Gov’t exhorts insurance industry to go digital

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The Insurance Commission (IC) is urging the local insurance industry, which is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, to go digital to adapt to the “new normal”.

Ferdinand George Florendo, deputy commissioner at the IC, said the life insurance industry is ready to absorb potential claims brought forth by Covid-19 – particularly now that the testing capacity of the healthcare network has expanded. 

He said life insurance companies authorized to do business in the Philippines are adequately capitalized, considering all have complied with the P900-million net worth requirement set forth by the IC.

Florendo noted that insurance companies have also began to evolve with the times by upgrading to e-commerce or enhancing their existing e-commerce policies and procedures, given the impediments brought forth by face-to-face selling.

“Embracing digital technology is inevitable as we are now living in the Age of Data and Information. While this may require a huge amount of capital investment, it will be more economical in the long run when compared to maintaining traditional business methods,” he said.

“This will be a game changer as it will affect in a good way the insurance value chain. It will affect, among others, the selling of insurance products, issuance of policy, and payment of premium down to the claims settlement.”

In addition, Florendo said embracing digital technology will help companies broaden their market share as they can now reach more customers using digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media applications.

Like other industries, insurance companies could offer new products which were not previously possible in traditional operations through dynamic pricing of products and integrating insurance with products offered online, he said.

Florendo said that since technology is a game-changer for data-dependent industries such as insurance, companies like Singlife Philippines will enjoy an advantage in both cost and market reach.

Florendo said that with the digitization of the insurance industry, IC is not only expanding its human resource but is also shifting its supervision to ensure that the welfare and experience of both customers and clients of digital insurance are seamless.

Even prior to the ECQ, he said the IC has been working with the University of the Philippines to develop a database system that aims to convert the submission process of the IC-regulated entities from a paper-based submission into a digital online submission. This will be put into a singular IT system capable of analysis and reports generation.

Since two years ago, the IC likewise has started issuing circulars in relation to online selling and the use of digital platforms.

Florendo assured buyers of insurance via the digital platform that mechanisms are in place to ensure transparency, fairness, and data privacy and security.

The official cited Singlife Philippines as one of the prime movers in the full use of digital channels since the start of the pandemic, noting that its data analytics allows for faster decision-making, dynamic insurance pricing, and suitability of products.

Singlife Philippines is backed by Singapore Life Private Ltd., a company with strong digital capabilities. Singlife Philippines is a majority-owned subsidiary of Singlife (65%) with partners Di-Firm (20%) and Aboitiz Equity Ventures (15%).

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