Insurer Manulife Philippines is embarking on an ambitious goal to beef up its client base tenfold to 300,000 agents purchasing P1 trillion worth of premiums by 2020.
“That’s where we’ll start to see more and more Filipinos protected,” said Indren Naidoo, Manulife president and CEO, in a press conference Friday at the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Naidoo said the current 30,000 agents in the Philippines is “not enough.”
This amounts to a 3.5 percent insurance penetration rate, according to the Manulife president.
The premiums of these 30,000 agents is 0.7 percent of the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP).
Insurance premiums should reach 3 to 4 percent of GDP, claimed Naidoo.
“If we have 300,000 agents we can actually scale up… from a hundred billion in premiums to one trillion,” he noted.
The 300,000 insurance agents should come from the ranks of 7 million unemployed Filipinos who are willing to become entrepreneurs using insurance, according to the Manulife CEO.
“The beauty [of insurance] is that you become your own entrepreneurs,” Naidoo said.
He cited a lack of awareness among Filipinos for the country’s poor coverage-to-GDP ratio.
“People don’t buy insurance because they don’t know,” according to the Manulife executive, saying Filipinos shy away from insurance because they view “insurance as an expense instead of investment.”
“We have to change that mindset,” said Naidoo.
On Friday, Manulife Philippines is celebrating its 125th year in business, its officials joining those of the Philippine Stock Exchange in ringing the market’s opening bell. —VS, GMA News
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