PH life insurance industry assures responsiveness amid Covid-19 outbreak

PLIA President Benedict Sison (also Country Head and CEO of Sun Life PH). Photo from Sun Life PH website

The Philippine Life Insurance Association, Inc. (PLIA) is assuring all Filipino policyholders that the country’s life insurance industry is prepared “to respond to any eventualities that this outbreak may bring in terms of potential claims.” This assurance comes as the entire Philippines is placed under a state of calamity as the government addresses the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In a statement released on March 23, 2020, PLIA President Benedict Sison said the industry is collaborating with the Insurance Commission for the adoption of special claims management process for claims that may be related to Covid-19. It includes relaxed requirements and expeditious settlement.

Sison also noted the collective efforts across the industry in making sure operations are not totally disrupted while still ensuring the safety of insurance firms’ staff. “Our members are, in their individual capacities, adopting various actions such as extending grace period on the payment of premiums, retaining skeletal home or online-based call center operations so that they remain accessible to policyholders, and working on policyholder requirements with a special effort to deliver regular service levels despite current operational restrictions,” he said.

Here is the entire statement of PLIA sent to Tech and Lifestyle Journal on March 23:

 

PLIA STATEMENT ON THE COVID 19 OUTBREAK

The Philippine Life Insurance Association, Inc. (PLIA) unites with the Filipino people and the government in the fight against the spread of the COVID 19 virus. 

Our member companies, in compliance with the call for restricted movement and strict social distancing under the Enhanced Community Quarantine declared for the whole of Luzon region, have activated their Work-From-Home protocols and for some, even their Business Continuity Plan arrangements.  The objective is to enable continued services to our policyholders, though on a reduced capacity under the prevailing constraints, while at the same time observing necessary health safeguards for the safety of all concerned.

As responsible corporate citizens, our members are, in their individual capacities, adopting various actions such as extending grace period on the payment of premiums, retaining skeletal home or online-based call center operations so that they remain accessible to policyholders, and working on policyholder requirements with special effort to deliver regular service levels despite current operational restrictions.  Moreover, PLIA in partnership with the Insurance Commission is adopting a special claims management process for COVID 19 related claims that will ensure relaxed requirements and expeditious settlement.  This is the least our industry can do to provide assistance to our policyholders in their time of need.

The life insurance industry is ready to respond to any eventualities that this outbreak may bring in terms of potential claims.  Although there was a time that the mortality experience in the Philippines stood alarmingly high at 8.5% (12/140) against the global rate of 3.9% (6,610/168,019) as of March 16, this has gone down to 6.5% (25/380) as of March 23 (12:00 AM) as the testing capacity of our healthcare network starts to expand with the increased availability of testing kits.

Together with the Insurance Commission, PLIA will continue to monitor the situation and will respond accordingly to any unusual developments, always with the interest of the insuring public in mind.  We remain confident that with the prudent regulations prescribed by the Insurance Commission to assure financial health of insurance companies we would continue to serve the industry and its policyholders well.

Let us all be conscious of the need to protect ourselves from the virus.  In so doing, we also help protect others and control its spread.

 

BENEDICT C. SISON

President

23 March 2020                 

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