More Filipinos took out insurance policies in 2012—DOFBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Insurance products have started to become popular among the people in the country, with about 13 million Filipinos now owning micro-insurance policies.
As of the end of 2012, there were 12.9 million Filipinos who own micro-life and non-life insurance policies, the Department of Finance reported.
The figure was a stark improvement from the 6 million policyholders reported by the end of 2010, the year when micro-insurance products were first promoted by the government.
The finance department said that the number of Filipinos owning micro-insurance is expected to rise further this year.
“There has been a sharp rise in the penetration rate of micro-insurance. More and more Filipinos are now availing themselves of life and non-life protection,” said Gil Beltran, Finance Undersecretary who takes charge of the National Credit Council (NCC).
Micro-insurance products are designed for low-income earners. A micro-insurance policy normally costs P100 or less. The benefit for the policyholder usually hovers around P5,000.
Beltran said the significant increase in the penetration of micro-insurance products was due to several factors, including awareness programs conducted by the NCC and the Insurance Commission all over the country.
The targets of these awareness programs are rural areas and other low-income communities.
“The micro-insurance policies that people get range from life to non-life,” Beltran said.
The non-life products taken out are those that are meant to protect micro-businesses against damage, he added.
The rise in the number of Filipinos owning micro-insurance is also credited to the government’s push for financial entities to offer products that cater to the insurance needs of low-income individuals, Beltran said.
A few large insurance companies now offer micro-insurance.
Also, there has been an increasing number of mutual benefit associations that offer insurance and other financial services to low-income earners, he explained.
The finance department and other concerned government agencies will continue to implement programs that will boost the penetration rate of insurance products throughout the country, Beltran said.
He said that by making Filipinos financially savvy, the government will be a step closer in reducing poverty in the Philippines.