Collaboration between insurers, fintechs eyed

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MANULIFE Philippines is the chair of the new insurtech committee of Fintech PH. — BW FILE PHOTO

MANUFACTURERS Life Insurance Co. (Phils.), Inc. (Manulife Philippines) eyes to boost collaboration between insurance firms and financial technology (fintech) companies to improve customer experience and increase awareness in insurance.

In an event on Wednesday, Manulife Philippines Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Henson said the life insurer is now the chair of the newly formed “insurtech” committee of Fintech Philippines Association (Fintech PH).

“It’s very important for us to learn new and emerging technologies, and gain access to new solutions that we could potentially use to make our customer experience better and easier,” Ms. Henson told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

She added that one of the committee’s objectives is to promote collaboration among industry players as well as with regulators to explore non-traditional platforms, processes and products for the customers.

“The way we see insurtech is it enables us to deliver the best service for our customers. That’s not always to come in a form of a new product. In some instances, it comes in the form of enhancing the way we deliver our services.”


Eventually, she added the partnerships fostered may eventually translate to improve insurance penetration in the country.

“What we hope to do as chair of the insurance committee is to foster collaboration across the industry so we can increase insurance penetration and adoption and accessibility of insurance in the market.”

The Insurance Commission said insurance penetration in the country — defined as the ratio of premiums compared to the gross domestic product — was at 1.76% as of end-September, up 0.12 percentage point year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Lloyd’s said in a report published last year that the Philippines is one of the countries with the largest insurance gap valued at $4.9 billion.

Within the year, Ms. Henson said the newly-formed committee plans to capture the five biggest life insurance firms in the country before the yearend, and eventually branch out to other insurance sectors.

“The first thing to do is increase our membership among the ranks of our peers in the industry. We have to come together in the spirit of collaboration and come up with that goal together,” she said.

Based on Fintech PH’s website, it currently has four members from the insurance industry, namely Manulife, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc., Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp. and FWD Life Insurance Corp.

Manulife said it has been a member of Fintech PH since 2018. Through its membership, it was able to tap fintechs to provide business solutions.

“We’ve actually run tests with one — this one has to do with after-sales service. The experiments were successful, so we’re hopeful this is something we can roll out,” the insurance executive said.

Ms. Henson added it also partnered with another fintech firm to work on another segment of its value chain.

“We get to meet the talent that is out there. We gain access to the new technology and ideas that is really driving a lot of change across many industries,” she noted. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal