By Imee Charlee C. Delavin, Reporter

BPI-Philam Life sees insurance demand growth

Posted on May 05, 2016

BPI-PHILAM LIFE Assurance Corp. has set “very ambitious” targets this year, still banking on the good prospects of the insurance industry.

Premium income of the joint venture between the AIA Group subsidiary and Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) was the fourth highest in the life insurance industry last year at P20.79 billion, up 44% from the prior year’s P19.48 billion.

Its net income stood at P1.2 billion while its assets were at P76.4 billion in 2015.

BPI-Philam President and CEO Ariel G. Cantos cited the Philippines’ low insurance penetration, expanding middle class, widening protection gap and rising income as opportunities to grow the insurance industry and push penetration higher from the 1.74% at end-2015, which lagged behind the 3% average of its peers in the region.

“We see a lot of opportunities out there... there’s a huge need for life insurance protection since the penetration rate is still less than 2%,” Mr. Cantos told reporters in a media briefing.

“The number of new companies coming to the Philippines is proof of the huge opportunities here... we set very ambitious targets this year. Good companies should aspire for something that is lofty,” he added.

In the past years, BPI-Philam premium income growth was seen at 35% at average. Last year, the company’s premium growth exceeded the industry’s 18% and was the fastest in its five years of operations.

For the first quarter of 2016, Mr. Cantos said premium income was already higher than last year’s January to March level, although he didn’t give specific figures.

“It’s better than what we achieved last year,” he said, adding that better growth this year is possible since the opportunity is there “and you just have to have the right strategy.”

BPI-Philam is targeting to fully cover the more than 800 consolidated branches of the Ayala-led bank with bancassurance sales executives (BSEs) within the year “depending on opportunities.” Currently they have over 700 BSEs nationwide.

The venture offers 10 products and is looking to add three to four more products this year.

Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life) raked in P21.17 billion in premium income last year, the third highest in the life insurance industry from P18.31 billion previously. It topped life insurers in terms of assets, net worth and net income in 2015 ending the year with P188.633 billion in assets, a net worth of P40.969 billion and net income of P7.5 billion.

Philam Life Chief Investment Officer Arleen May S. Guevara also said the life insurer is looking to participate in infrastructure projects to expand its investments.