MetLife Launches Empathy’s Bereavement Support with AT&T

In addition to the direct benefits Empathy brings to bereaved AT&T employees or their survivors, the service is also having the desired effect of strengthening the employer-employee relationship.

(Image source: Empathy website.)

Last fall AT&T (Dallas) went live with the Empathy (New York) capabilities offered as part of MetLife’s (New York) Beneficiary Claims Concierge Services, launched in 2022, which provide compassionate support and guidance to members. AT&T—which has a long-term relationship with the carrier—was the first of MetLife’s Group Life customers to adopt the capabilities, which the carrier recently announced.

Empathy’s platform combines technology and human support to those dealing with loss, including administrative assistance via on-demand bereavement concierge services, estate administration experts, probate guidance, funeral assistance, property clearance, family collaboration features, and an account deactivation hub, as well as emotional support through grief sessions, sleep support, mindfulness activities, and self-care tools.

Matt Phillips, AVP, Benefits, AT&T.

The holistic bereavement support provided through Empathy fit within AT&T’s corporate Total Wellbeing program, an initiative launched just prior to the pandemic to improve upon existing efforts to support its employees’ health and well-being. “We previously had a set of programs that were owned disparately across the company,” notes Matt Phillips, AVP, Benefits, AT&T. “We did some research and determined that all these things were interrelated and that we should put the employee at the center.

Phillips observes that if employees are struggling financially or with health issues, it will affect their mental and social well-being. AT&T recognized that that the impact of a death in an employee’s family required special support.

Empathy’s 2023 Cost of Dying Report finds that bereaved families dedicate significant time and effort to resolving administrative burdens—it takes families, on average, 12.5 months to resolve all financial matters—and families report spending a median of 12 hours per week on these specific tasks alone.

Phillips reports that AT&T saw MetLife’s Empathy offering as a natural development within its ongoing efforts to support employee well-being. “We were the first [of MetLife’s customers] to launch with Empathy last year, seeing it as a chance to help employees qat the time of their greatest need,” he relates. “In the context of the highs and lows of member journeys, this was a deep valley.”

The Empathy services give AT&T the ability to help employees with the loss of a loved one, and in the case of an employee death, the services are a great support for their survivors, according to Phillips. “They’re a little more removed from the company, so it’s a huge benefit for them.”

Boosting Employee Engagement

In addition to the direct benefits Empathy brings to AT&T employees, the service is also having the desired effect of strengthening the employer-employee relationship. “The results both anecdotally and in terms of the numbers have been very, very good,” comments Phillips. “What’s particularly good about the platform is that it allows beneficiaries to engage as they like, for example, doing self-service through the app. It allows them to choose topics, and it serves up relevant information. And if they want to speak to someone, they can. That flexibility has encouraged greater engagement.”

Phillips reports that, at AT&T, the Empathy platform recorded the very high NPS score of +86. He notes that the leading three topics for AT&T’s Empathy users were: Coping with Grief, The Funeral, and Probate. “Empathy continues to invest and roll out new functionality, and as they do, we’ll be taking advantage of it,” Phillips says.

“We’re very excited to be able to come alongside employees during a very difficult time and provide a service to help not only with their practical needs in dealing with the loss of a loved one, but also the more emotional needs,” Phillips comments. “Whether it’s a matter of total well-being or social need, that’s what we like about Empathy: it can step in and help employees regardless of their need.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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