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Deeper insurance ‘penetration' seen

An official of an insurance company is optimistic on the continued rise of insurance penetration in the Philippines as industry players vie to open more access points for the masses to avail insurance products.

Pioneer Life Inc. President and CEO Lorenzo Chan Jr. told reporters Wednesday that Filipinos are now more educated in terms of their financial know-how but are still afraid to get insurance, given misconceptions that it is similar to pre-need products.

He stressed the need for companies to help in further educating the people to make them understand the difference between insurance and pre-need products as well as the importance of having insurance to protect their lives.

The Insurance Commission expects penetration of microinsurance, in particular, to hit 48.7 percent by mid-2022 after its rise to 25.4 percent as of end-September 2016.

At the end of the third quarter last year, life insurance covered about 7.5 million people or about 29 percent of the total microinsured while the non-life insurance sector accounted for about 12 percent, covering around 3.1 million.

On Wednesday, Pioneer and Sy-led BDO Insurance Brokers Inc. launched their tie-up, which allows Filipinos to buy Pioneer's insurance coverage for dengue fever and travel as well as on Compulsory Third-Party Liability in all 56 SM branches nationwide.
    
Chan said they measure their business' achievements not on the growth of products sales per se but on the number of lives that would be covered by the products.
    
"I think we'd be very, very pleased if we have at least a million number of lives (covered in the first year partnership with SM)," he said, citing that as of end-2016 Pioneer processed 18 million applications for insurance renewals.
    
Chan pointed out that with the Philippines' more than 100 million population "there's a big market out there."
    
He said around 80 million Filipinos belong to the masses and Pioneer is targeting them to avail of the company's retail insurance products.
    
"We're looking at a few milllion of people on the onset. Of course we just launched it this year so we're hoping to gear up for next year," he said.
    
BDOI General Manager and SVP Tracy Tan, during the same event, said the tie-up, called Insure ME@SM or Insurance Made Easy at The SM Store, will enable people to buy insurance as they do their shopping.
    
The products can be availed at The SM Store Customer Service or SM Business Services outlets.
    
The Safe Trip Comprehensive Travel Insurance Wordlwide provides medical treatment cover of up to P2.5 million and satisfies the Schengen Visa requirement.
    
International coverage can be availed for as low as P449 while domestic insurance coverage can be bought for as low as P199.
    
CTPL Insurance, in turn, amounts to P300 for motorcycle, P608 for private car, P658 for light/medium commercial vehicle; and P1,246 for heavy commercial vehicle.
    
Dengue insurance amounts to P350, with a coverage of P10,000.
    
Chan said dengue insurance can be availed several times a year if the first coverage has been availed.