Sun Life Financial has been in the U.S. market since 1895, but has taken steps within the past few years to increase its market share in the country in its three main business—group benefits, variable annuities and life insurance. Terry Mullen, president of Sun Life Financial Distributors, noted in an interview in late April that “we have incredible market share” in Canada, where one in six Canadians has some coverage through its parent company, founded in Montreal in 1865.
Sun Life Financial has within the past few years made some high-profile sponsorship deals in some very south-of-the-border areas, most notably a naming rights agreement in 2010 with the Miami Dolphins to rename the Dolphins’ stadium as Sun Life Stadium just in time for the NFL’s Super Bowl and Pro Bowl that year. In January of this year, Sun Life struck a sponsorship deal with the NBA’s Boston Celtics under which it became the official team sponsor and presenting sponsor of Celtics.com. Sun Life Financial is based in the Boston area. It also sponsored the “Sun Life Frozen Fenway” in January with the owners of the Red Sox ball park, where college hockey teams play outdoors at the iconic site.
*The no-lapse-guarantee (5th paragraph) was part of the Life business, not Annuities.
Mullen (left), formerly president and CEO of Lincoln Financial Distributors who joined Sun Life Financial late in 2008, declined to reveal what the costs of those sponsorship deals were, except to say that on the Dolphins’ stadium deal, “we had a really good deal” that has already paid off in brand recognition. As a subsidiary of a Canadian-based firm with strong financials, Sun Life, like many Canadian banks and insurers,weathered the financial crisis in much better shape than its U.S. competitors.
“Advisors,” said Mullen, are “doing more due diligence on products,” not necessarily the companies providing those products, but nevertheless, he says “you don’t want to force advisors to make a second sale—to sell Sun Life” when they’re discussing products with their end clients.