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Pru Life, GIZ seek to bridge PH insurance coverage gap

Pru Life Insurance Corp. of UK, the Philippine subsidiary of British insurer Prudential plc, and German government development agency Gessellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) intend to bridge the protection gap among Filipinos by distributing microinsurance via online community portals.

"We are honored to be given the opportunity to collaborate with GIZ and embark on the noble mission of reaching out to out the less privileged members of our country," Pru Life UK President and CEO Antonio de Rosas said during the microinsurance distribution project launch in Makati City.

The initiative supports the Insurance Commission Circular Letter 2015-54, or the Adoption of Enhanced Microinsurance Regulatory Framework.

Antonis Malagardis, program director of GIZ RFPI Asia said the project “Microinsurance Distribution through Online Communities (MicroComm)" will be pilot tested in Tacloban City in the Visayas and Butuan City in Mindanao.

MicroComm is developed by CommLinked.

"We started already in January this year and we will go for at least two years or to early 2019," Malagardis said.

The target is to register at least 30,000 individuals from Tacloban and Butuan in six to eight months.

MicroComm is designed to maximize online services, with an estimated 35 million Filipino users in mid-2014, De Rosas noted.

According to the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines, the users of online services are expected to grow to 70 million by 2018.

"According to the Swiss Re Mortality Protection Gap Asia Pacific 2015 report, the Philippines has $370 billion mortality protection gap which translates to P600-billion worth of premiums annually," De Rosas said.

"The $370 billion is the coverage that Filipinos should have but don't have yet, and the P600 billion worth of premiums annually could have helped the insurance industry grow five times," he added.

Pru Life Vice President Kenn Ramirez, the insurer will develop group specific products for online community portals, and target organized group such as teachers, farmers, fishermen and retirees.

GIZ will provide financial literacy materials to create protection and savings knowledge at the barangay level.

A GIZ study showed that 57 percent of 300 respondents in Tacloban and Butuan are interested in having health and after death coverage for family members.

"However, for most, knowledge on insurance is very low with the source of awareness coming mostly by word of mouth," the GIZ official said. — VDS, GMA News