SINGAPORE LIFE, a multinational, digital-only life insurance company, is expected to enter the Philippines soon, according to a senior official of the Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA).

On the sidelines of the PLIA anniversary banquet Tuesday night, PLIA President Hans Loozekoot, who is also the president and chief executive of Troo, said life insurance company Singapore Life is currently seeking a license to operate in the Philippines and is expected to boost competition with its digital approach.

“Singapore Life is seeking license in the Philippines and they will bring in more, expect a digital-only approach. And I encourage that because it will also keep the rest of the insurance companies on their toes, it keeps the pressure up because we all need to embrace change and its good to have a few companies from outside,” Mr. Loozekoot told the reporters.

Singapore Life received the Insurance Startup of the Year Award during the Insurance Asia Awards 2018 held at Singapore July last year.

Mr. Loozekoot said foreign companies entering the Philippines may eventually strengthen the life insurance sector in the country.

“So it’s good to have that dynamics coming in. And if foreign companies with strong local players bundle again, it’s about working together well to build a much stronger Philippine life insurance sector,” he said.

“I cannot comment on what they want. All I know is that they are really eager to enter the Philippines. That’s all I know and I welcome them. I’d like to work with them as well,” the official said when pressed for further details.

In an earlier email, Insurance Commission (IC) Chief Dennis B. Funa hinted that discussions were ongoing for the entry of a “major multinational insurance company” into the country.

“One interesting development is, we have ongoing discussions for the entry of a major multi-national insurance company that uses primarily digital platform in its business processes — that will be a first for this market and something to really look forward to,” he said in the email.

Earlier this month, IC reported that the insurance industry posted a higher net income in the first quarter given strong growth from all sectors.

The industry’s net income grew 46% to P11.72 billion in the first three months of the year from the P8.04 billion booked in January-March 2018, according to data based on unaudited reports submitted to the IC by life and non-life insurance companies and mutual benefit associations (MBA).

Broken down, the life insurance sector posted a P9.08-billion net income in the three months ended March, 44% higher than the P6.31 billion reported last year.

On the other hand, the combined net profit of the non-life insurance sector surged 121% to P1.04 billion from P470 million tallied in the first three months of 2018, attributable to “huge” growth in premium income, commissions, as well as other underwriting income.

The MBA sector’s income was at P1.6 billion in the first quarter, 27% higher compared to the P1.26 billion posted in the same period in 2018. — B.M. Laforga and K.A.N. Vidal