THE Insurance Commission (IC) saw income from brokerage activities inch up last year, despite lower commissions earned, due to the growing online platforms.

In a statement, IC said it collected P52.07 billion mediated premium income from the 62 registered brokerage firms last year, up 2.46% from the P50.82 billion recorded in end-2015.

This represented about 44.49% of the total P117.29 billion premium income of the insurance industry in 2016.

Non-life insurance premium income accounted for 84.85% or P44.19 billion of total brokers’ income, while the life insurance sector generated P7.88 billion, IC data showed.

On the other hand, life insurance premiums that year amounted to P7.88 billion, which made up 15.14% of the overall mediated premium by the insurance brokerage industry.

However, these brokerage firms reported a 2.25% decrease in commissions to P6.53 billion from the P6.68 billion recorded in 2015.

“The reason for this slight decrease can be attributed to the 36.61% decrease in the commissions earned by brokers from the life insurance business from P1.83 billion in 2015 to P1.16 billion in 2016,” Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa was quoted in a statement as saying.

Non-life insurance commissions — which represent 82.24% of the total commissions of the industry — however grew 10.72% to P5.37 billion last year from P4.85 billion in 2015.

“The top five insurance brokers which produced more than half of the total premium produced by the insurance brokerage industry are BDO Insurance Brokers, Inc., AON Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers Philippines, Inc., Marsh Philippines, Inc., HSBC Insurance Brokers (Phils.), Inc. and Jardine Lloyd Thompson Insurance Brokers, Inc.,” IC said.

Moreover, IC also noted that premium income from the 19 registered reinsurance brokerage companies stood at P1.35 billion, with commissions at P168.72 million.

Mr. Funa noted that brick and mortar brokerage firms are on a tight spot, given the rise of online services to market firms’ insurance products, Mr. Funa said

“The insurance brokerage industry is confronted with the several challenges including the use of online platforms by insurance companies in selling their product and the continued growth in the sales force of insurance companies,” said Mr. Funa.

“However, insurance brokers should take this as an opportunity to upgrade and improve their services for the benefit of their clients—the insuring public,” the IC Commissioner added.

He said the IC is currently reviewing its rules and regulations in order to further strengthen the framework governing insurance brokerage companies. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan