Image courtesy of Sun Life Philippines

SUN LIFE of Canada (Philippines), Inc. targets sustained growth in 2023 as it looks to launch new products to cater to its clients’ needs amid higher interest rates and elevated inflation.

Sun Life Philippines Chief Executive Officer and Country Head Benedict C. Sison told reporters on Monday that the life insurer is “cautiously optimistic” even as it targets double-digit growth by next year.

“We’ve been growing double digits, so next year will be another double-digit year,” Mr. Sison said.

The company was the top insurer in the country in terms of premium income in 2021 with P45.47 billion, up 15.9% from P39.23 billion recorded the previous year.

Mr. Sison attributed the growth to the company’s brand and reputation and their productive agency force. He said the coronavirus pandemic also prompted more Filipinos to get life insurance products.

“One of the things that the pandemic did was it highlighted the importance the value of life and health insurance,” Mr. Sison said.

This sentiment mostly came from people who were under-insured or felt vulnerable during the health crisis, and from Filipinos who realized their families will not be in the best financial position should something unexpected happen, he said.

Mr. Sison said Sun Life Philippines paid around P4 billion in claims and maturities in the first nine months of 2022, showing its strong financial position, which he expects to be sustained next year. 

“We have a long roster of products to be launched next year covering life, health and wellness. Our products are really meant to basically address the changing the needs of our clients, and our client needs are changing day by day,” the official added.

“With rising inflation, obviously interest rates will go up. And because interest rates are going up, it kind of dampens the sentiments of people in the equities market. A lot of individuals are more fearful in their investing,” Mr. Sison said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has so far raised benchmark interest rates by 300 basis points since May to tame inflation.

Headline inflation averaged 5.4% in the first 10 months of 2022, lower than the central bank’s revised 5.8% full-year forecast but well above its 2-4% target. 

“This is where market education or financial literacy is very important because what we tell our clients is to invest on three things: their goals, their time horizon, and their risk appetite,” Mr. Sison said.

“This is when we have to deepen our relationship with our clients and basically reinforce to them the value of constantly investing to help them address the needs in their life, wealth and health journey,” he added. — Keisha B. Ta-asan