Insurance firm eyes North Luzon as growth area


BAGUIO CITY  – An American insurance company that existed in the country for over fifteen months is looking at the Northern Luzon region as a potential growth area and is set to open its expansion office in the city by the second quarter of this year.

FWD Life Philippines, the first life insurer to have been granted a license to operate in the country under the New Insurance Code, said the increasing competitiveness of Baguio and the Cordillera in general, is a welcome development for the company.

.Peter Grimes, FWD Life Philippines president and chief executive officer, said the Cordillera ranks third in terms of the highest per capita income in gross regional domestic product (GRDP) behind the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region IV-A.

“WE see the potential of the areas as a hub for continuing investments and economic growth. WE are very bullish on the growth prospects for our business in Northern Luzon. It is a strategically important geography for FWD Philippines and forms an essential part of our presence in the country,” Grimes stressed.

He explained the widening awareness for health and wealth protection and medium to long term savings has been evident among the locals of Baguio and the Cordilleras and by the increasing number of Filipinos supported by FWD products.

According to him, the commitment to integrate technology as a pillar of progress is one of the things that FWD proudly shares in common with the city.

“Innovative technology has been one of Baguio City’s main development pillars, such as the current use of electric vehicles to curb traffic and clean the city’s air,” Grimes added.

In 2015, the Northern Luzon region has contributed more than 10 percent of the company’s new business annualized premium income from the bancassurance sales channel.

Grimes explained that Baguio accounted for almost 20 percent of agency sales ’new business and FWD now has approximately 200 wealth planners in North Luzon, with some 130 based in the city as well as FWD financial solutions consultants located in Security Bank branches locally and across the country.

While a lot of attention has been focused on addressing the needs of the great unbaked sector, Grimes admitted the truth is, the number of under insured or uninsured Filipinos increased over the years with the protection growing ever wider.

He explained insurance penetration in the country stands at around 1.8 percent while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets average a little less than double that.

Within this group of uninsured Filipinos are individuals with a millennial mindset who use technology extensively to make better financial decisions and manage their financial resources.

Grimes claimed today’s Filipino consulers are highly experiential and place increasing importance on products, services and convenience that let them enjoy their individuality and pursue their passions worry free.

By Dexter A. See