SEVERAL insurance agents observed a positive change in the public’s perception of insurance and found technology adoption helpful in taking advantage of the opportunity.
Llerena Integrated Financial Experts associate unit manager Merill Jem Llerena said despite exercising social distancing, their financial advisors were still able to close about seven to eight insurance applications in March.
“That's a high number compared to normal days,” she said.
"Lately, I have been receiving more inquiries if we offer any health plans. I even have a recent client who called me up to tell me 'Hi Jay, I think now is the time to get insurance,'" she added.
Davao Financial Coaches (DFC) wealth and life coach Myra Bermejo also shared the same experience.
“I have friends who are sending me messages and inquiring about life and health insurance and what they can do as early as now to protect their greatest assets which is themselves,” she said.
She said their team was able to close a total of 20 insurance applications for the first week of April alone.
“Right now, most Filipinos who are in the working class are becoming more aware of the importance of protection especially in health,” she said.
Meanwhile, Llerena said the gradual change of the people from being the “usual insurance-allergic” motivated them to push through on their advocacy in insuring more Filipinos.
She noted that less than two percent of the population has private insurance plans or those outside Social Security System (SSS) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), employer-provided insurances called Group Life Insurance due to the fear or the stigma towards it.
“With Covid-19, our job became more meaningful. Now, people have realizations and so they now willingly approach advisors who they usually shun or evade,” she said, adding that it urged their company to amp up their health insurance products and coverage.
“We have shifted our focus to health plans resulting in new products that comprehensively cover critical illness, accidents, and hospitalization,” Llerena said.
She said while it does not mean an easier closure of insurance applications but people have become willing to listen to financial advisors.
“That, for us, is a huge improvement,” she said.
The advantage of technology adoption
Both financial advisors have also recognized the benefits of using technology in reaching out to more clients and raising their sales.
Llerena said their company has recently digitized their application processes as they were discouraged to conduct face-to-face meetings with their clients.
“We have already been completing applications digitally through our iPads. With the launch of our Digital Selling, we were able to regain our momentum. we are able to function digitally -- everything from unit meetings to assemblies for the whole Mindanao and even the country, to recruitment, and to selling,” she said.
“I was able to close three new applications right after our full digitalization was rolled out. I think owing to that is the influx of inquiries on my online platform,” she added.
For Bermejo, their company has already been paperless and online in their processes from the beginning, allowing them to track real-time updates on clients’ applications.
She said her team has been utilizing social media to promote their products that can also be availed or bought online as well as to give financial education to their clients.
“We are creating content and building an online presence for us to continue to still add value to people. We also ask for support or recommendations from our existing clients to help us reach more people,” she said.
Bermejo revealed that her team’s sales in the first quarter of 2019 tripled in the first quarter of 2020 amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The business is in the space of expansion simply because our company is already leveraging the digital platform since inception,” she said.