THE LIFE insurance industry is projecting double-digit growth this year amid moves to reach untapped markets via digitization and a push for greater financial literacy.

Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA) President Benedict C. Sison said the industry will focus on addressing the lack of financial literacy on the market in order to reach the underserved.

“Second would be digitalization (which) will allow us to reach untapped client segments. It’s underpenetrated, so sometimes you have to use digital to reach untapped client segments,” Mr. Sison told reporters on the sidelines of a PLIA event Thursday.

“I couldn’t give an exact number but I think double-digit growth for 2020 (for the life insurance sector),” Mr. Sison added.

According to the Insurance Commission (IC), the overall indurance industry’s premium income was P224.97 billion in the nine months to September, up 2.76% year-on-year. The life insurance sector accounted for P172.05 billion of net premiums, while the nonlife sector accounted for P44.02 billion.

With greater financial literacy and wider reach through technology, Mr. Sison said the industry stands to raise its penetration rate, which is currently below 2%.

“We’re such an underpenetrated market. So there’s really huge opportunity. We’re really very positive about this,” he said, “We hope to be able to increase the penetration rate.”

IC estimates that the industry accounts for about 1.69% of the economy.

Premiums per capita rose 1.16% year-on-year to P2,077.30.

Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa has said the regulator is expecting “steady” growth for the industry this year. — Beatrice M. Laforga