ONE AIA Philippines, composed of AIA Philippines and its bancassurance arm BPI AIA, is optimistic in the months ahead as Filipinos learned to put importance on health and protection during this time of the pandemic.

Top officials said they are optimistic for the year on the back of the reopening of the economy, and the positive trajectory ahead as consumers and businesses gradually return to their pre-pandemic disposition.

But the new habits acquired during the pandemic will continue going forward even after this global illness wanes, according to Kelvin Ang, chief executive officer of One AIA Philippines, in a virtual press briefing.

Ang was referring to the spending habits and heightened priorities of Filipinos, especially when it comes to health and protection.

“One thing that came out in the past two years of the pandemic was the increased advantage for protection and health. People today are thinking: ‘Do I have enough protection? Do I have enough health coverage?’ And also about the demand for savings. I think for these reasons, there’s going to be a jump in terms of expected business activities... including in the insurance industry,” said Ang.

Ang said they were able to hit 18 percent of their target for lives saved as of the first quarter of 2022. Last year, they reached over 70 percent of their goal.

Ang said part of maneuvering through the 2022 business and health landscape are plans to further integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria into the company’s operations.

He shared concrete steps that have been taken toward achieving this—including the 100 percent divestment of coal-related investments of AIA Philippines, the continued conversion of buy, service and claims processes to digital, and its adherence to green building standards. The AIA Group has also committed to various initiatives to reduce environmental footprint on a regional scale.

“The past two years have underscored the importance of protection and health and wellness. As One AIA Philippines, together with BPI AIA, we remain committed to our mission of saving lives through our protection products, and to being the partner of Filipinos in helping them be the healthiest they can be through our health and wellness propositions,’’ said Ang.

Optimistic

Moreover, Ang said the gradual return to normal in the first quarter of the year makes them very optimistic and excited for what’s ahead.

BPI AIA chief executive officer Surendra Menon said the reopening of industries such as tourism, food and travel, is expected to bring multiplier effects across the economy. Such development also mirrors a positive attitude toward what the future looks like.

“I am very positive that this will boost the number of people who will have disposal income without forgetting the need for protection. The experience of the need for protection is quite burned into people’s minds because of Covid, however, it was cash flow that prevented many of them from acquiring it. Now with the positive outlook and cash flow in their pockets, we fully expect that this will boost our economy significantly and therefore, the purchasing power on the ground, especially in the middle-income level,” Menon said.

Menon has discussed their move to align with the bigger umbrella that is the AIA Group, including streamlining their systems and developing processes to elevate the services provided to clients.

“As BPI AIA, we bear not only the name of two industry giants but also carry their combined values, expertise and commitment,” he said.

Expansion

AIA Philippines chief marketing officer Leo Tan shared the continued expansion of their suite of products, which will also be a focus for AIA Philippines.

“Our commitment to protection remains, and together with our current offerings, we will introduce more products that will address the evolving needs of our customers,” Tan emphasized. “We will leverage on the investment fund management expertise of AIA Investment Management and bring it locally, so we can give our customers—both AIA Philippines and BPI AIA—access to more products that will cater to their long-term saving needs.”

In 2021, the total premiums collected by the insurance industry reached P374.7 billion, up by almost 22 percent from the P308.3 billion worth of premiums it collected in the previous year, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

By the end of 2021, the industry’s total assets reached an all-time high of P2.1 trillion, which was 8.4 percent higher than the P1.9 trillion recorded in 2020. The total net income and net worth of the industry also increased by 18.6 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively.