SUN LIFE of Canada (Philippines) Inc. is on track to achieve its goal to expand its client base to five million customers by 2020 mainly through its agency channel, officials said yesterday.
Sun Life Financial Asia President Claude A. Accum said the life insurer is poised to hit its target to capture more clients in two years as the country is “very under-penetrated.”
“The Philippine market is very under-penetrated. There’s a significant opportunity to make the market bigger,” Mr. Accum said in a press conference on Monday, adding this can be achieved by mainly growing its pool of agents.
“We believe we’re well on the track to [capture five million Filipinos by 2020], and it will require growing it in multiple ways,” he added. “The one that we’re the strongest on is [through our] agency [channel] and we’re going to continue to grow our agency force.”
Sun Life global CEO Dean A. Connor said there is a “significant opportunity” for the insurer to grow its agency force as it finds the channel as the most effective way to get more clients.
“We think agency has a big role to play in this under-penetrated market,” Mr. Connor said. “[Since] half of the people in the Philippines buying insurance have never bought one before, it actually requires many times of discussion. That’s why the agents are very effective at financial literacy and education.”
To date, Mr. Accum said Sun Life has 11,000 agents, which grew 20% from a year ago.
Aside from its agency channel, Sun Life said it will grow its client base through its bancassurance partnership with Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., as well as through digital means.
“We’re looking for digital partnerships. [We want to] offer a very affordable, easy to buy and easy to understand insurance platforms to people that would ordinarily not have access to a high-quality product from Sun Life,” Mr. Accum said.
Last year, Sun Life partnered with PLDT Group’s Voyager Innovations, Inc. to sell accident insurance product to its online marketplace Takatack.
The life insurer has also inked a partnership with shopping and selling website Lazada to offer insurance products beginning next month.
“The digital [channels] will not displace all the other channels so those three channels will coexist,” Mr. Accum noted.
Launched in 2016, the five-year growth plan of Sun Life dubbed as Rise PH seeks to capture five million Filipinos by 2020 to foster financial inclusion.
Mr. Connor said the life insurer managed to grow its clients “from 1.5 million to 3.5 million just over the last few years.”
Sun Life said it sees the Philippines as an important part of its growth story in Asia, expecting the domestic market to grow its share to the total income of the whole company over the next few years.
“The Philippines is actually contributing 7% of Sun Life’s total income,” Mr. Accum said. “We expect that to get bigger. It’s likely going to be 9-10% of the total company contribution in five or more years.”
Latest data from the Insurance Commission showed Sun Life was the country’s biggest life insurer in the Philippines in terms of premium income as of end-2017 with P32.11 billion. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal