Covering Nanay authors and microinsurance champions with our CARD Pioneer Microinsurance Nanays. From left to right: authors Pia Yupangco and Dr. Aristotle Alip, Nanays Reynalyn Velasquez, Lota Siasat, and Mary Jane Galleno, with author Lorenzo Chan, Jr.

The word “Nanay” which means “mother” in English has a deeper meaning in the Filipino culture beyond its literal translation. A “Nanay” is considered the beacon of unconditional love and utmost care that shines the brightest in the Filipino household.

Unknown to many, this same maternal light has been illuminating the microinsurance industry in the Philippines through CARD Pioneer Microinsurance, Inc. (CPMI). Its radiance has now been sighted globally because of the collective dedication and drive of the Nanays.

CPMI recently launched the book, “Covering Nanay: The Philippine Microinsurance Journey,” a testament to the invaluable partnership between CARD MRI and Pioneer Insurance, and the Nanay agents. This book narrates how CPMI, with the Nanays at its core, transformed the Philippine microinsurance industry into a global benchmark for financial inclusion.

Covering Nanay talks about CARD, Pioneer and CPMI’s path from ground zero to nearly 24 million enrolments at last count.

The book is authored by CPMI founders — Dr. Aristotle Alip, CARD MRI founder; and Lorenzo Chan, Jr., Pioneer Group Head — together with Pia Yupangco.

The Origin of CARD Pioneer Microinsurance, Inc. (CPMI)

Established in 2013, CPMI is a joint venture between the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) and Pioneer Insurance. It is the country’s first non-life company specifically created to address health and accident, damage to property and agriculture as well as income loss arising from fire, calamity and other climate-related challenges of the low-income sector.

Chan, who also the Chairs the Luxemburg-based global multi-stakeholder organization known as the Microinsurance Network, reiterated their passion during the book launch of the desire to address the protection gap by bringing insurance to those who need it most. He got the idea for microinsurance when he noticed the numerous sachet products being sold in sari-sari stores in Palawan.

“I said to myself, ‘Why not offer insurance in sachet form, in bite-sized affordable chunks for the underserved and unserved who need it the most?’ We are fortunate to find the perfect partner in CARD MRI through Dr. Alip,” Chan said.

Under Dr. Alip’s leadership, CARD MRI was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 2008. Dr. Alip said that the origin of CARD Pioneer is a tale about disrupting the conventional ways of the insurance industry.

“The key in addressing the protection gap is to disrupt the normal time frame in releasing insurance claims by targeting 1-3-5 which is ideally one (1) day to pay the policy holder, three (3) days if there is need to address any possible issues, and maximum of five (5) days to release the payout or decline. This was next to impossible for insurance companies at that time, but Pioneer agreed to implement this disruptive process,” Dr. Alip said.

Dr. Alip said that the execution of 1-3-5 was crucial in gaining the trust and confidence of the Nanays to prove that they can get their benefits as fast as possible during a time of need.

“We recruited Nanays to offer microinsurance to other Nanays in communities with the promise of delivering 1-3-5. When the Nanay policyholders saw that Pioneer and later CPMI were really committed in fulfilling 1-3-5, word started to spread and we won the trust and confidence of the Nanays and their clients,” he said. 

The Microinsurance Nanays

Yupangco, one of the book’s authors and former Pioneer executive shared, “Writing this book gave me hope for the country, knowing that there are businessmen who are persistent in finding a way to empower the underserved, and the women who have seen the wisdom of insurance, and are changing lives by giving their communities access to it.” She introduced the stories of three of the several Nanays featured in the book: Lota Siasat, Mary Jane Galleno, and Reynalyn Velasquez. 

The three Nanays then took turns reading excerpts of their stories from the book during the launch held at The Studio, Fully Booked in Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

Siasat shared what motivates her, “When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is about how to help my Microinsurance Coordinators (MiC) because I want to be an inspiration to them. I tell them that they might just go beyond being an MiC, that they might one day be a Microinsurance Supervisor like me and experience how to earn and how to help others.”

Galleno narrated the value of financial protection in times of need with reference to a client’s family. “When the bereaved husband flew back home, he was surprised to learn that because of his wife’s insistence on taking out the coverage in secret, the family could claim substantial benefits. The husband was so thankful because their money had been drained by the hospital bills and they hardly had any more left for the funeral service.”

Velasquez recounted a claim story, “My decision to continue pursuing this career is not based wholly on incentive but respect. That respect comes from grateful families who have benefitted from CPMI coverage, including that of a member’s husband who first turned down Kabuklod and CARD Care coverages. As a construction worker on a per-project basis, he felt it was an extra expense he couldn’t afford. But because I patiently took him through the advantages of the policies, he finally enrolled. Six months later, he died in an accident. The family was able to claim sixty thousand pesos and they were grateful because they did not have to borrow money for burial expenses and still had some funds left to support them as they started a new life without him.”

Covering Nanay: The Philippine Microinsurance Journey has joined the best-seller list and is available in select Fully Booked outlets.


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