Manulife Financial signs health and wellness agreement with Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™

WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 29, 2004 – Manulife Financial, a leading Canadian provider of group benefits plans, and Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™, a leading Canadian organization specializing in workplace health, productivity and performance solutions, have signed an agreement that allows Manulife to offer employers a selection of innovative products supporting the well-being of employees and enhancing workplace competitiveness.

The agreement paves the way for Manulife’s launch of the Health for Life™ program consisting of three new health and wellness products: Workplace Advisor, Health eLinks and Resilience™ (a full service Employee and Family Assistance Program). “These specialized products will allow organizations to take a more integrated approach to employee health and productivity,” says Rick Brunet, Manulife’s Vice President of Group Benefits.

Brunet says employees look increasingly to employers to take a leadership role in promoting health and wellness in the workplace. The arrangement with Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ means organizations can be proactive and use wellness promotion to influence the health and satisfaction of their staff while managing the rising cost of benefits and lost productivity. And Brunet says, “These are only the first of a whole suite of products that will concentrate on supporting organizational success and protecting employers’ most important resource: their employees.”

Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ was selected as Manulife Financial’s preferred provider after an extensive search of the marketplace. “We were very impressed with Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™’s credentials,” says Brunet.

“While they are well known as a premier provider of employee and family assistance programs, their online health resources add significant value. Depending on the situation, employees will have the tools they need to better understand and manage their health and well-being.”

Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ has offices in most major Canadian cities. Each of its counsellors is a registered professional with a minimum of a Master’s degree in their field of expertise. The company’s mission, to provide a positive difference to employees and employers by offering health, productivity and performance solutions that ensure organizational effectiveness and employee well-being, is an ideal fit with Manulife’s vision of wellness.

“We see the subject of wellness encompassing the identification of issues affecting an individual’s health – both physical and emotional – and then developing strategies to address those issues,” says Manulife’s Assistant Vice President of Marketing Marilee Mark, who was closely involved in shaping the agreement with Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™. “As a result, our wellness products have the added benefit of being able to influence both the use and the cost of an employer’s group benefits plan.”

Dr. Robert Wilson, CEO of Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ notes: “We at Wilson Banwell are delighted to be working with Manulife Financial and we’re committed to delivering the highest quality of services to their customers.” He adds: “Research and extensive industry experience have shown that programs focused on prevention of health concerns benefit both employers and employees and are an important aspect of all healthy workplaces.”

“Plan sponsors have been asking for these products and we’re going to work with Manulife to deliver an industry leading offering to their customers. There are several unique elements we’re delivering to generate real value for Manulife customers,” says Craig Thompson, Vice President with Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ who has led the initiative for Wilson Banwell. “We will continue to innovate with Manulife and strive to make a positive difference with employees and employers alike.”

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$150.8 billion as at September 30, 2003.

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

About Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™

Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ is a leading Canadian based solutions provider of health, productivity and performance services to employers internationally. These services include EFAP, On-Line Health & Productivity Tools, Trauma Response, Selection & Placement, Coaching, Organizational Effectiveness, Relocation Assessment and Preparation and others. Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions™ is a privately held Canadian company that was founded in 1979 by Dr. Robert Wilson and Dr. Greg Banwell, both of whom continue to be active in the company. For more information on the company go to