SSG and HR Join Forces to Retool for New Term Life Provider - 07/21/09

Restructuring parts of SAP to manage Purdue University employees’ term life insurance benefits through new carrier Minnesota Life is 100 percent complete, according to Lester Burch, leader of the System Support Group’s Human Resource Services (HRS) and Payroll team. Burch reported the project’s “completed” status to the Business Systems Advisory Committee (BSAC), when they met Tuesday afternoon, July 14.

The SSG team’s efforts to shift to Minnesota Life by the July 1 deadline were mirrored by those of the Staff Benefits team, headed by Teresa Wesner, benefits manager for HRS.

The SSG and Staff Benefits teams launched the Life Insurance Restructuring project in December, when the University announced that starting July 1, Minnesota Life would replace Prudential as the term life insurance provider for benefit-eligible faculty and staff. Initially, the University intended for Minnesota Life to administer the plans, but in March it decided to keep administration at Purdue.

Facing the deadline, Burch’s team built 16 new plans and configured the SAP operating system to handle the new requirements, said Gale Rhodes, SSG team business analyst for HR and Payroll. The team also built reports and interfaces to Minnesota Life so it could manage Purdue’s life insurance in SAP. 

With the reconfigured system, Burch said, Purdue can tell Minnesota Life who is covered and for how much, while Purdue is positioned to manage the information in SAP.

On the Staff Benefits side, Wesner’s team coordinated its work with Minnesota Life to ensure a smooth transition. Together, they initiated communications, processed enrollments, set up and conducted open meetings and one-on-one counseling, answered inquiries and maintained customer service. Concurrently, the Benefits team was deeply involved with the audit of dependents covered under the medical plan, which HRS Director John Beelke called a “significant project.”

“This marked the first opportunity to implement changes in the benefits programs that we had anticipated with the SAP system,” Beelke said, “and we are very pleased that everyone’s efforts were successful. We look forward to making further enhancements.”

Burch noted that the reconfiguration project required the expertise of Rhodes and Susan Newton from his team plus consultant Dan Harriger. The rest of SSG’s HR/Payroll team – Stanette Balser, Kim Campbell, Amy Clawson, Debbie Dillman-Crowell, Gene Farmer, Gail Holzer and Rick Miller – spent three weeks of concentrated effort on the reconfiguration. Theresa Jacobson from SSG Finance assisted them, with Cory Melchi, Craig Hamaker, Becky Gutwein, Connie Ratcliff, Julie Thedans and Teresa Blacker of HRS Staff Benefits. They also had support from the Applications Development team.

“This was huge,” Burch said. “It was a true collaborative effort.”

The January edition of “Choose Well, Live Well” – a joint publication of Staff Benefits and the Worklife program – stated that the University periodically reviews life insurance coverage to make sure it still meets employees’ needs. The March issue explained that with the new carrier, employees could choose new and improved benefits. Among those were: higher levels of optional life insurance, more basic employee term life insurance, lower premium rates, more competitive pricing for additional employee term life, better pricing for spouse coverage, discounts for nonsmokers and online enrollment.

Biweekly staff will see their Minnesota Life benefits listed on their July 29 paystub, while monthly employees will see their benefits with their July 31 pay.

Three other projects also reached 100 percent completion since the June BSAC meeting. They were PSCD Postage Savings and Letter of Credit Cash Draw for Finance, and Project Systems Enhancement for Physical Facilities.

The BSAC is part of the governance of the business applications support. The committee meets each month on the second Tuesday. Its agenda includes a discussion of the previous month’s requests for SAP system changes, enhancements and repairs. The committee then recommends to the Business System Steering Committee (BSSC) which of the requests should be referred to the OnePurdue Business Systems project list. The BSAC also suggests the order in which those projects should be handled.

The current project list contains 43 jobs in SAP. The list will be updated after the BSSC reviews and approves recommendations made by the advisory committee.

Members of the advisory committee are customers of the SAP systems and owners of the supported business processes. The committee’s next meeting will be Aug. 11.