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Allianz PNB bullish on PH insurance market

/ 05:10 AM November 22, 2017

Life insurer Allianz PNB plans to build a significant footprint in the Philippines, where it expects to reclaim a slot among the country’s top 10 life insurance companies over the short term.

Now controlled by German insurance giant Allianz—which bought into the old insurance firm, PNB Life, in the middle of last year—Allianz PNB also plans to build a 3,000-man agency force by 2020 from only 300 this year, Allianz PNB president and chief executive officer Olaf Kliesow said in a briefing yesterday.

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Over the short-term, Kliesow said the goal of Allianz PNB would be to rejoin the ranks of the country’s 10 largest insurers. As of the end of 2016, Allianz PNB ranked 14th based on its P2.7 billion in premium income or revenue generated from the total premium charged on policies.

This year, new business is expected to breach the P5-billion mark, doubling last year’s level. “We’re closing a very successful year. It’s much better than I had hoped for,” Kliesow said.

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The building of its agency force will complement selling activities at the branches of banking partner Philippine National Bank, which has 660 branches in the Philippines and 70 overseas. For bancassurance or the cross-selling of insurance products at bank branches, PNB Allianz will have one financial adviser for every two branches.

Since the entry of Allianz as its controlling shareholder in the middle of last year, Allianz PNB has been revamping its product portfolio.

“One thing is that PNB had been very much focused on structured products and single premium products before and we’re moving toward regular premium protection products. That’s why we also brought in critical illness (protection) as one of the products and included funds from Allianz global investments,” he said.

Moving forward, Kliesow said Allianz PNB would also venture into opportunities in microinsurance, healthcare, assistance and bring new funds to tie in protection products every quarter.

Across the globe, the rising middle class is driving more demand for protection products, he said. This is the challenge that insurers are constantly trying to address.

In the case of the Philippines, he said the protection gap was “significant” and still growing.

The so-called protection gap—or the difference in the amount of money available to make sure that people can maintain their current level of lifestyle if the breadwinner passes away—is estimated at P1.2 million per household in the Philippines.

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Asked how different it is for Allianz to enter the Philippine market now compared to when it first tried to get in decades ago, Kliesow said that 10 to 15 years ago, Allianz had very small operations. The group had to shut down the local business later on because its strategic goal was to expand and set up larger operations since Allianz usually ranks among the top three players in insurance in other markets.—DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

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