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Life insurers’ premiums likely grew 17%

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THE PHILIPPINE Life Insurance Association, Inc. (PLIA) said gross premiums of the life insurance industry likely grew 17% in 2018 on the back of a growing middle class and rising awareness among Filipinos to get insured.

During the induction of new officers, PLIA President Olaf Kliesow said the life insurance sector likely grew 16.75% in 2018 in terms of gross premiums written, assuming the industry’s performance in the fourth quarter was at around the same pace as the comparable 2017 period.

“16% is the outlook for 2018…but that’s estimate because we only know the figures as of third quarter,” Mr. Kliesow told reporters yesterday.

In the July-September period, life insurers booked a 20.39% growth in terms of gross premiums written.

Mr. Kliesow attributed the expected expansion of the life insurance industry to the rising number of middle class citizens, as well as the increasing public awareness of the benefits of getting an insurance policy.

“I think it’s a combination of factors. It’s just reflecting the [growth] of the middle class. So it’s a reflection of the strong economic output also in 2018,” he said.

PLIA noted that the economy remained strong in 2018, even as full-year gross domestic product growth slowed to 6.2% from the 6.7% pace in 2017 as elevated inflation slowed consumer spending.

Mr. Kliesow also attributed the expected premium growth in 2018 to consciousness about the benefits of being insured, boosted by the efforts of the industry to promote financial literacy.

Looking ahead, Mr. Kliesow is expecting to log another double-digit growth in terms of written premiums this year, on the back of improved economic outlook.

“I would be very happy if it’s another year that would generate premiums in excess of 10%,” he said. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal