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Philam Life plans microinsurance venture

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By Karl Angelo N. Vidal, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINE American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life) is looking at venturing into the microinsurance business as it works towards narrowing the protection gap among Filipinos.

In an interview, Philam Life Chief Marketing Officer Leonardo D. Tan, Jr. said offering microinsurance products “has been part of the plan” of Philam Life.

“That has always been part of the plan. It’s just a matter of timing and prioritization,” Mr. Tan told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the life insurer’s product launch in Makati City on Thursday.

Mr. Tan added that Philam Life might need to team up with certain firms that specializes the microinsurance segment.

“But microinsurance might entail a different distribution platform. That’s where probably be need to partner with certain institutions who have a captive markets when it comes to that segment.”

The life insurer is looking to help narrow the country’s protection gap or the amount of insurance needed by Filipinos.

Mr. Tan said the country currently has a protection gap of around P1.5 trillion which could balloon up to P2.7 trillion by 2020 if not addressed.

Rather than expanding its distribution network, Mr. Tan noted that Philam Life is now focused on improving customer experience.

“For so many years, [it] has been distribution-centric, so our expansion right now is actually how to improve the customer experience,” he said. “What we want to do is improve that entire journey from learning, buying, after-sales, claiming and hopefully referring us to our customers’ friends and family.”

Philam Life added it is using digital platforms to “enhance the experience of the customers” as it veers away from the strategy of other life insurers using e-commerce platforms as a distribution channel.

“In Asia, face-to-face transaction is still important since insurance is highly emotional… Digital will form a part, but customers will still opt to sit down with advisers and have that honest conversation.”

Currently, Philam Life has 8,000 agents. Aside from this, the branches of its bancassurance partner Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) also serve as distribution channels.

“You can expect more groundbreaking products. What’s important is you keep on innovating,” Mr. Tan added.

On Thursday, Philam Life launched “Active Joint Critical Protect,” a health and life insurance product that protects two related individuals.

Data from the Insurance Commission as of end-2017 showed Philam Life and its bancassurance affiliate BPI-Philam Life Assurance Co. posted a combined total premium income of P40.2 billion, making the Philam Group the biggest life insurer in the country.

It is serving almost 600,000 individual policyholders and over 2.2 million insured group members.





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