plan administration specialist: “I think one of our most important roles is as a central place to discuss the business impact of various integration projects. We update each other about the status of each team and discuss and work to resolve issues that arise. This aspect of facilitating communication between the business and technical sides of the integration effort is one of our most essential functions.” Scott Keswick: (San Jose), SIBIT team leader and retirement plans consulting manager: “By working together and communicating well with each other, we are able to effectively participate in both the practice teams and project teams and coordinate the work being completed by both groups. Having expertise from both sides of the organization in these positions gives us the opportunity to learn from each other and make informed decisions.” Sabin Larson, regional service team leader: “Many teams take much longer to go through team-building stages. I think we have been very successful because all team members are focused on the goal of integrating the two companies and are using their energies toward the successful outcome of this project.” Nicholas Lenzi, senior account manager: “The members of the team each bring their own expertise and strengths to the table. This adds perspective when brainstorming or problem-solving as a group. We work together openly to make sure there is coordination between the different efforts and that goals and deadlines are met.” Joel Mee, director of retirement services: “The diverse background of the individual members means that we always have a resource within the team that is familiar with almost every aspect of our business. We have developed a camaraderie that allows us to rely on each other to successfully navigate numerous projects and a seemingly infinite amount of detail.” Neil Moody, (Harrisburg), software test manager: “I’ve been involved in many projects and sometimes the dynamic is such that team members don’t feel comfortable communicating with each other. I think the fact that this team is already cohesive has paid dividends and will pay even more dividends in the future.” Here’s what individual team members say about the success of the SIBIT: Indeed, each team member brings unique expertise and complementary skills in team management, operations, recordkeeping and systems support, new business/implementation, technical training, and plan administration and consulting. With such collective depth, team members say, there is almost always someone on the team who can answer the latest big question or recommend a strong course of action to handle the most recent integration challenge. “Each individual on the team is making significant contributions,” said John Nord, assistant vice president of retirement plans administration in Standard Retirement Services. “I am very pleased with the quality of work, the sense of ownership and the depth of understanding this group has.” As for the team, they want employees to know that they are absolutely dedicated to making the integration process as smooth as possible for both employees and customers. They are striving to ensure that employees have the training and resources they need to do their jobs most effectively. They are great resources for current information on the integration process — and, perhaps more importantly, they welcome suggestions and ideas for how to make the integration more effective. “There is a lot of work to be done,” admitted Scott Keswick, the SIBIT team leader and retirement plans consulting manager. “But I have a great deal of confidence in the integration team and the many people who are working hard to make sure the integration effort is successful.” In the end, it is all this coordinated effort that will ensure The Standard is the provider of choice in the retirement plans market. And in this special circumstance, 1 plus 1 really will equal 3. S
  8. 8. Our Retirement Plans business unit is extremely busy integrating the business processes of The Standard with the business processes of our newest acquisition, Invesmart. Here’s a breakdown of RP’s structural changes this year to facilitate that integration, maintain our excellent service levels and create a more streamlined organization. As of Jan. 1, 2007, RP began operating in three subsidiaries of StanCorp Financial Group: • Standard Insurance Company (SIC) — This company is the underwriter of our group annuity contracts. Information technology, human resources and corporate financial services employees formerly within Invesmart are now SIC employees. • Standard Retirement Services (SRS) — This is a new subsidiary created to provide administrative services and support functions for plan sponsors and participants. Many former Standard Insurance Company employees and former Invesmart employees became SRS employees on Jan. 1, 2007. • StanCorp Equities, Inc. (SEI) — This is our distribution subsidiary that houses employees responsible for sales and marketing activities plus advisors and employees who provide local service to our plans. At the end of 2006, Invesmart Securities was merged into SEI. Most former Invesmart employees who didn’t move to SRS as well as sales and marketing employees originally in SIC became SEI employees. Former Invesmart employees responsible for advisor and broker-dealer compliance became part of SEI as well. StanCorp Investment Advisers (SIA) provides