Filipinos need insurance to prepare for retirement, a critical illness, or their children’s education and as a form of investment but it is first necessary to correct their misconceptions about the industry, an official of top insurance company AXA Philippines said.
Geoffrey Tan, AXA Philippines chief agency officer, said people think they have to die first to receive insurance benefits and consider it an unnecessary expense.
“Hindi na ganoon ang insurance ngayon. We have investment and health products, where you already get the proceeds if you contract a critical illness. We have life insurance that at the same time can be invested in the stock market and life securities,” he said.
The company sees a low penetration of life insurance in the country today but hopes to change this by educating Filipinos on the importance of preparing for future events through the many products it has on offer. AXA Philippines is a partnership between AXA, a global leader in insurance and asset management that currently serves 103 million customers in 64 countries, and top Philippine financial institution Metrobank.
AXA Philippines expansion
Tan said that although the Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, a lot of Filipinos are not feeling the effects of progress simply because they do not participate in the financial sector.
This is why AXA Philippines, which currently provides life insurance to around 800,000 clients, is working to increase its customer base by 200,000 or up to a million in 2020, according to chief distribution officer Marie Raymundo.
As part of its expansion efforts, AXA entered the non-life insurance business by acquiring Charter Ping An so it now has a diverse portfolio of financial security solutions for Filipinos.
With the fast growth of the Philippine economy and rapidly expanding middle class, Raymundo said they are confident of achieving their target. Tan, Raymundo, and other AXA officials spoke at a press conference held during the opening of a full-service office in Tagbilaran City, Bohol last Monday, July 25.
Raymundo said the opening of the Tagbilaran branch is in recognition of the potential of the Visayas provinces. In the pipeline after Bohol are the following areas: the cities of Mandaue in Cebu, Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, Ormoc in Leyte as well as Pagadian, Ozamis, and Cotabato in Mindanao.
The core business of AXA, said zone head for Mindanao JF Salazar, is to provide sound personal and financial advice to its clients so they could better plan their financial future.
It has embarked on several initiatives that include continuing financial education for Filipinos in the form of seminars, lectures and clinics on fail-proofing their future as well as the art and science of investing, making it easy for customers to do business with AXA, and offering one-on-one financial consultation.
BJ Joseph Legaspi, AXA Philippines sales director for agency in the Visayas and Mindanao, said the goal is to get 1,000 new customers every month or 12,000 per year. He added that AXA has operated in Cebu for 17 years and witnessed the industry register annual growth of 30 percent in the past few years.
Aside from its offline channels that include Metrobank and PSBank branches and AXA offices nationwide, the company also provides a full range of digital support to its customers.
“One of our core strategies is to go digital. We aim to provide our customers easy and efficient access to AXA products,” Legaspi said, citing that millennials can easily adapt to this trend. Tan said people with ages ranging from 30-35 make up the company;s biggest customer base.
Legaspi also said they want to correct the Filipino culture of leaving out financial schooling for kids in homes and schools.
The AXA website may be accessed at ion.axa.com.ph where some of the company’s basic products and services can be purchased and paid for online. For products that need personal interaction with a financial advisor, customers can schedule appointments through axa.com.ph/appointments.
Tan said they are also about to launch a mobile app that allows customers to monitor or make changes to their policies and access other company services.