PHILIPPINE AMERICAN Life and General Insurance Co., Inc. (Philam Life) saw its net worth jump in 2017 on the back of improved premiums and reach.
In a media briefing Monday, Philam Life said it booked a net worth of P69.5 billion in 2017, a 53% jump from last year’s P45.5 billion, citing data it submitted to the Insurance Commission (IC).
The insurer’s net income grew 23% to P5.6 billion in 2017 year-on-year, while its assets rose 23% to P251.4 billion, Philam Life Chief Financial Officer Gary James Ogilvy said during the briefing.
Total premiums grew to P19.9 billion last year, up 7% from the figure booked in 2016.
New premiums climbed 15% to P12.3 billion, while variable products under the renewable premiums surged 43% to P7.3 billion in 2017.
“Last year, we again reached the highest in terms of net worth and assets in the industry. In both of those financial indicators, we outgrew the industry,” Philam Life Chief Executive Officer Ariel G. Cantos said.
“We solidified our leadership in the industry because of the focus that we are putting in our customers,” he added, noting that the insurer has began to “veer away from what we’ve started which is focusing on [its] customers.”
Mr. Cantos said Philam Life will continue to strengthen its distribution channels since selling life insurance products is “an emotional decision” as well.
“If it’s an emotional purchase, the best way to deal with that and the best way to help a person make a decision is through another individual. We will provide information for him to be more educated about the product,” he said.
Aside from this, Philam Life will also continue to invest in technology.
Philam Life Chief Marketing Officer Leonardo D. Tan, Jr. said the insurer is set to launch a digital online claim capability this quarter, which will enable customers to file and receive their claims through their bank accounts.
“Historically, customers will have to go to our branch to submit a claim. But [starting this second quarter], they will be able to submit that claim online. And the claim will be capable to be settled electronically from credit to account,” Mr. Tan said.
Philam Life officials also noted the need to narrow, and eventually close, the country’s protection gap, or the amount of insurance needed to be protected from asset loss.
“It is our responsibility to create products that customers need, and there is an obvious need to address the concern on protection gap,” Mr. Tan said in a statement.
He said the Philippines has a protection gap of “roughly about P1.5 trillion,” and it is expected to balloon to P2.7 trillion by 2020.
Meanwhile, Philam Life has also expressed interest helping fund the government’s infrastructure push.
“We are in the market to support infra[structure] projects of the government, so we’re looking at opportunities how to exactly do that,” Mr. Cantos said.
He added that the insurer is collaborating with the IC to see how they can participate in project finance for government initiatives.
Previously, Mr. Cantos said the insurer “somehow funded” projects such as the Coastal Road, Skyway as well as the Bauan Power Plant.
“We don’t see that it’s getting closer, but we sounded off our interest for those kinds of projects,” Mr. Cantos said, adding that the insurer waiting for the right signal and direction.
“We are seeking the help of IC to pave the way for that discussion. Remember, there was a change of direction that the funding of projects will come from ODA (official development assistance). Now, I think they are also looking now again at sourcing the funds of private institutions so now we are seeing that can be a window for us to get into, but how we are going to get there? We are waiting for clarity.”
The government is embarking on an P8-trillion infrastructure spending program until 2022 in an effort to boost economic growth to 7-8% until then. — K.A.N. Vidal