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The new normal in the Philippine insurance industry

 

BY ATTY. IGNACIO R. BUNYE

 

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bny bunye speaking out

THE COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. There is nothing normal in our lives these days, except for the thing we call “new normal.” Even in the middle of the game, businesses cancelled or shi ed plans as they tread water amid unprecedented conditions. The insurance industry, although generally well-prepared for worst case scenarios, are not exempted from this.

Other than the financial impact, insurers are facing unique considerations to shape up and remain resilient in the face of this unfolding crisis. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19’s sudden emergence, it may not yet be considered a critical illness and could not be covered by other insurance plans.

But to fulfill its critical mission of financially guarding people against unpredictable life occurrences, a lot of insurance companies reassessed their offerings and coverages. For them, continuity of their policy holders insurance coverage is important now, more than ever.

But the most obvious adjustment is how insurers run their operations. Insurance companies have had to shift almost their entire workforces to operating remotely, while dealing with significantly increased activity in their claims functions. And given the quarantine restrictions, they needed to fully embrace various digital tools to provide their clients with online payment options and customer service for their safety.

For instance, BPI-Philam Life Assurance Corp. (BPLAC) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) are adapting to the new normal by providing added support that are in line with Insurance Commission’s guidelines to pursue digital selling until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found. This allows BPI accountholders to purchase insurance plans from the safety of their homes. The company also provides support to clients by deploying Bancassurance Sales Executives in open branches in case a client needs assistance.

BPLAC and BPI also launched the BPI Bayanihan Insurance Coverage which aims to provide free ₱200,000 COVID-19 Life Insurance coverage for 90 days to one million of the Bank’s Personal OF (Overseas Filipinos) and Preferred clients, including the policy holders of BPLAC insured through their individual and group policies. This is the highest coverage amount and longest coverage period in the market.

 

OPPORTUNITIES AMID CRISIS

In its race against risk and to encourage customers and employees to comply with social distancing protocols, BPI-Philam, with the help of its parent company AIA PhilamLife, has begun utilizing its iPoS (Interactive Point-of-Sale) end-to-end selling platform in a purely digital fashion.

BPI-Philam’s Bancassurance Sales Executives (BSEs) used to work with this iPad-based technology on site in helping customers assess their personal needs and risk profile to ultimately guide them in finding the most suitable insurance product considering these factors.

In addition to iPoS, aftersales services are also assured through iCare, a customer service platform that allows BSEs to interact with their clients for any queries and concerns. All these digital platforms were designed to empower both consumers and BSEs to achieve hassle-free transactions during the quarantine.

Now as the crisis evolves and measures are put in place in response to the needs of the market, the insurance industry has proven its resiliency amid the pandemic. And while the current crisis is unprecedented in many ways, the benefits of getting an insurance bring out opportunities for insurers and policyholders as it remains a wise investment when it comes to protecting our families, especially during uncertain times – such as that we are facing these days.

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