Sun Life to acquire PinnacleCare

Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) announced today that it has agreed to acquire Pinnacle Care International, Inc. (“PinnacleCare”), a leading U.S. medical intelligence and health-care navigation provider.

Based in Maryland, PinnacleCare has more than 170 employees and 20 years of experience helping people access an initial or second medical opinion to make critical, informed treatment decisions for complicated diagnoses. PinnacleCare will become part of Sun Life’s U.S. Stop-Loss & Health business (“Stop-Loss & Health”), the largest independent stop-loss provider in the country.

Sun Life will acquire PinnacleCare for a purchase price of US$85 million (approximately C$108 million). The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approval.

The acquisition will expand Stop-Loss & Health beyond the traditional model that reimburses employers for the costs of serious health conditions after an employee’s care has occurred. Through PinnacleCare, Stop-Loss & Health will engage with the employee at diagnosis to help improve the entire spectrum of the care experience and outcomes for both the employee and employer. The transaction will create an integrated offering unique in the stop-loss market.

“We’re excited for PinnacleCare’s team to join us to help people with complex health conditions,” said Jen Collier, R.N., Senior Vice President of Stop-Loss & Health. “People who get an unexpected diagnosis are facing a difficult life event and often don’t know where or how to start evaluating their options. Bringing in PinnacleCare’s innovative approach to help people at each step of the health-care process will help us improve the experience of our members so they feel supported and cared for when they need it most.”

PinnacleCare fills a largely unmet need in U.S. health care. While chronic conditions are often the focus of care-management programs, those with serious, sudden illnesses are often left to navigate the health-care system without much help. PinnacleCare’s experienced personal health advisors guide members using in-depth clinical knowledge and dedicated relationships with top medical centers to connect them to highly regarded providers for their specific condition. PinnacleCare also conducts medical research, written and video-based second opinions, and appointment facilitation in coordination with a client’s health plan coverage.

“We are thrilled to bring PinnacleCare and its clinical expertise to Sun Life. By offering experienced care navigation for members, Sun Life and PinnacleCare will create a new dynamic that will improve care, outcomes and costs in the process,” said Dan Fishbein, M.D., President of Sun Life U.S. “PinnacleCare extends the value of our stop-loss programs beyond reimbursement to directly helping members in the moments that matter.”

Improved health outcomes can also reduce costs that often result from misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment.

“We are beyond excited to join Sun Life and work with their talented, insightful team to help drive better patient outcomes and reach more people with our advisory services,” said Miles J. Varn, M.D., CEO of PinnacleCare. “Our team’s empathetic and compassionate approach helps guide people through a very difficult time in their lives. It’s always an honor and privilege to help people when they need it most. We’re also very pleased to start offering our health advisory services in May to our new Sun Life family in the U.S.”

PinnacleCare’s services are currently available to more than two million people through employers and individual clients. Sun Life’s extensive distribution network and employer relationships will help PinnacleCare reach even more people with their services, while continuing to serve their clients as they do today. Sun Life will work with PinnacleCare to build new Stop-Loss & Health client solutions and will explore extending PinnacleCare’s services to members of its other U.S. benefits plans.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a Stifel company, and Venable LLP served as financial advisor and legal counsel, respectively, to PinnacleCare. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as Sun Life’s legal counsel.