ETIQA LIFE & General Assurance Philippines, Inc. (Etiqa Philippines) expects its premiums to grow by low double-digits this year and next amid increased demand for medical services, its top official said.

“We’re still actually very bullish as far as our premium growth is concerned…. So, we are expecting to continue with that momentum and growth up until the end of the year and by next year,” Etiqa Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Rico T. Bautista said in an interview on the sidelines of an event last week.

The company also sees high double-digit growth for its new business annual premium equivalent (NBAPE), Mr. Bautista added.

“We’re actually positive both on premium and new business APEs as compared to the industry, because the industry is actually negative on the premium side, but we are positive,” he said.

More individuals are availing of medical services, which Etiqa Philippines is mostly focused on, Mr. Bautista said.

“That’s what we are monitoring in terms of the progress of the claims of people,” he said.

Premium growth is also unlikely be affected by high inflation, although its income could take a hit, Mr. Bautista said.

Etiqa Philippines booked a premium income of P1.57 billion in the first quarter this year, with an NBAPE of P411.19 million, data from the Insurance Commission showed.

The company recorded a net loss of P30.95 million in the period.

Meanwhile, life insurers could see steady year-on-year premium growth, said Mr. Bautista, who is also the president of industry group Philippine Life Insurance Association, Inc. (PLIA).

“Overall, it would still be on the cautious side, meaning to say we would be traversing on a breakeven versus last year… But it’s not yet a very positive high growth perspective,” he said.

Companies’ performances have remained mixed, Mr. Bautista said.

“So, for PLIA, it will be a mix. There will be companies that will continue to grow, but there are also companies who are challenged in terms of their performance,” he added.

The life insurance sector saw its premium income fall by 2.25% to P149.47 billion in the second quarter, data from the industry regulator showed. — A.M.C. Sy