PHL tops micro insurance coverage in Asian developing countries

By Juzel L.Danganan

MANILA, Jan. 30 (PNA) — The Philippines has topped the record for micro insurance coverage among other developing countries in Asia, the Department of Finance said Thursday.

Micro insurance refers to affordable insurance targeting the poorest of the poor, by giving them business insurance on their services and products, health care insurance, life insurance, man-made disasters, property loss and employment loss.

Insurance Commissioner Atty. Emmanuel Dooc said, “In 2013, insurance premiums have increased by more than 150 percent, from Php 78 billion to Php 200 billion more or less for the last two years. In the same price rate, the number of insured Filipinos increased by more than 72 percent. This means that more than 23 million of our countrymen are now insured.”

Director of the Southeast Asia Department (SERD) Shigeko Hattori said the micro insurance industry could have grown more but it has been greatly challenged by super typhoon Yolanda as the insurance claims amounted to an astounding 500 million pesos.

Department of Finance Director and Father of Micro Insurance Joselito Almario also highlighted the challenges and improvements which should be prioritized by the industry which include working together with industries where early warning systems would be placed, to make adjustments with brokers based on circumstances, to set up a crop insurance policy that is only currently being addressed by the government and to create a paramedic or index based insurance.

Micro insurance started in the country mainly with Cebuana Lhuiller Insurance Solutions(CLIS), offering sachet insurance as early as 1998, even before the term micro insurance was invented in 2007, with its product gradually expanding to accident plans.

However, it was only in 2010 when the industry gained traction, through a series of micro insurance reforms adopted by the country, which prompted effectiveness in the policies and had eventually led to the seizing of the top spot.

Dooc said that the country is also aspiring to gain the record for micro insurance coverage not only among emerging economies but also the whole world. (PNA)