Prudential notes increase in 2011 microinsurance claims

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2012 20:26 JUN VALLECERA / REPORTER. BUSINESS MIRROR

 THE Philippine Prudential Insurance Co. Inc. has reported paying more than P22 million worth of claims in 2011, a substantial increase compared to 2010 when payouts totaled only P2.49 million.

Company officials said this indicated a renewed and more vigorous pursuit of a program championed by then Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael Carlos Buenaventura, who made it his personal advocacy project very early in his term.

Like Buenaventura, Philippine Prudential engaged in the business of providing protection to ordinary Filipinos at the retail end of the business long before the program gained prominence as a viable source of sustainable revenues for the various insurers.

“We have been pioneering the field of microinsurance in the Philippines as a way to make insurance coverage and protection more accessible to everyone,” Philippine Prudential President and CEO Gregorio D. Mercado said.

“We’ve had success in going beyond the standard insurance plans and creating products that cater specifically to the needs of customers who may not be able to afford the standard insurance plans,” he added.

Microinsurance refers to insurance products characterized by low premiums or low coverage limits.  It is specifically designed for individuals belonging to the lower income bracket as these would not ordinarily be able to avail of more conventional insurance programs.  In the Philippines, microinsurance products involve premium payments of as low as P1 to P19 per day with benefits as high as P190,000 per policy.

The microinsurance claims of Philippine Prudential in 2011 make up 16.84 percent of the total amount of claims paid for by the company in 2011, which amounted to P135.80 million.

Philippine Prudential also recorded a total of P26.730 million in microinsurance premiums in 2011, an increase of 186.16 percent against the P9.34 million in 2010.

As one of the country’s major microinsurance providers, Philippine Prudential also caters to the group life insurance needs of such microfinancing institutions as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), cooperatives and rural banks that provide small loans to developing communities.

It is currently one of the microinsurance partners under the Rural Bankers’ Association of the Philippines—Microenterprise Access to Banking Services program.

More recently, the company was appointed as the official microinsurance provider for the awardees of the 2011 Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) awards held by the Microfinance Council of the Philippines.

In January Philippine Prudential received a special citation from the Insurance Commission of the Philippines for its numerous contributions and initiatives for the industry.

The company was previously lauded by the Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives—Philippines in 2010 for its microinsurance partnerships with UPLIFT, an NGO working with the urban poor in Manila, and the Gata Daku farmers’ cooperative in Mindanao.

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