What can I do to make a difference? It’s a question that Leza Muir, senior vice-president and chief operating officer at Pacific Blue Cross, says has been a personal mantra in her work. But it’s also a reflection of an approach and philosophy that extends throughout the organization.
“When I think about why Pacific Blue Cross has been successful, it’s because we’re really helping people,” she said.
“Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of British Columbians. We always have an eye to whether our products and services are going to make a difference in somebody’s health overall.”
The not-for-profit health benefits society provides health, dental, life and disability products for employers, as well as health, dental and travel insurance for individuals, along with newly emerging products such as critical illness insurance. Pacific Blue Cross was formed by the merger of two not-for-profit health benefits societies in 1997 that had long been in operation in BC.
“We were often competitors, and we thought we’d be a stronger organization if we joined forces,” she said.
It was a good decision: Pacific Blue Cross has thrived, growing over the years, and continuing to serve local companies, families and individuals. Their long history in this province gives them an edge in understanding how changes in health care will impact residents here.
“That’s what I think makes Pacific Blue Cross distinct: we are here in BC and really understand the BC health landscape, and as such we integrate very closely with government programs.”
Being able to streamline services with government programs and health care providers has allowed Pacific Blue Cross to offer more efficient assistance to its members. And when there are changes to drug policies or health care legislation, they respond by being fully knowledgeable and proactive because of their close relationship with local agencies.
“We’ve been able to work in partnership and in tandem with the provincial government to introduce certain services to our members that are unique,” she said. But it’s a constant process of evolution, always looking for new and innovative ways to provide top-notch service, across all aspects of the organization.
“Excellence to me personally is about giving back to people, and excellence at Pacific Blue Cross is the same: it’s about how we hear and listen to our members, showing empathy and being respectful in every interaction,” says Muir, who just won the Burnaby Board of Trade’s Business Person of the Year award. She credits the team of staff – about 750 total at the Burnaby headquarters – for being the vital piece that makes it all possible.
“We have amazing people here,” she said. “Our team is committed to doing what’s important to our members, making sure that they are looked after. I am very proud of our staff and how they interact with our members – I think the extra steps and time they take to understand our members is one of the most important aspects of our work.”
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