ONLINE marketplace Lazada Philippines is partnering with four more insurance firms as the market for digital products has expanded after the pandemic led to lockdown measures and travel restrictions.

“During this time, we saw a double increase in insurance buyers compared to last year,” the e-commerce platform said in an e-mail.

Lazada did not disclose exact figures and the identity of the insurers, but said more customers had been attracted to various insurance products.

“We’ve launched quite a diverse range of insurance types in the platform, from car insurance, life plans, and health care. Moving forward, we are looking at exploring more insurance types and additional brands to onboard with us soon,” the company said.

Currently, Lazada has four insurance firms on its platform, namely: Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc., FWD Life Insurance Corp., Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd., and Generali Pilipinas Life Insurance Co., Inc.

Sun Life said the demand for insurance, especially for medical coverage, that Lazada extends to more customers had indeed grown.

“We are seeing a steady increase in the availment of these types of insurance products in Lazada. In fact, monthly availments have more than doubled in number from January to August,” Sun Life CEO and Country Head Benedicto C. Sison said in an e-mail.

Sun Life currently offers on Lazada its Life Armor, Family Armor, Personal Accident Armor and Byahero Protect. These cover costs for illnesses, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and accidents such as injuries from land-based travel.

Insular Life said the pandemic has shown the importance of insurance protection as the deadly virus and the lack of vaccine against it continue to claim lives.

“In general, we’ve seen a heightened appreciation for the benefits that life insurance protection brings to Filipino families, especially given the current health crisis,” Insular Life Executive Chairman Nina D. Aguas said in an e-mail.

Because of the expanding market for insurance products on Lazada, the company plans to offer more varied insurance products.

“Seeing the growth and promise of this segment, we plan to expand to accommodate the rise in demand. We are looking at exploring more insurance types and major players to onboard with us in the near future,” Lazada said.

In a directive in May, the Insurance Commission (IC) allowed agents until yearend — from the initial end-June period — to sell online or through other means using information and communication technology to give life and non-life insurers more selling options as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

“The difficulties they have encountered relate to lost or low sales. This is why we have exerted efforts to allow and encourage sales through technologies, such as online selling. We have allowed foregoing with the face-to-face meetings between the client and the sales agent,” IC Commissioner Dennis B. Funa said in an e-mail. — Kathryn Kristina T. Jose