AIA Philam Life sees growth in insurance for COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) - AIA Philam Life says that the coronavirus outbreak has nurtured a market for insurance protection, including coverage for unwanted effects of the COVID-19 disease.

The insurance giant, whose parent company AIA Group Limited is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has been shifting its portfolio to more products that insure its policyholders against medical bill shocks, critical illnesses, untimely death and accidents.

“Our medical products would cover COVID. Of course, there’s a benefit schedule depending on the policy,” Leonardo Tan Jr, AIA Philam Life Chief Marketing Officer, told journalists in a briefing conducted online on Thursday.

“The death coverage, in case the reason for the untimely death is COVID-related, we accommodate that. That will be paid as well,” Tan added.

The company has paid insurance claims for at least ten COVID-19 related cases in the Philippines, the officials said, adding that they have been receiving a steady stream of inquiries about the insurance protection.

In the Philippines, COVID-19 claimed almost 850 lives as of May 21. The Department of Health has put the number of confirmed cases at more than 13,400, some 3,000 of whom have recovered.

AIA Philam Life's portfolio before has been largely a mix of savings and investments, but the global pandemic has brought into the spotlight the need for more people to get insurance protection to defray unexpected medical costs and give financial security to families in case of untimely deaths.

The company says it has set a target of 110,000 Filipinos covered this year, each entitled to at least P1 million in insurance claims.

“We used to be much like the industry, heavily focused on savings products. But we’re gaining traction on protection. What I would say is we want to meet all the needs of our customer base -- both their savings and their protection needs,” said Gary Ogilvie, AIA Philam Life Chief Financial Officer.

Kelvin Ang, AIA Philam Life Chief Executive Officer, adds: “It’s time to have a conversation about the very basic of what insurance company should be doing which is around protection. And that’s why we’re having this conversation around going back to the basics.”

The insurer has granted a 60-day grace period from the March 15 lockdown for policyholders to settle premiums due so it is unlikely to see “significant [policy] surrender or cancellation levels.”

Ogilvie reminded policyholders to continue with their premium payments to ensure their protection cover. If it’s an investment product, continuing payment of premium will give them an advantage of the dollar averaging on the market, he added.

With the expected surge in demand for insurance coverage, AIA Philam Life is hiring 10,000 financial advisers in the next 12 months to boost its sales staff with focus on the digital platform.