PHILIPPINE AXA Life Insurance Corp. (AXA Philippines) is bullish on its growth prospects despite the supposed turbulence in the market due to elevated inflation, it said as it launched its training academy for its financial advisors on Tuesday.
The insurance company said it continued to grow above the industry average of life insurance premiums in the first three months of the year.
“The first quarter was good for us. We grew by 67% in the first quarter 2018 over the first quarter of 2017. We were twice as fast as the industry in 2017, and you will expect that 2018 would be no different for us. We will be growing much be faster,” AXA Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Rahul Hora said in a media roundtable yesterday.
He said demand is relatively inelastic for insurance products compared to other consumer goods amid high inflation in the first half of the year, which averaged 4.3% with the June print at 5.2%.
“On a short-term basis, inflation impacts the performance of the industry. But going back to the basics, insurance is more meant for long-term savings. So once the market has stabilized, sales will start to happen again.”
He said growth was also supported by consumers’ higher purchasing power on the back of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law (TRAIN), which lowered personal income taxes while raising taxes on some goods.
“We are happy that the TRAIN law has created more funds available for the customers, and if you look at all those factors. I think overall and when people are more affluent, they will want to ensure that they and their families get access to better health facilities,” Mr. Hora said.
Mr. Hora’s outlook came after the firm launched the AXA Academy in Makati yesterday, a new institution for training AXA’s financial advisors and employees.
“We are spending a lot of time on training on financial analysis. We are in a people’s business and financial advice is so important to us. We want our distributors to be enabled with the right quality of financial advice to customers.”
Mr. Hora said AXA currently has 4,000 financial advisors and aims to increase it to 5,000 by the end of the year.
He said its advisors will go through a certification program in the academy and will be briefed on emerging market trends and new products of AXA.
“The focus is in the areas of health and long-term investments like fore financial needs for retirement. In the months to come, you would see more products like that.”
The training of its financial advisors has been a requirement even before the new AXA Academy. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan