Manulife Financial offers Canadians leading-edge Group Benefits e-services

Web site provides simple, powerful and convenient tools

WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 16, 2002 — Manulife Financial Group Benefits unveiled an enhanced online group benefits Web site today, positioning them as the premier group benefits provider of online services in Canada. As a leader in the group benefits industry, Manulife Financial delivers simple, powerful and convenient online benefits services to client companies and their more than four million employees and dependants across the country.

Manulife Financial’s group benefits e-services provide both plan administrators and plan members (employees) with easy-to-use online tools to manage their benefits plan, through a rich suite of self service options. Subscribers can access benefits information anytime from any Internet connection.

Companies’ Web sites are personalized to their plan, the administrative options and the specific coverage/options for each plan member.

“Manulife Financial is committed to offering leading-edge Internet services for our clients,” says Geoff Crickmay, Senior Vice President, Group Business for Manulife Financial. “No other company offers such a completely integrated process that is as simple, powerful and convenient. For example, if a member has a benefits specific question to a certain claim – simply by clicking on the “Send an e-mail” function, a pre-addressed e-mail will automatically be populated with all the information and details specific to that claim. This enables our claims department to review and assist them at the click of a button – allowing Manulife to maintain our 24-hour e-mail response time.”

What plan members want

According to the Canadian Interactive Reid Report(1), three out of every four Canadian adults now have access to the Internet, which is why Manulife Financial is committed to providing innovative technology-based solutions to their clients. Another recent survey by Thompson Lightstone(2), for Manulife Financial Group Benefits, found only 36 per cent of Canadians know they can access their health and dental benefits plans online.

The largest group of those who did not have Web access to their plans, told Thompson Lightstone that the top feature of most interest is information on their plan (62 per cent). Some 60 per cent were interested in seeing the status of a submitted claim while 57 per cent wanted to be able to send e-mail questions about their plans. These features are all available on Manulife Financial’s newly enhanced Group Benefits Web site and are among some of the functionality that Manulife has integrated online.

Unique, comprehensive plan member tools

Some unique features only offered by Manulife Financial’s Plan Member Site include direct deposit for both health and dental benefit claims using online tools and plan coverage information specific to the plan member – no more lengthy brochures about services and features that are not part of their coverage.

By expanding the site to include a more comprehensive benefits program, employees can review previous information related to beneficiaries, dependants and how many health credits are in their account all online. “It’s all personalized. Live information pops up simply by entering their PIN,” says Manulife’s Rick Brunet, Vice President, Marketing and Underwriting. “Members can stay on top of their health and dental benefits without having to wait, saving everyone time and frustration.”

Secure Plan Administrator functionality

Manulife Financial’s Group Benefits Web site helps plan administrators manage their workload by allowing them to focus on other tasks. Accessing benefits information from the Manulife Web site provides HR executives with a new level of control, convenience and speed that supports smart and responsive decision-making.

Manulife Financial’s Group Benefits site is acknowledged as a VeriSign Secure Site, allowing users to submit sensitive data (e.g. bank account information) to this site with the assurance that, all information sent to this site, if in an SSL session, is encrypted, protecting against disclosure to third parties.

About Manulife Financial Group Benefits

Manulife Financial Group Benefits touches the lives of approximately one in 10 people in Canada, paying 50,000 claims each business day and serving more than 14,000 businesses with annual premiums of more than $2 billion. Manulife Financial Group Benefits offers a wide range of comprehensive benefit plans, including health and dental care, emergency travel assistance, disability, life insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage, for businesses of all sizes.

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 15 countries and territories worldwide. Through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners, Manulife Financial offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services. Funds under management by Manulife Financial were Cdn$139.8 billion as at June 30, 2002.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

(1) – The results in this release quoted from the Canadian [email protected] Reid Report are based on 1,000 telephone interviews with Canadian adults, which were conducted between March 5th and 14th, 2002. With a national sample of 1,000, one can say with 95 per cent certainty that the overall results are within a maximum of (+/-) 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire population of Canadian adults been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger for sub-groupings of the survey population.

(2) – The research was conducted via Thompson Lightstone’s OMNITEL National Telephone Omnibus, which surveyed 4,004 Canadians aged 18 and older between July 25 and August 15, 2002. The results are based on a sub-sample of 1,371 respondents who belong to a group health and dental plan offered through their employer. The margin of error is (+/-) 2.65 per cent, 19 times out of 20.