THE PHILIPPINE American Life and General Insurance Co. Inc. (Philam Life) targets to expand its customer base to 110,000 people this year and its workforce by hiring 10,000 agents amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press video conference, Philam Life CEO Kelvin Ang said the company wants to insure 110,000 people this year with at least P1 million worth of coverage each, or around P110 billion in total.

As of April 30, Mr. Ang said the life insurer was around 30% of its full-year target, with 34,513 insured or P30.7 billion of basic sum assured.

Mr. Ang said the company’s total sum assured via its critical illness insurance products reached P92 billion in 2019, higher compared to the P61 billion recorded in 2018 and P47 billion in 2017.

In terms of life covered, he said the basic sum assured for death coverage also increased to P408 billion last year from the P385 billion seen the year prior and P365 billion in 2017.

Even with most businesses reeling from the impact of the ongoing health crisis, Mr. And said they are still looking to expand by hiring 10,000 financial advisers in the next 12 months.

“We like to do more, we like to be able to have more people out there and talk about insurance protection.. so we would like to hire as many as possible. In fact, we set ourselves a target over the next 12 months, we hope to recruit like 10,000 financial advisors and bank sales,” he said.

Last year, Mr. Ang said Philam Life will invest at least P3 billion in the next three years to build its agency distribution.

In the same briefing, Philam Life Chief Financial Officer Gary James Ogilvie said the company had a strong finish in 2019, with the value of its new business recording “strong double-digit growth” but stopped short of giving figures as its results have yet to be validated by the Insurance Commission (IC).

“Our financial stability also remains strong, with our excess capital five times the amount set by the IC and our net worth at P77.12 billion and assets at P247.03 billion (based on 2018 data),” Mr. Ogilvie said.

For this year, he said they noticed a “small number” of claims related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as they included the new disease in their products’ coverage, but the overall claims rate still remains within expectations and estimates “so we’re not seeing any issues in terms of absorbing COVID claims.”

On his outlook for the country, Mr. Ogilvie said the Philippine insurance industry presents huge investment opportunities due to the low penetration rate, high protection gap worth around P2.7 trillion, strong macroeconomic fundamentals, its young dynamic population with an emerging middle class, as well as the country’s long-term strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth outlook.

“If fundamentals remain in the Philippines for a very strong long-term growth for insurance… while there maybe some short-term issues economically, I think the long-term growth potential remains strong and [bodes well for] the long-term growth opportunities for insurance to also remain very strong,” he said. — Beatrice M. Laforga