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Biz Buzz: Shedding old skin

/ 01:19 AM June 27, 2012

One of the country’s biggest insurance firms, Philam Life, recently executed a bold rebranding strategy meant to revitalize the brand … and put some distance between the local insurer and the embarrassing financial debacle that afflicted its parent firm a couple of years ago.

Instead of the old blue logo, Philam Life now sports a bright red one—using the same letter type—to be aligned with the corporate colors of its new parent firm, Hong Kong-based AIA Group.

AIA was formerly a unit of AIG, until the latter spun off the former last year to raise cash to repay its US-government bailout.

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According to our sources, the cost of the entire rebranding operation—for new signages for Philam’s branches nationwide to new office stationery—was a cool P22 million (a small price to pay, of course, for the benefits of revitalizing one’s business).

The entire effort to distance Philam from AIG is made easier by the fact that its former head honcho, Jose Cuisia Jr., is now Philippine ambassador to Washington. Given his close friendship with former AIG boss Hank Greenberg, parting ways with the US insurer would have been a bit difficult and awkward.—Daxim L. Lucas

Subic accident

Former RCBC Securities president Jerome Tan passed away last weekend after he drowned in Zambales.

According to word that reached Biz Buzz, Tan and his friend were trying out a new yacht last Saturday in Subic and decided to visit Grande Island, just at the mouth of the bay. They anchored the boat off the island and jumped into the water to swim to the shore but soon found themselves overpowered by the strong undertow that waters off Zambales are known for.

Despite being “very fit” and a “good swimmer”—as attested to by his good friends, who invariably described him as a “nice guy”—Tan was apparently overcome by the current. Only his friend made it to the island, and the banker was later found with a very weak pulse. Tan expired soon after.

Tan resigned from the brokerage firm about two months ago amid troubles concerning the supposedly rogue trades executed by the firm’s rainmaker (who has since made herself scarce). According to his friends, Tan was advised early this year by a geomancer to “stay away from salt water.”—Daxim L. Lucas

Boys with big toys

The sons of American tycoon Donald Trump Jr.—Donald Jr. and Eric, who are in town for a brief visit, specifically for the groundbreaking of Trump Tower Manila and a medical mission for “Operation Smile”—were asked during a briefing Tuesday about the best part of working in real estate.

“We get to be boys that play with big toys,” said Donald Jr. “We get to build stuff. We didn’t have conventional childhood playing ball or football in the backyard with our father. We followed him in job sites, on building sites, in negotiations.” What’s special for him, Donald said, was the “tangible” nature of real estate—building something creative that is permanent. “In finance, you pull some numbers out of thin air. In real estate, you’re building something that will make its mark in the world and will be there for a very, very long time,” he said.

Eric, for his part, feels privileged to have “the pick of the litter” when it comes to the best projects around the world and building the “biggest and best” structures anywhere on the planet. “And being able to do that with family makes it even more enjoyable.”

As to the best lesson from their dad, Donald Jr. said it was as basic as “you really have to love what you do or you’ll never do it well.” Long before Trump coined the phrase “You’re fired!” Donald Jr. said their dad would tell them that they would have to perform well to stay in the family business. “Or I’ll fire you like a dog,” he said, quoting Donald Sr. “He’s a businessman and he’d never subsidize our employment at the ultimate expense of his company.”—Doris C. Dumlao

Operation Smile

Likewise part of the itinerary of the younger Trumps is to go to the medical mission of “Operation Smile,” a global children’s charity organization that helps treat facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates. As the younger Trumps and local partner Antonios are actively involved in this organization, the Century Property Group has committed to donate to the Philippine chapter of “Operational Smile” P50,000 for every unit of the plush Trump Tower Manila sold at a cocktail event scheduled Tuesday night that was to be graced by the Trump brothers.—Doris C. Dumlao

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TAGS: AIA, Death notice, Insurance, Jerome Tan, Operation Smile, Philam Life, Philippines, Trump brothers
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