Insurers see 37% rise in 2012 premiums

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Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc PHOTO FROM INSURANCE.GOV.PH

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine life insurance industry posted a growth in total gross premiums of at least 37 percent year on year in 2012, more than double the target amount set, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc said Wednesday.

Dooc told a forum of industry executives that total gross premiums already reached P118 billion, based on preliminary figures.

He also said actual performance exceeded the industry goal of P100 billion in premiums. The target was 16 percent higher than the 2011 revenue of about P86 billion.

Dooc clarified that the 2012 data so far accounted for only 30 of the 35 licensed companies. The rest have yet to submit their reports.

“The improving domestic economy helped engender such growth in the industry,” the insurance commissioner explained. “People have more money that they can use to pay for insurance.”

He added that the reduction of the tax on insurance premiums—from 5 percent to 2 percent—also contributed in the higher-than-expected growth.

Life insurers “showed tremendous effort” in expanding their businesses through new products and offerings, Dooc said.

“There was also substantial growth in the segment of variable life insurance,” he added. “People who have cash and are looking for additional investment instruments” contributed much to this development.

Dooc was the keynote speaker in Wednesday’s induction of the Philippine Life Insurance Association’s board of directors for 2013, held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Esther Tan, president and chief executive of PNB Life Insurance, has been named PLIA’s first woman president.

Also, Dooc expressed confidence that amendments to the Insurance Code would be approved by the Congress bicameral committee before the legislature adjourns next week.

Proposed amendments include allowing insurers to invest in other financial instruments like the central bank’s special deposit accounts which, in turn, may open opportunities for further growth in the industry, Dooc said.

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