Sun Life hits five million clients as millennial market expands

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SUN LIFE OF Canada (Philippines), Inc. has hit its customer target one year ahead of its initial plan and is now looking at deepening its relationships with its existing client base for the next few years.

“We achieved our target five million clients last December 2019, one year ahead of schedule. So Sun Life Philippines has more than five million clients as of today,” Sun Life Philippines Chief Executive Officer and Country Head Benedicto C. Sison said in a speech at the celebration of Sun Life’s 125th anniversary in the Philippines held in Taguig City on Thursday.

The target to have a client base of five million by 2020 was unveiled in 2015, Mr. Sison said, when they only had 1.5 million policy holders.

He added that the goal was achieved due to more millennials securing policies from the insurer.

“It may interest you to know that 50% of our clients today belong to the millennial generation. And our almost 20,000-strong agency force is largely composed of millennials,” he said.

To grow its client base further, Mr. Sison said Sun Life is looking into securing “untapped client segments including OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), BPOs (business process outsourcing), as well as provincial markets.”

Moving forward, Mr. Sison said they are looking to continue launching new products and boost digitalization efforts to ease transactions.

Among its upcoming products is Sun Cancer Care, which is a critical illness insurance plan that includes benefits of “prevention, protection, and comprehensive health coverage.”

Meanwhile, the insurer will also push its digital efforts. It currently employs paperless application for some of its products.

“It’s online now for select products like simplified insurance offer and guaranteed insurance offer. And it was launched, I believe, sometime in November,” Mr. Sison told reporters after the opening of an exhibit to celebrate Sun Life’s 125th year in the country.

“The good news is towards the end of this year, we’re planning to have STP (straight-through processing) for majority of our products… From the time you apply, to the time of underwriting to the time of our policy issuance, to the service and the claims, everything will be paperless,” Mr. Sison said.

The Philippines is Sun Life’s second-biggest market in Asia, only next to Hong Kong, according to Sun Life Asia President Officer Leo Grepin.

Sun Life Financial Chief Executive Officer and President Dean Connor described the Philippine market as “dynamic” thanks to the country’s robust economic growth.

“It’s a growing market. And it starts with strong economic growth here in the Philippines. It’s been impressive to see growth of 5% plus on a sustained basis in the Philippines,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Philippine gross domestic product grew 6.2% in the third quarter of 2019, bringing the nine-month average to 5.8%.

Data from the Insurance Commission showed Sun Life collected the highest amount of premium income amounting to P37.39 billion as of end-2018.

The insurer also topped firms in terms of new business annual premiums at P8.22 billion. — L.W.T. Noble