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Insurance CEO wants to hire more millennials

Ariel Cantos, the chief executive of Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company, wants to hire more millennials to inform the younger generation about the importance of life insurance.

“Our industry needs a lot of people in that age bracket [millennials, 16 to 36], because people tend to listen to those in their age group,” says Cantos.

Cantos, who holds 20 insurance policies for himself and his family, hopes to reach out to the younger generation to sustain the growth of the country’s largest life insurance company.

Of the company’s 8,000 agents or financial advisors, less than 1,000 represent the millennials, he says.  “It’s a minority, but it is a growing minority,” he says.

Philam Life’s products and services are now geared toward serving the needs of the millennials.  “We’re hoping that under health and wellness, we will be able to attract the younger generation,” says Cantos, who is also the president of the Philippine Life Insurance Association Inc.

Philam Life has refurbished its centers of excellence to appeal to the millennials.  A state-of-the-art facility in Makati City called Genesis by Philam Life serves as a training center for the company’s financial advisors.

“It’s not a traditional training center. It is like the headquarters of Google meant to attract the younger generation,” says Cantos.

Philam Life has three main sections designed to “empower new financial advisors to become highly productive, collaborative, dynamic, tech-savvy” and to have a good understanding of their clients’ needs, he says.  

INSURERS. From left: AIA Group Limited regional chief executive Jacky Chan, AIA president and chief executive Ng Keng Hooi and Philam Life chief executive Ariel Cantos
Cantos says aside from the training center, Philam Life has also redesigned its offices to reflect a more vibrant vibe.  “Knowing millennials, they go into digital and the like.  Last year, we actually transformed close to 100 of our offices nationwide to look and feel very vibrant and very colorful.  There’s WiFi facility and digital tools in most of these offices,” he says.

Cantos says Philam Life is using digital technology for its presentation and transactions.  “We provide a lot of options to our policy orders. If they want to transact with us from the comfort of their homes, then they can do that through digital.  If they want a face-to-face transaction, they can also do that in our offices.  As far as the customers are concerned, we’re also strengthening our distribution,” he says.

“We are the only company in the industry that provides our advisers with digital tools so that when they make a presentation to clients, they use their iPads which makes it so engaging for the clients in terms of presentation,” says Cantos.

“It is helping our advisers to have more meaningful plans.  Our employees are very important to us. I’m very personal with my employees. At least once every week, I meet with a group of employees randomly chosen just to have a dialog with me,” says Cantos.

He says Philam Life is strengthening its customer service to maintain its lead in the industry.  “We focus on the customer, providing products that make it easy for them to be with us,” he says.

“With our employees, we create an inspiring workplace for them so that they will be eager to wake up in the morning and go to the office. I always remind them at the end of the day, the measure of our success is whether we make the customer happy about our service,” he says.

Philam Life marks its 70th year, with a dramatic shift in overall strategy.  It launched “Live Better” campaign to make healthy living more accessible to Filipinos.

According to the 2016 Healthy Living Index, health is the primary concern of Filipinos.  However, this does not translate into action, creating a gap between their concern and what they do. Philam Life believes this gap is an opportunity and is placing focus on capturing the wellness sphere.

“As we look forward to the next 70 years, we will leverage on our financial strength, constantly creating and innovating new relevant propositions to meet our customers’ needs,” says Ariel Cantos.

Philam Life had P245.9 billion in total assets as of Dec. 31, 2016.  It has served more than 700,000 individual policyholders and over 2.5 million insured group members.  Its subsidiaries include BPI Philam Life Assurance Company and Philam Asset Management Inc.

It is a member of AIA Group Limited, the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group.  AIA is present in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific.  It is listed in Hong Kong.

“Life insurance is very important to a family. In my particular case, I have over 20  policies, not because I have 20 children, but because life insurance is something that you purchase as you proceed to your life stages,” says Cantos. With Kristin Cortez and Aletha dela Cruz

Topics: Ariel Cantos , Philippine American Life , General Insurance Company , Millennials
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