Alex Sun took the helm as CEO of San Diego-based Enlyte LLC in 2021, when it was formed through the merger of three companies in the workers compensation sector: Coventry Workers Comp Services, Genex Services LLC and Mitchell International Inc. Mr. Sun was formerly CEO of Mitchell, which he joined in 2001. Prior to that, he spent a decade in the banking and financial services industry. He spoke with Assistant Editor Louise Esola about the benefits of combining the operations and challenges in the workers compensation arena. Edited excerpts follow.
Q: Enlyte is a company formed from three companies. What is the vision now?
A: Our principal mission is to assist our clients and help them restore the lives of their customers after a challenging event. We’ve defined that as trying to have the greatest impact on claims outcomes. So, part of that was making sure that we had leading capabilities across all solutions that help address the medical claims cost side of the equation, as well as services that focus on the injured worker and getting them back to work. We’re about having maximum medical improvement. So really the vision for the parent company of Mitchell, Genex, and Coventry was bringing the leading providers of technology, clinical and network solutions all together in one organization where if we do our jobs we will leverage the intersections to create better outcomes for our clients.
Q: How do mergers such as this help clients best?
A: As we look out into the future, it is important to be a skilled provider. So, it’s making sure that you have all the right infrastructure, the information security investments, and product and service quality. A deep focus on the customer and a strong analytics platform are part and parcel of being an excellent provider. What we were also trying to do on top of that is identify where there’s connectivity between software solutions, clinical solutions and network solutions, and take advantage of those connections to try to deliver better outcomes to our customers, be it greater efficiency or claims handling. We want a better ability to serve the injured worker efficiently with high levels of communication quality, and to also optimize the process.
Q: What are some of the challenges facing the industry?
A: Probably one that almost seems to be universally discussed in the last year has been the challenging labor environment. P&C insurance has always had some challenges with respect to making sure that we have a vibrant workforce, but I think that given the pandemic and the Great Resignation, that the challenges increased, be it on clinical staff, claims adjusting teams, or certainly anything involving technology. I think there are a lot of ways that we’ve all learned to address the challenges. First, we learned during the first period of the COVID pandemic, when everybody went into remote work environments, that a transition to a remote workforce ultimately became a capability that we all became pretty comfortable with. And as we continue to all strive to be employers of choice, I think we are now adjusting our workplace strategies to be more accommodated to the needs of employees so that we can remain that employer of choice. So, many of us are trying to be more flexible just to save on commutes, or to improve work-life balance, because this is an industry that demands a lot from people.
Q: What are top trends to watch?
A: A dynamic legislative and regulatory environment. Inflation is also something that we have to contend with — medical inflation or the inflation associated with repairing a vehicle. Lastly, there continues to be a challenging liability environment and nuclear verdicts.
Q: A trend we have been following is the advocacy model for treating injured workers. How has this evolved in recent years?
A: We’re focused on trying to help an injured party navigate this system through a focus on the whole person. I think that’s what we’ve seen. Particularly in the last year, there’s been a focus on mental health and other things that may not be directly related to the physical expression of an injury but something that may be in the background. It could be everything, including diet and medical conditions related to where you live, and whether you have ready access to basic medical services. All of that becomes part of helping someone navigate their treatments and getting back to work as quickly as possible.
Q: How does the company best balance its objectives along with caring for injured workers?
A: Caring for injured workers is central to our mission. We focus both on the injured worker through clinical services as well as trying to drive greater efficiency and accuracy in the claims-handling process, so that there is a focus on total cost of claims. Obviously, there’s a very deep focus on the injured worker and making sure that they get back to work because that’s an important aspect of controlling claims costs, including the medical claims cost side of the equation.
Q: What do you like about what you do?
A: I’ve always wanted to be part of something special — a community of people with a shared purpose. And I wanted that purpose to be meaningful. And so we take our mission very seriously, which is to provide support to our customers as they try to restore the lives of their clients after a challenging event. To me that is very, very important work. Insurance is woven deep into the fabric of society, and so we in our small way can help deliver on the promise of the insurance industry. It’s a very personal thing for myself and the nearly 6,000 associates that we have here at Enlyte. And I think it’s a very important part of our culture.