mutual fund research and due diligence for RP clients. At the end of 2006, Invesmart Advisors was merged with SIA. Former Invesmart employees responsible for mutual fund research became part of SIA. Sales and advisory personnel in SEI are also SIA representatives. Invesmart Integration Update The Standard May 2007 In September, The Standard will begin administering group life and disability for the California Teachers Association. In terms of premium, it will be the biggest case in the company’s history. Here’s what’s been happening recently with the preparations: • The Transition Service Center, a CTA district microsite on, launched to help guide CTA members through the transition of their life/accidental death and dismemberment and disability insurance coverage from Unum to The Standard. Check it out at • High-level architectural design (how the IT pieces fit together) has been completed for the critical items needed by Sept. 1. A prototype Web enrollment application also is being designed. • We are partnering with IBM to implement Websphere Customer Center. This is an IBM software package that creates a single source for all customer data and includes services that help manage that data. IBM has been working within our Strategic Solutions Program since shortly after the CTA project began, focusing on the technology that will initially serve CTA but will also be usable by other business units within the company. Websphere Customer Center, or WCC, will be the foundation for an companywide system for customer data. • Staff members for the CTA team are currently being hired. Visit the Careers site at careers/ to check out available positions. And watch for the June issue of The Standard magazine for more on CTA hiring. For more information about the CTA account work, visit the Strategic Solutions Program’s Web site on StandardNet. California Teachers Association Update
  9. 9. The Standard May 2007 W hat are the tax implications of using Oregon’s 529 plan to save for my kids’ college education? Which parts of the Pension Protection Act affect me? How should I structure my investments in the five years just before I retire? When people have questions like this, they often turn to their significant others, their parents or even their friends who “know the stock market.” We want them to turn to StanCorp Investment Advisers instead because we have the expertise to answer their questions and help them solve problems — and we provide the best customer service. Our sole purpose is providing objective financial planning and advice to people and their families. StanCorp Investment Advisers had a fantastic 2006. We grew substantially through acquisitions of several investment advisory firms in Washington and California, and we also opened a new storefront office in the Standard Plaza. This year one of our goals is to reach out to more individual clients as well. Because we want people to seek our guidance about financial topics that affect their lives, we looked for ways to build our reputation and visibility. We recently began a series of educational seminars in Portland and will expand them to our other offices in the coming months. So far we have covered “The Pension Protection Act of 2006” and “Exploring Options for College Funding.” Future topics may include handling an inheritance and entering the “Red Zone”— the five years before retirement. These seminars feature an SIA investment counselor and an outside expert, such as an estate planning attorney or, in the case of the college funding seminar, the executive director of the Oregon 529 College Savings Network. It’s challenging to fully explore a topic in one hour, but these seminars can provide context, point out planning opportunities and alert attendees to areas they may need to explore further, such as the tax implications of setting up a college savings plan. Our college funding seminar was held over breakfast in a hotel and attracted a diverse audience. For about half of the attendees, it was their first exposure to StanCorp Investment Advisers. The topic stimulated an exciting question-and-answer session, and several people expressed interest in learning more about what we do for our private clients. Seminars will be a big part of increasing SIA’s client base this year. Plans also call for collecting information on a variety of financial issues and making it available to consumers through our Web site or from our investment counselors. All these strategies will help us build credibility for SIA as the natural choice for helping people secure their financial future. S My Perspective Jim Titus Business Development Manager, StanCorp Investment Advisers StanCorp Investment Advisers expects more growth in 2007
  10. 10. 10 The Standard May 2007 Nurse Case Managers – Our In-House Medical Experts Nurse case managers translate the complex medical information provided by physicians so our claim analysts can make informed decisions. The Standard’s nurse case managers include (front, from left) Lori Sauer and Carol Short; (back, from left) Sue Sprattler, Ruth McClurg, Mary Malone and Monica Hufnagel. Imagine submitting to your disability insurance company a claim you believed to be legitimate, only to have the claim denied. You discover that your physician understood your medical condition but wasn’t communicating effectively with the analyst. You’d probably be pretty frustrated.
