It has been an exciting 2019 thus far and I would like to thank business manager Mike Gallagher and the executive board for the opportunity to help support the great organization that is IUOE Local 793.
The drive of Local 793’s leaders to improve the services of your already world-class pension and benefits program was what drew me to this position. Their commitment to members and to raising the bar mirrors my own beliefs.
In signing on as the first employee of Operating Engineers Benefits Administration Corporation (or OEBAC), I agreed to the challenge of building a new corporation and raising that bar. Our main focus is to provide the best service possible for you, the members. You are the reason OEBAC exists.
Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to attend several Local 793 events and meet some of you in person. The family-like atmosphere is always present, and I am honoured to have the chance to help build something for you.
The products we have planned and the companies we have partnered with were selected to raise the services and support available to you to the next level.
In order to make this possible, we had to understand your needs and the things that are most important to you. Our starting point for this was to ensure your plans and coverage remain the same. Nothing has changed, you can still rely on the best coverage available.
We also took steps to examine, document and gain a full system understanding of existing processes. We found ways to streamline things like documents and forms, placing needed information in one spot.
All the steps and preparation we have done so far is to ensure we are making the process easier on you. If you are happy with mailing in paper claims and that works for your situation, we will be pleased to help you continue that way. But the new tools we introduce will offer some time-saving options.
The new options we provide will be over and above what you had before. These options are leading edge. They will make claims submission simple and greatly speed up payments back to you. Members will be able to submit a claim from their phone by simply taking a picture of your claim, tapping a few buttons to confirm and voila!
In addition, the OEBAC benefits cards will be delivered to you by mail in the coming weeks. Once active, these cards will be accepted at all major drug stores and at most dental offices to make things more convenient.
I would like to recognize some of the people who have helped build OEBAC’s foundation. It all starts with Local 793 head office staff.
Lloyd Nakaza is a name some of you might be familiar with as Local 793’s financial controller and human resources (HR) manager. He was “mission critical” to the formation of OEBAC.
Similarly, IT manager Armand Dowdall has worked countless hours ensuring our systems are the highest quality. Armand also helped guide our efforts around products and services.
A woman of many talents, assistant manager of human resources Kelsey McIntyre lent her experience to the hiring and onboarding of our OEBAC staff. Kelsey is also the voice to the soon-to-be-released videos explaining your Life and Health Plan benefits.
Debbie Coulson, Kimberley Tam and Stephanie Whaley are three more names that many of you will find familiar. As the Pension and Benefits Department of the Local 793, they helped direct our planning to ensure we will transition and deliver the best possible services to you.
Labour relations manager Melissa Atkins-Mahaney provided valuable support in establishing a voluntary collective agreement with COPE for the OEBAC staff.
Communication representative Danny Celia led the drive to solidify the OEBAC brand and messaging.
Now we come to the new team that will be supporting you and your loved ones going forward.
Executive assistant Paula D’Sousa was one of the first OEBAC employees and has stepped up in countless ways to complete tasks and keep OEBAC running smoothly. Communications specialist Breeann Gallagher has been working on the all-important messaging for the new endeavour, and accounting lead Emanuel Silva has been vital in getting all of the financial details sorted for the corporation.
Senior claims administrator, Dr. Divya Vallecha is a physician with experience handling health insurance products. Divya has been reviewing the intricacies of the Life and Health Plans and pushing the envelope to ensure our claims processes are leading edge.
Junior claims administrator, Darlene Simpson brings a wealth of industry experience as a disability case manager at a large financial institution. Darleen has been working to ensure we are prepared to support the members applying for, or currently on, disability.
Director, pension and benefits, David Kearney is our latest addition. He is a “pensions guy” with an enormous amount of experience having spent most of his career dealing with the various facets of pensions, especially for multi-employer pension plans like ours.
We are continuing to look for additional staff, especially to support taking over the pension plan administration at the end of 2019.
I am committed to providing you the best that OEBAC can be. As we gain experience, we will adjust and evolve with you.
We will be sending instructions and documents in the mail to introduce you to OEBAC in the coming days. Please read things carefully and confirm your information when needed. If you have any questions, reach out to the OEBAC team.
We exist to serve you and to make your life, and the lives of your loved ones, healthier.
We’ve got your BAC!