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Insular Life out to woo women

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 05:03 AM September 27, 2019

Nina Aguas

Because they are the family’s finance manager, primary caregiver, and all-around go-to person, Filipino women have become one of the main priorities of mutual life insurance company Insular Life (InLife), as the company rolls out new products specifically focused on uplifting the lives of those the company calls “she-roes.”

“We see [women] at the center of the plate, especially Filipino women—they look out for their children, their husband, their parents, their siblings and even their extended family,” says Nina Aguas, InLife executive chair. “And then they have to go to work, and when something happens to her, everyone is set back because they are all dependent on her.”

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According to the recent InLife Sheroes Landmark study commissioned by the company and undertaken by the the Philippine Survey and Research Center, six out 10 of Filipino women manage their own money or take on the task of managing the household budget.

The study, which was conducted between February and March 2019 among 800 women ages 26 to 55 years old nationwide, also revealed that while Filipino women across socioeconomic classes are careful spenders, only one-fifth of them are able to save for future needs and emergencies.

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“More alarming is that, while life insurance awareness is at 30 percent, ownership is only at 4 percent,” says InLife executive vice president and Insular Health Care president Noemi Azura.

Azura also takes note of another finding: 30 percent of those surveyed are single mothers.

“This segment of the market is particularly vulnerable, because if something happens to them, they don’t have a partner to continue the education of the children, for example,” she says.

Moreover, 60 percent of women, married or otherwise, said that they managed their own money, or were in charge of the household budget.

Most of these are spent on daily needs such as food, household utility bills, personal care products and other items related to children’s schooling.

Aside from finances, the study also delved into respondents’ health and wellness. When asked to define what health was, many respondents said that it was merely the absence of sickness—that when one felt strong and was not physically sick, one was automatically healthy. Because of this, 80 percent said they were healthy only because they had access to a healthy lifestyle. However, only 23 percent avail themselves of health and wellness services, and only 12 percent go to the doctor for regular consultations.

Given these results, InLife crafted the Sheroes program, which specifically aims to empower a million Filipino women by focusing on these four areas: financial education, health and wellness, connection to business and social networks, and women-specific solutions.

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Under financial education, InLife codeveloped a course with the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment. The financial education module will be delivered to around 20,000 teachers through PLDT and Smart’s Gabay Guro foundation, as the telco companies are also InLife’s partners.

InLife also launched Wealth University (https://www.youtube.com/inlifewealthuniversity), a series of YouTube videos featuring the company’s “wealth mentors,” who provide advice on some of the most common financial concerns.

For the health and wellness aspect of the program, InLife tapped the services of Dr. Cheryll Sibayan, an obstetrician gynecologist and specialist on women’s health. Through video clips posted on YouTube, Sibayan discussed women’s different health risks depending on their life stage.

The talks also include topics such as weight management, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome, the video of which has the highest number of views, says Azura), urinary tract infection and pregnancy.

To help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, InLife partnered with the Union Bank of the Philippines to give them access to SME (small- and medium-sized enterprise) loans. The company’s new prepaid group health insurance product called EntrePinay is also specifically tailored for this group of clients, to encourage them to provide health and life insurance benefits to their employees.

Finally, the firm also crafted SheCares, a “woman-specific” policy that combines health insurance, life insurance and investment into one product. It is customizable, which allows the client to choose which health concern she wants to be covered, such as women-specific cancer, heart attack or stroke. Clients can also cash in on the accumulated fund value in the future.

Through the Sheroes program and its initiatives, InLife aims to reach one million Filipino women, and add them to their client base, in the next three years.

“There’s a duality of purpose—business and social impact. The intent, really, is to provide good to our policyholders, to communities and to our country,” Aguas says.

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TAGS: Filipino women, Insular life, Nina Aguas
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