  11. 11. The Standard May 2007 11 the physician. They help provide a complete picture that enables us to make better decisions and provides our customers with a personal touch.” Offering Personal Service to the Customers The personal touch NCMs provide to customers may include helping them sort out their medical histories, clarifying what records the analyst has or just listening. To the claimant, a NCM offers a calming and personal voice. When analyst Nick Warne spoke with a distraught customer with a long-standing history of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical conditions, he was unable to ease her despondency. He referred her to an NCM, who spoke with her on the phone, clarified her myriad conditions and, more importantly, eased her concerns about whether we understood her condition. When Nick spoke with the customer a second time, she again cried — but this time it was because the NCM had worked so hard to understand her complex medical problems and had cared enough to speak with her when she was so depressed and expressing a desire to end her life. Doing What Matters You won’t see them walking the halls in scrubs or pulling out stethoscopes for a quick examination. But the extensive nursing training and experience of The Standard’s nurse case managers provide the company with the same commitment, compassion and expertise you’d expect from a nurse in a hospital or doctor’s office. Mary Malone sums up the role of NCMs at The Standard: “By providing accurate and timely service to our internal customers, they in turn are able to provide quality service to our external customers.” Our company and customers benefit from our NCMs every day, but May is National Nurses Month, making it a perfect time to celebrate and appreciate the dedicated nurse case managers who help ensure we continue to do what matters, acting in the best interests of our customers. (Treats, thank-you e-mails and smiles are all appreciated.) S T his was an actual situation in which Mary Malone, one of our nurse case managers, recently found herself. When Mary called the customer, she learned more about her condition and discovered that the physician’s office had not sent the analyst complete medical records. Mary obtained more details, and the analyst was then able to make a more informed decision — this time, in favor of the customer. The 35 nurse case managers at The Standard are our in-house medical experts, bringing to their positions an average of 20 years of clinical nursing experience. Consulting on disability, life and waiver of premium claims, they interact closely with claim analysts, clients and physicians to ensure the correct claim decisions are made. Bringing Medical Expertise to the Analysts Ask any claim analyst and they’ll tell you nurse case managers help them do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. NCMs translate the complex medical information provided by physicians so our analysts can make informed decisions. “My job is to be clear, concise and non-biased,” says NCM Ruth McClurg. Nurse case managers consult on a great variety of conditions (from bunions to heart conditions to blood disorders) and a wide range of treatments (including state- of-the-art, experimental and alternative treatments). With the insight and clarity brought by the NCMs, claim analysts are able to better understand a customer’s medical condition, as well as their prognosis and limitations. As Carol Buschke, supervisor of disability benefits, explains, “We all gain insights when our NCMs review a claim, contact the claimant and make contact with May is National Nurses Month
  12. 12. 12 The Standard May 2007 I n early March, a construction mishap left the Standard Plaza without water for about a half hour. A minor event, to be sure. But it was also a reminder that it doesn’t take much to disrupt business. According to Marilyn Nikolas, director of business continuity, even something as simple as a water outage — if it were to continue for more than a few hours — could make any of The Standard’s buildings uninhabitable. Employees might have to be relocated, computer programs and files might need to be made available offsite and phone systems might need to be rerouted. If a water shutoff could cause that much disruption, imagine the impact of a fire, earthquake or other disaster on our day-to- day business. These are realistic concerns: downtown Portland — the location of our three main home office buildings — is an active earthquake zone. In addition, the three buildings, which are within a three-square- block area, are all on the same power grid, and that area currently is at the heart of a two-year, large-scale construction project to expand the city’s light-rail system. Those “what ifs” are precisely what Marilyn and members of The Standard’s PROTECT (Preparing Resilient Operations Today to Endure the Crisis Tomorrow) Business Continuity Planning team have been assessing over the past several years. Working with representatives from all of our business units, they’re proactively planning for almost any kind of crisis imaginable, instead of waiting until a crisis hits. “Solid business continuity plans reduce the chaos and the stress employees might face in an emergency,” Marilyn explained. “Everyone will know where to go and how to keep their departments running. This kind of planning ensures that we’ll be there for our customers during an emergency. It also keeps our corporate costs down because we won’t be scrambling for solutions — and paying premium prices for them — during a crisis.” Each business unit soon will be creating their own business continuity plan, if they don’t already have one. Later this month, the planning will go beyond simply being words on paper: Groups of employees will spend five days testing remote access of our computer systems from our disaster-recovery facility in the Tanasbourne area, 11 miles west of downtown Portland. The facility is little more than a warehouse full of tables, chairs and computers, but it will serve the purpose if one of our downtown buildings becomes uninhabitable, said Stan Sutton, IT disaster recovery manager. Space at the Tanasbourne Home Office also would be used to relocate people in case of a disaster, he added. Construction of a new light-rail line through downtown Portland could conceivably affect The Standard’s business if an accident were to occur. The line in this photo runs adjacent to all three of our downtown offices. Resilience in the Face of a Crisis Business Continuity Team plans for the unexpected in order to protect our customers
