Overcoming major barriers to insurance penetration in PH | Inquirer Business

Overcoming major barriers to insurance penetration in PH

/ 11:12 AM November 18, 2023

AIA Philippines’ CEO, Kelvin Ang

AIA Philippines CEO, Kelvin Ang

MANILA  -Insurance penetration in the Philippines remains low and is even continuing to decline.

In the first quarter of 2023, insurance penetration rate in the country fell to 1.75 percent of the country’s gross domestic product from nearly 2 percent in the same period of 2022. This is below those of its Asean neighbors, such as Thailand’s 5 percent and Indonesia’s 2.72 percent as of 2022.


The lack of proper financial education and the lack of access to insurance services are among the main hurdles that keep Filipinos from being fully protected and secure.


These hurdles are among the most urgent concerns that AIA Philippines (formerly Philam Life) CEO Kelvin Ang hopes to see addressed.

In the past, the company, through Philam Foundation, ran an advocacy program called Philam Saves. It aimed to educate children, their parents, and their teachers on financial literacy. Currently, AIA Philippines is working on a new financial literacy program with BPI Foundation.

As the main figure of one of the country’s leading insurers, Ang actively take steps to create change and move the nation forward in terms of holistic protection. “We have an obligation and responsibility to step up, to fulfill these needs.” he states.

AIA Philippines continues to widen its scope to become a total partner for protection, long-term savings, and healthcare with its subsidiaries-  AIA Philippines, BPI AIA, leading HMO Medicard, and investment management arm AIA Investment Management and Trust Corporation Philippines. This put AIA in a position to meet the complete protection needs of Filipinos.

While the public sector is putting in part of the work, Ang believes private institutions must also keep up and move with the same amount of effort.

Common goal

“All the subsidiaries have a big part to play in the whole ecosystem, to build capabilities that will complement and support each other,” Ang states.


That becomes AIA Philippines’ core competency, one that Filipinos need especially at a time of recovery from the last few years. Ang stresses the importance of having a potential client see a singular group of companies that can seamlessly offer multiple types of health and wealth solutions, be it healthcare, savings & investments, or protection. For a population that highly values convenience and has openly embraced digitalization, having a one-stop-shop solution that promises a more secure and safer future is invaluable.

He says the full customer health journey is the focal point of their collaboration. The experience runs from prediction, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, or what they call PPDTR. Working alongside partner subsidiaries allows for a more holistic approach to delivering on each segment of the PPDTR journey. He cites Medicard as an example, with case management and chronic disease management specialties that only improve upon what AIA Philippines already offers.

The digital customer portal My AIA and the homegrown wellness program AIA Vitality are additional proof points of the work between companies. With these as a foundation, Ang envisions giving Filipinos a seamless digital ecosystem where their full protection portfolio lives. It’s all about making consumers feel more empowered in the fact that they have several layers of protection.

Adapting to the landscape

Within the context of an ever-changing insurance and financial backdrop, there is also the need for companies to innovate.

Doing this requires three pillars, explains Ang. One is innovation in distribution, not only in terms of expanding reach so that products get to more people, but also by way of putting forward financial planning and literacy efforts that particularly benefit the underbanked and unbanked.

Another is within product proposition. “Come up with better products that are more personalized to the customer needs, knowing that not every customer is the same,” he explains. Lastly, there is innovation in service. Ang understands that insurance is sometimes too technical and cumbersome, so upgrading the ease and seamlessness of the customer experience is integral.

And amidst any product and technological innovations, Ang makes it a point not to leave employees behind. Training and certifications must remain a large part of company development, as are support tools that improve the experience for both the employee and the client.

Addressing the country’s health and insurance needs requires more work, but Ang is optimistic – especially because every development of theirs is customer-centric, addressing the gaps that are left to be filled by the industry.

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“The long-term goal is about living up to our purpose, and that’s helping more Filipinos live healthier, longer, better lives,” he says.

TAGS: ASEAN, insurance coverage, protection

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