Manulife cites insurance growth in RP due to remittances, new gov’t



By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – Increased remittances from overseas Filipino workers and renewed optimism in the new Philippine government resulted in higher growth sales for insurance company Manulife Philippines in the second quarter of 2010.

The company also posted a 44 percent increase in the number of agents for this year, indicating increased sales potential by the company. The company now has 1,725 sales agents, up from 1,200 in 2009.

In a press briefing, Manulife Philippines President and CEO Indren Naidoo said the company generated 88 percent increase in weighted insurance sales for the second quarter over the same period last year. He noted a 71 percent growth year-to-date as of June 30 this year.

Naidoo said that while much of their life insurance policyholders are in A and B economic segment, they will soon be aiming for the lower income bracket with a P500 per month low premium life insurance.  He said they plan to introduce the service sometime by the end of 2010.

Naidoo explained that the introduction of a low premium life insurance service is aimed at getting Filipinos in the low income bracket to get a policy, which he said is more of a long-term investment rather than added financial burden.

The introduction of low premium insurance should augment Manulife’s existing business, which is still 80 percent traditional insurance and about 20 percent in investments.

Manulife is ranked fifth as of December 2009 by the Insurance Commission in terms of overall assets, and eighth in terms of income from premiums.

He also compared the low market penetration for life insurance in the Philippines, pegged at only 14 percent by the Insurance Commission of the Philippines , to other countries where life insurance is nearly 100 percent. For instance, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia’s insurance penetration rate is at 100 percent.

“Filipinos have to realize that life insurance is not an expense, but rather a financial protection for their loved ones when someone passes away. The death of a loved one shouldn’t be compounded by the financial burden that comes with it,” Naidoo said.

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