Insurance industry leaders taking action

IT’S Election Day! Today, Filipinos will be choosing the next set of local and national leaders, who will help shape our future as a nation. We hope that we will elect the rightful leaders, who will steer us in the right direction and move us to action.

These two functions of a leader are very important and critical, especially when faced with a great challenge needing great solutions. When the pandemic happened, all sectors and industries, big and small, were affected. Suddenly, all eyes were on our leaders, who were also caught by surprise; not fully understanding what hit them. But since they have the power and authority, people pinned their hopes on them and expected solutions from them. While some managed to shake off the initial shock and lead their people to thrive, many failed to do so. The burden was too heavy for them to carry by themselves. A number went into a slump and eventually, gave up and closed the business, millions of Filipinos jobless.

One of the industries that proved its resiliency during the height of the pandemic was the life insurance industry. The life industry managed to post respectable growth, in a no-growth environment at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It also gave opportunities to income to thousands of Filipinos. While this feat can be attributed to many factors, we have to give it to the leadership of the industry. The communication, collaboration and coordination between the leaders of the Insurance Commission (the governing body of the industry) and the leaders of the different life insurance companies and associations made it possible for the industry’s quick response and continued service to the insuring public, amid the challenges and restrictions of the Covid crisis. They owned the problems and took deliberate actions to address them.

Under the dynamic leadership of Commissioner Dennis Funa, the Insurance Commission (IC) is one of the government agencies that was able to immediately migrate to digital platforms as a solution to the pressing problems of their members and the public. In response to the lockdowns and quarantines that prohibited face-to-face transactions, the IC approved and authorized remote selling through digital technology. This selling alternative, which is now a permanent option, enabled the insuring public to get their insurance protection from the comforts of their homes. It also introduced online licensing exams. Though much can still be improved, this facility enabled the agency to grow and provide income opportunities to its new members. Not only did the commission allow online submission of regulatory documents, it also adjusted some of its regulatory requirements in recognition of the pandemic’s impact to companies’ bottom line. Review and approval of new products, especially with Covid-related features, were done thoroughly but swiftly. Taking actions as a true growth partner of the life companies, distribution channels and the insuring public.

For their part, the leaders of the different insurance companies were quick to come together, going beyond company affiliations and setting aside competition, to work on their collective initiatives. They moved for the government to consider and include the industry on the list of the essential sectors, allowing mobility during the lockdowns. This enabled them to put together a skeletal force to process the service requirements of policyholders, specifically the hospitalization and death claims of the Covid-stricken. With IC’s approval of virtual selling, companies were quick to put in the needed resources in fast-tracking their digital transformation, which enabled their distribution channels to continue their mission of providing financial protection and security to the Filipinos. Not only can customers buy insurance products online, but they can do almost all their after-sales service requirements virtually, making it faster and more convenient. Further, understanding the public’s concerns and concerns, life companies have introduced products that provide for Covid-related benefits. In fact, most of them even offered compassionate coverage for all the Covid frontliners. On the other hand, to boost the engagement and productivity of their distribution channels, company leaders equipped them with the digital infrastructure and designed learning sessions, meeting venues, and incentive and recognition programs, all on digital platforms, taking action to enable and make things convenient for the policyholders and the sales force.

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