  13. 13. The Standard May 2007 13 Since the 1980s, financial institutions have been required by the U.S. Treasury Department to prove they could access emergency copies of their top-priority computer systems from a remote location during a crisis. That’s important, but it’s really the bare minimum we should be doing, Stan said, adding that we need to be able to be more resilient in the face of a crisis. Financial services customers also are becoming more interested in knowing that plans are in place to keep the business up and running after a disaster. “During this month’s remote recovery test at Tanasbourne, we’re inviting key business groups to come out and validate that their applications are working the way they’re supposed to work, and that we’ve truly recovered the systems that are crucial to their work,” Stan said. After the initial test, Marilyn’s team will invite different business teams to the facility to practice working from there, simulating a crisis and determining whether there are any holes in their business continuity plans. “Events like Hurricane Katrina have shown us that it’s important to physically rehearse our emergency plans,” explained Marilyn. “Employees need to drive to the backup location, sit in the chairs and actually try to do their jobs. If a company doesn’t rehearse its plans in that kind of detail, research indicates that workers may not show up for work. We want to make sure our employees are totally comfortable with their roles in a crisis.” Each of our business units has a business continuity plan manager who will soon be able to tell you whether your department is scheduled for an offsite test this year. In the meantime, a simple but critical thing you can do is to keep your emergency contact information updated through your department’s business continuity plan manager. Make sure your plan manager has your home phone, cell phone, pager number and any other pertinent contact information. And don’t forget: Even more important than having a continuity plan for work is having an emergency plan for yourself and your family. For information on how to prepare for a natural disaster or other event, visit S Emergency Contact System Debuting Later this Year Imagine that an overnight fire has destroyed your office area. Early the next morning, your home phone rings. You’re in the shower and don’t hear it. A few minutes later, your cell phone rings. This time you’re able to answer, so you pick up the phone. It’s The Standard’s new automatic notification system. After you identify yourself, a voice response unit gives you a series of prompts to follow. You hear a message that a fire has occurred, that emergency personnel are at the building and that your department has been relocated to a temporary office. You’re also given instructions on how to get in touch with your manager. Pretty slick, right? Later this year, this automatic communications system will become a reality. Instead of activating a manual “calling tree” (during which assigned employees call other workers to share emergency instructions), a computer system will track down employees and pass on important news. “In case of a disaster that might have affected employees at their homes, like a large-scale earthquake, there would also be an interactive element,” explained Marilyn Nikolas, director of business continuity. “You would be asked to press 1, for instance, if you’re able to report to work the next day or 2 if your family’s safety requires that you miss work.” Within a very short time, business continuity plan representatives would be able to report to the management committee exactly how many employees had been reached by phone during the disaster and how many were available to come in to work. “It’s an excellent tool that very quickly gives us a snapshot of our people resources and helps us decide how to proceed,” Marilyn said. Within the next several months, your department’s business continuity plan representative will ask you to update your contact information. “We hope employees will do so promptly. That information is important, and it could help us keep you safe during an emergency,” she said. “Events like Hurricane Katrina have shown us that it’s important to physically rehearse our emergency plans.” Marilyn Nikolas director of business continuity
  14. 14. 14 The Standard May 2007 Part one of a two-part story on The Standard’s New York business S ometimes everything just comes together. The moon lines up exactly between the Earth and sun, and viewers are treated to a total eclipse. A baseball pitcher’s curve, slider and fastball can’t miss, and he throws a no-hitter. Carbon atoms combine with extreme pressure and precise temperature, and a diamond is born. For The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York (SNY), everything came together in 2006, resulting in the StanCorp Financial Group subsidiary’s best year since its inception five years earlier. “It’s typically difficult to have a year when profits, growth, sales, in-force premium, persistency and everything else not only improve but exceed your goals,” said Neal King, SNY’s vice president and chief operating officer. “But 2006 was one of those years. It was by far the best year that we’ve ever had.” The New York marketplace doesn’t make that accomplishment easy. The