MANILA, Philippines—The Insurance Commission (IC) placed the following 30 preneed companies under conservatorship as of February 2012:
1. Comprehensive Annuity Plans and Pensions
2. Garden of Memories Park and Chapel
3. Ideal Pension Plans
5. Classic Plans
6. First Interstate Miltiplex Pension Plans
7. Gillamac Life and Pension Plans
8. Global Family Protection Plans
9. Holy Life Plan
10. Premiere Memorial Plans
11. Redeemer Life Plan
12. Supreme Educational Plan
13. Celestial Memorial Life Plans
14. Samson Memorial Plan
15. East Asia Plans
16. Capitol Plans
17. Excel Memorial Life Plans
18. Group Developer
19. Familicare Plans
20. Prudentialife Plans
21. Grayline Plans
22. Rhine Plans
23. Primeplan International
24. Pryce Plans
26. Savior Life Plan
27. Phil Asia Care Plans
28. Danvil Plans
29. Special Plans
30. Pension and Retirement Plan
The IC later ordered the liquidation of Prudentialife Plans.
In addition, there were 11 distressed preneed firms as of March 2013 whose trust funds were under liquidation either by the Securities and Exchange Commission-appointed liquidator or the corporation, and five were under rehabilitation/receivership/liquidation by a Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Preneed firms under liquidation by a SEC-appointed liquidator were:
1. All Asiaplans
2. Asian Diamond Plans
3. Family Plans
4. GEI Guaranteed Education
5. Legacy Consolidated Plans
6. Metropolitan Life Plan
7. Millennium Plans
8. OCE Plans
9. Scholarship Plan
10. Success Education Guarantee System
11. University Plans
Under rehabilitation/receivership/liquidation by an RTC are the following:
1. Abundance Provider and Entrepreneurs
2. College Assurance Plan Philippines
3. Pet Plans
4. Platinum Plans
The preneed business in the country began in 1966 with the establishment of Pacific Memorial Plan Inc. (which became Pacific Plans Inc.). Pacific Memorial offered memorial services regardless of actual cost at the time it is to be used.
In 1976, Professional Pension Plan (which became Professional Financial Plans) offered the first preneed pension plan, which entitled plan holders to receive benefits upon retirement or maturity of the plan.
Four years later, College Assurance Plan (CAP) introduced the traditional or open-ended education plan, which provided for tuition and other expenses. The open-ended plan stipulated that the preneed firm shoulder the tuition of the beneficiaries regardless of any tuition increases.
Between 1994 and 2001, CAP and other preneed companies enjoyed enormous success, with sales growing 127 percent. By 2006, the industry had accumulated a trust fund of P94.27 billion.
A trust fund, an asset account that includes stocks, real estate and bonds, must provide a sufficient source of money at any given time to pay for current and future obligations.
After the rapid growth came the decline.
From 2001 to 2003, CAP’s trust fund assets yielded returns of 3.06 percent, way below the more than 200-percent increase in tuition. Still, CAP and other companies persisted in selling open-ended plans.
This caused the CAP trust fund deficiency to reach P17.2 billion. In 2004, CAP-issued dishonored checks amounted to P149.82 million.
In 2005, both CAP and Pacific Plans filed for rehabilitation with the Makati RTC, citing their inability to service debts and pay future claims.
In 2009, the Supreme Court approved the rehabilitation of CAP and upheld the Makati RTC decision ordering the suspension of the payment of all plan holders’ claims during CAP’s rehabilitation.
That year, investment banker and Asian Spirit Airlines founder Noel Oñate announced his purchase of Pacific Plans for P250 million.
In January 2009, Legacy Consolidated Plans and two other Legacy Group preneed firms—Scholarship Plan Philippines and All Asia Plans—ceased operations. The Legacy preneed firms owed P1.1 billion to some 50,000 plan holders, including some 12,000 police officers and soldiers.
Legacy Group owner Celso de los Angeles died in March 2012, but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has said that his death would not affect efforts of regulators to seek justice for the group’s victims.
Causes of decline
Several factors have been cited to have contributed to the industry’s decline.
Among these were the continued sale of open-ended plans despite the deregulation of tuition in 1992 that led to the skyrocketing of tuition; the 1997 Asian financial crisis that caused trust fund investments to have lower interest yields; inappropriate accounting practices; collusion among preneed companies and their affiliates; investment in related companies and interlocking directorates; lack of capability by the regulator to adequately monitor the industry; and lack of a Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.-type insurance for the industry.—Inquirer Research