Despite threats to public health posed by the coronavirus disease, renamed covid-19, the government is optimistic of closing 2022 with 50 million insured Filipinos.
In an interview, Juan Paolo P. Roxas, Microinsurance Head at Insurance Commission (IC), said insuring 50 million Filipinos in two years is the fighting target of the government.
“It’s the mandate of the government — to ensure 50 million Filipinos by 2022. That’s achievable. The industry is very optimistic in reaching out, particularly to the grassroots,” Roxas told reporters.
“Our goal is to work with everybody. We are now moving to tap the untapped market this year,” he added.
Roxas said the coronavirus outbreak may not hurt the insurance industry given that “human health is just one of the aspects of the business.”
He said developments such as the virus outbreak and the recent eruption of the Taal Volcano last January would make Filipinos more aware of the importance of getting insurance cover.
He said threats to public health should also challenge the insurance industry to come up with new products that would address new and emerging needs.
In a separate interview, Cebuana Lhuillier president and chief executive officer Jean Henri Lhuillier said the covid-19 outbreak is both a challenge and an opportunity for the insurance businesses.
Jonathan Batangan, first vice president and group head of Cebuana Lhuillier’s new venture Insurance Brokers Inc., said they will tap insurance partners to create new products that will provide coverage against epidemic outbreaks like covid-19.
The IC has yet to release full-year data on the industry’s performance in 2019. But as of the third quarter that year, some 40 million Filipinos have already been insured.
“We are optimistic and quite confident that by the year 2022, if things are steady just the way they are, we can hit the target. That means we have to onboard five million Filipinos a year,” Roxas stressed.
As of end-September, premium income soared 32.67 percent to P224.97 billion in three years — that’s a 2.768 percent increase from P218.91 billion in the same period in 2018.
Before this, premium income totaled P181.51 billion and P169.56 billion in the third quarter of 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Data showed life-sector premiums accounted for the bulk of 2019 premiums at P172.05 billion as of end-September while the nonlife sector contributed P44.02 billion in net premium written.
In 2016, the IC released microinsurance frameworks for agriculture, the health, and pre-need products to make the Philippines a microinsurance model in the region.