Standard is a relative newcomer there, and it takes time for a company to “mature” in one of the world’s largest business centers. New York also stands alone where state regulations are concerned — their notoriously complex parameters are different from every other state, and like The Standard, many companies form separate subsidiaries to make it easier to do business there. Even with these challenges, said Mike Appaneal, Northeast regional sales vice president, The Standard’s opportunities in New York are nearly endless. “There is a great deal of untapped potential in New York where we can achieve rapid growth as a company for the next 10 years,” Mike said. “As we build our brand, the Manhattan Employee Benefits Sales and Service Office should become our top office in the Northeast, if not the entire company.” Doing things differently and gaining name recognition Doing business in New York depends to a large degree on building and nurturing long-term relationships. Neal said it can take three or four years for relationships with brokers to gel before a salesperson is able to write more business with them. To attract business, The Standard invites key brokers to dinners, sporting events and lunch-and-learn seminars, said Nils Hedengren, employee benefits manager in the Manhattan EBSSO. Other tactics include New York State of Mind Despite the challenges of doing business in the Empire State, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York posted its best year ever in 2006
  15. 15. The Standard May 2007 15 hiring baristas to go into a brokerage firm and serve coffee, he said. “We’re one of the newer carriers in our market, and we have less name recognition so we have to fight the perception that we can’t compete against larger companies like Unum, Prudential and Hartford,” Nils said.  “Unique events like these create a buzz within a brokerage firm and often will cause an increase in quote activity. That gives the sales representative the opportunity to show what they and The Standard can bring to the table.” Established relationships weren’t the only thing that bolstered SNY’s numbers in 2006. The block of business we purchased from TIAA in 2002 provides a significant portion of SNY’s income, and as that block matures, renewals have been increasing, Neal said. In addition, every sales position in the New York territory was filled last year, and the salespeople were writing and closing more proposals. Field offices in other states also contribute to SNY’s bottom line. More than two-thirds of our offices have sold business to customers who have employees residing in New York, primarily to meet the state’s statutory requirements. In most years, a majority of sales come from the Manhattan and Rochester offices, but in 2006 significant sales resulted from the Hartford, Conn., and New Jersey EBSSOs. Another advantage SNY offers is a claims office in White Plains, N.Y., and underwriting based in South Portland, just a few hundred miles away. “We talk about our local claims operation on a daily basis, and we’re scheduling several broker trips this year to see our claims team in action,” Nils said. Back Cover This ad is part of our sponsorship of the 2007 Black-n-Blue Ball, a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Southeast Wisconsin. The Standard co-sponsors this event with Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, which is one of our customers and a primary sponsor of the event. The ball, at which attendees wear black leather and blue denim, raised more than $500,000 for the MDA last year. This year’s event was May 4. Lessons for the future When the New York operation began, it was viewed as similar to a field office, said Donna Wieland, SNY project manager in South Portland’s Eastern Region Operations office. Many employees may not realize that it’s actually an entirely separate business from Standard Insurance Company, with separate sales goals, its own financials and even some products that none of The Standard’s other offices sell. One of those products, known as DBL, is a type of short term disability coverage that’s mandated by the state for employers with one or more employees. In the past, we’ve only offered it packaged with long term disability coverage, but a project to offer it separately is one of three SNY new business initiatives for 2007. SNY’s importance to The Standard’s overall operations can be gauged in part by the way the company views those three projects. Approximately 2,000 of the 13,000 IT hours dedicated to the Insurance Services Group this year are for SNY’s top three projects, Neal said. The lessons we’ve learned from doing business in New York may come in handy down the road, Donna said. “Opening a company in New York is similar to expanding internationally,” she said. “The laws, market and distribution channels are different. We didn’t understand how different it was at first, but now we have tools, people and relationships that are overcoming those issues.” S
  16. 16. Everyone takes their own path through life. For those who need help along the way, organizations like the Muscular Dystrophy Association are essential. That’s why Standard Insurance Company is proud to join Harley-Davidson as a sponsor of the MDA’s Black-n-Blue Ball. INSURANCE RETIREMENT INVESTMENTS ADVICE The Standard is a marketing name for StanCorp Financial Group, Inc. and subsidiaries. Insurance products are offered by Standard Insurance Company of Portland, Ore. in all states except New York, where insurance products are offered byThe Standard Life Insurance Company of NewYork ofWhite Plains,N.Y.Investment services are offered through StanCorp InvestmentAdvisers of Portland,Ore.Product features and availability vary by state and company. EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LIFE DISABILITY DENTAL RETIREMENT STANDARD.COM Scott Bachhuber Standard Insurance Company 300 N Corporate Drive Suite 320 Brookfield WI 53045 888.548.8310